Monday, March 23, 2009

Simplicity is more than saving money

Most people think simplicity is just about saving money. Too many people are looking for temporary ways to be frugal, planning to go back to their profligate spending when the economy improves. But my forthcoming book is called Less is More, a broader approach to simplicity. It's fun to do a "fill in the blank" game. Take this sentence: Less consumerism is more ______________. More what?
I did this recently with a group of Unitarians and we got a lot of interesting responses. There were the obvious ones like, Less consumerism is more savings. But there were other, more unique, responses:

Less consumerism is more generosity: There is something about focusing on more, more, more in the consumer society that seems to make people selfish. They never feel they have enough, so they're sure not going to share anything.

Less consumerism means more creativity: In the consumer society, when you run into a problem, you buy something to solve it. But when you resist that impulse, you become more creative in you problem solving.

Less consumerism is more balance: We're all ultimately looking for lives of balance. In particular, we're sick of our frantic, frenetic lives. People who consume less usually have less debt, often allowing them to cut back on their work hours and take the time for things like exercise, reading, and naps , activities that bring balance.

Maybe my favorite is: Less consumerism is more reflection: If there's anything we need in the culture is time to think, time to make conscious decisions, and shopping takes a lot of time! (Further, almost nothing works, so you have to take it back, having more of your time stolen from you). In fact, that's the way I define simplicity: It's the "examined life," taking time to think through your decisions and choosing what's best for the welfare of people and the planet.

Try it yourself. Thinking about this will lead you to conclude that less consumerism means more life.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cecile,
    I read your book Slow is Beautiful a couple of years ago and loved it. I'm looking forward to your new book, and I'm so happy to find your blog. Thanks for all you do!