“Treasury of Celebrations,” a collection of essays from the 1970s voluntary simplicity movement, contains much material relevant to life nearly 50 years later. One prompt I like comes from a group of Quakers. It seems they were struggling to set parameters for the simple life.
Here are the questions they asked:
- Does what I own or buy promote activity, self-reliance and involvement, or does it induce passivity and dependence?
- Are my consumption patterns basically satisfying, or do I buy much that serves no real need?
- How tied is my present job and lifestyle to installment payments, maintenance and repair costs, and the expectations of others?
- Do I consider the impact of my consumption patterns on other people and on Earth?
Alternatives, the organization that collected these essays, no long exists. But the concerns of the 1970s, including an early alert about the climate, that prompted the movement are still around. It will be interesting to see if an increased awareness of the impact of each life will be an outcome of the global pandemic. I know I feel it.