Excerpts from Duane Elgin's Voluntary Simplicity



"To live with simplicity is to unburden our lives -- to live more lightly, cleanly, aerodynamically..."

"...Here is a sampling of the definitions of voluntary simplicity that strike a resonant chord with me: a manner of living that is outwardly more simple and inwardly more rich; ... a deliberate choice to live with less in the belief that more of life will be returned to us in the process; ...a path toward consciously learning the skills that enable us to touch the world ever more lightly and gently; ... a paring back of the superficial aspects of our lives so as to allow more time and energy to develop the heartfelt aspects of our lives."

[The Broadness of It]
"...The nature, manner, and degree of simplification [is] something that each person should decide for himself or herself....
Voluntary simplicity, then, is not a path of 'go growth' but a path of 'new growth' (growth that includes a material and spiritual, or interior, dimension.) Furthermore, simplicity of living has immediate relevance for the aging industrial economies such as that of the US: In consuming fewer non-essentials, we release the investment capital necessary to rebuild our faltering economies in ways that are more appropriate to our radically changing circumstances."

[Is this 'simplicity' business just another name for poverty?]
"...The intention of this way of life is not to dogmatically live with less. It is a more demanding intention of living with balance.... Simplicity, then should not be equated poverty.
Poverty is involuntary whereas simplicity is consciously chosen... Poverty generates a sense of helplessness, passivity, and despair; simplicity fosters personal empowerment, creativity, and a sense of ever-present opportunity. Poverty is mean and degrading to the human spirit; simplicity has both beauty and a functional integrity that elevates our lives..."

"Voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer conditions. It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, of many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life. It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure greater abundance of life in other directions. It involves a deliberate organization of life for a purpose."