September 29, 2011
simplicity and beauty
above is the start of an art piece i made especially for old faithful beach cottage, in exchange for my week’s stay there on the coast last week. do you have a west coast cabin on the coast or in the woods and would like some custom artwork for it’s walls? i’d love to do similar projects!
would you like to see the completed piece above, and experience old faithful yourself? maura, the cabin’s owner, welcomes guests on airbnb.com and is also interested in creative barters such as massages, artwork, etc.
last week while away, i also read voluntary simplicity by duane elgin. not as poetic as the practice of the wild, but just as informative. it was also a kick to read while immersed in a lovingly restored cabin with just the basics, 1950′s-era style. the kitchen above was my favorite room, and the one where i spent the most time. below are some quote from the first chapter of voluntary simplicity and old faithful’s awesome simple kitchen, and surrounds.
“voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer condition. it means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, a well a 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. of course, as different people have different purposes in life, what is relevant to the purpose of one person might not be relevant to the purpose of another.” – richard gregg
some people tend to equate simple living with a life characterized by poverty, antagonism to progress, rural living, and the denial of beauty. it is important to acknowledge these misconceptions so that we can move beyond them.
an ecological approach to living invites us to continuously balance two aspects of life – maintaining ourselves [creating a workable existence], and surpassing ourselves [creating a meaningful existence].
the many expressions of simpler living, both inner and outer, indicate that this is much more than a superficial change in the *style* of life. a “style” change refers generally to an exterior change, such as a new fad or fashion. simplicity goes far deeper and involves a change in our *way* of life.
simpler ways of living in the ecological era will result in changes as great as the transition from the agrarian era to the industrial era. in an interdependent, ecologically conscious world every aspect of life will be touched and changed: consumption levels and patterns, living and working environments, political attitudes and processes, international ethics and relations, the uses of mass media, education and many more.
to live *peacefully*, we must live within a reasonable degree of *equity*, or fairness, for it is unrealistic to think that, in a communications-rich world, a billion or more persons will accept living in absolute poverty while another billion live in conspicuous excess. only with greater fairness in the consumption of the world’s resources can we love peacefully, and thereby live sustainably, as a human family. without a revolution in fairness, the world will find itself in chronic conflict over dwindling resources, and this in turn will make it impossible to achieve the level of cooperation necessary to solve problems.
the character of a whole society is the cumulative result of the countless small actions, ay in and day out, of millions of persons. small changes that may seem unimportant in isolation are of transformative significance when adopted by an entire society.