Friday, September 19, 2008

Beyond Materialism

In my last two posts, I discussed some of the practical benefits of downsizing and living a simple life. But I want to point out that the majority of my posts won't be about the practical side of voluntary simplicity.

I want to use simplicity as a jumping-off point to explore the larger issues facing humanity and also to use it as a tool for exploring human potential. I don't think of voluntary simplicity as an end state
--something to be achieved. Rather, I think of it as a door opening up to a larger reality. I want to document my tentative steps into that new reality here, because I suspect that amazing things will begin to happen. Where will this journey take me? Will I come up with any novel insights into the human dilemma? Will I create positive change in the world? I want to document this process mainly because no one else is doing that yet. All the other voluntary simplicity blogs and websites are still talking about the basics, the how-to's. But that's only the very beginning. I think a new paradigm is waiting to emerge and I would like to play a part in birthing that. I hope in the future that other people will begin to share their journeys into the new paradigm as well. We need many different voices showing the way.

For now, I'll leave you with some random questions, which I'll be delving into down the road:

  • If you step out of the consumer paradigm--what's left?

  • How does the land, the Earth, relate to our human potential?

  • What if we honored limits, confined our creative expressions within the limits of the local ecosystem? Are those limits annoying constraints, or are they forms of profound guidance held in the land?

  • Why is economic growth used as an indicator of well-being? What other models of societal well-being are possible?

  • Does the human being only exist to possess and control matter? Where else could life energy be going?

  • Why do humans seek novelty?

  • What core knowledge, what vital skills, are being lost?

  • How do my choices impact future generations, the health of the earth, all living beings, my local community? What's my larger responsibility here?

  • How can I help my children develop a more encompassing philosophy toward life than that which the consumer paradigm promotes?

  • If it saves me time, does it cost me something else?

  • What percentage of my time goes toward spending, earning, consuming, protecting and planning for--THINGS?

  • What am I trying to buy with money?

  • What percentage of my time goes towards mindless distractions? Where could my time be going?

  • When considering purchases (beyond the necessities) what if I asked: "Will this help me become the person I'm meant to be?"

  • What opportunities does the practice of voluntary simplicity create for me?

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