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Why the simple life is not just beautiful, it's necessary - Emrys Westacott | Aeon Ideas

Our Last Hope

A simple, frugal living in nature might be our last hope to reverse the effects of industrialization, population growth, polluted oceans, deforestation, plastic waste and extinction of plants and animals.

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Why the simple life is not just beautiful, it's necessary - Emrys Westacott | Aeon Ideas

Why the simple life is not just beautiful, it's necessary - Emrys Westacott | Aeon Ideas

https://aeon.co/ideas/why-the-simple-life-is-not-just-beautiful-it-s-necessary

aeon.co

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Key Ideas

Back to The Simple Life

Due to an increasingly complicated and hyper-connected world, a lot of people are revisiting and paying attention to the concept of a simple life.

From Buddha to Socrates and contemporaries like Oprah, many people throughout ages have advocated the slow, mindful, simple life.

Simple Was Boring

In many prosperous, capitalist societies where consumerism, big pharma and supermarket culture is rampant, leading a quiet, simple life is considered boring.

Big Brands continue to persuade everyone to aspire for more and most people fall for that. 

Benefits of Simple Living

  • Millennials are showing interest in simple living, in pre-consumerist and pre-industrial ways.
  • It seems like a moral way to live and it makes you into a better person.
  • The struggle of living simple and frugal builds up new skill-sets, a certain independence and better health of the mind and body, by being close to nature.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Nihilism

Nihilism means "nothing." It is the lack of belief in meaning or substance in an area of philosophy.

  • Moral nihilism argues that moral facts cannot exist.
  • Metaphysical nihilism ar...
Existentialism

Existentialism originates from Soren Kierkegaard and Nietzche. It focuses on the problems produced by existential nihilism. For instance:

  • What is the point of living if life has no inherent purpose? 
  • How do we face the knowledge of our inevitable demise?

Existentialism emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice.

Stoicism

Stoicism was popular in ancient Greece and Rome and is practiced by many in high-stress environments.

Stoicism focuses on how to live in a world where things don't go as planned. The idea is to accept all the things beyond your control and to focus on what you can control.

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Simplicity doesn't mean poverty
Simplicity doesn't mean poverty

Poverty is involuntary and debilitating, whereas simplicity is voluntary and enabling.

It is very misleading to equate simplicity with poverty, even if some spiritual traditions have ...

Simplicity doesn't mean rural living

Adopting a simple life doesn't require moving into rural areas. In fact, the majority of persons choosing a life of conscious simplicity live in cities and suburbs. 

It is much more accurate to describe this as a "make the most of wherever you are" movement, adapting ourselves creatively to a rapidly changing world in the context of big cities and suburbs.

Beauty in the simple life

The simple life is sometimes viewed as an approach to living that advocates a barren plainness and denies the value of beauty and aesthetics. But rather than a denial of beauty, simplicity liberates the aesthetic sense by freeing things from artificial burdens.

Luxury as a concept
Luxury as a concept

Luxury, as a concept, seems inherently rooted in materialism. It involves the owning of beautiful, often superfluous things.

In a world where natural resources are declinin...

The immaterial dimension of luxury

Today's luxury is about rediscovering an immaterial dimension - time, space, and experiences.

Time and travel, which seem very precious today, were pivotal in the evolution of luxury. Since Antiquity, contact with other nations fuelled a desire for rare and exotic items. When the West discovered Japanese ceramics for example, it realized that luxury and refinement could co-exist with simplicity and purity.

The art of luxurious living in history
  • In 18th-Century France, a taste for luxurious objects blended with the idea of the art of living. The rise in the power of individualism and new forms of artistry made French elites enjoy the creation of pleasing living environments.
  • In the 19th Century, the demand for luxury goods expanded, as the middle class desired to provide itself with comforts. The industrial revolution allowed for the production of every item they could want. Travel became a major form of luxury.
  • In the 20th Century, luxury became more aspirational due to the expansion of advertising and popular media. By the 1980s, luxury became about purchasing expensive things with only a surface value to gain a competitive advantage in the world.
  • Today, paying attention to the environmental and ethical cost of such consumption, the luxury industry is focusing on personal experiences over personal luxury, and a move away from excess and towards luxury essentialism.

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