I am taking the Earth Institute course called A Different Way: Living Simply in a Complex World. Ten of us meet every week for 6 weeks and one of our assignments (optional) is to write a “manifesto” about our commitment to living simply – what drew us to the lifestyle, how we are living it, and why we are committed for the long run. I am posting my manifesto here and I have invited other participants to share theirs as well. This is an optional assignment, so not everyone will share. I hope this will inspire others to live simply and perhaps consider taking this course in the future.
My Simply Living Manifesto
At college, I studied philosophy, east and west, indigenous shamans, and the sciences of evolution, ecology, modern physics. Wisdom traditions, spiritual leaders, and scientists whose work touches on the nature of consciousness all share the values of living simply. Socrates, Jesus, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Gandhi, St. Francis, Black Elk, Henri Bergson, Teilhard de Chardin, Albert Einstein, Fritjof Kapra, Ken Wilbur – the list is very long.
To live a life of voluntary simply, according to author Duane Elgin, is to live a life that is “outwardly simply but inwardly complex.” To live simply in this manner requires spiritual grounding and discipline.
- Meditation practice
- Mindfulness training and awareness
- Non Violent Communication, yoga, reiki, etc.
To embark on a journey of simplicity, lifestyle choices conflict with the dominant materialistic values of the Consumer Culture.
- Buy less stuff
- Repair, reuse, repurpose, recycle
- Buy used clothing, furniture, vehicles, etc. and share
Living simply today requires choosing to reduce your “environmental footprint”
- Eat locally sourced food, plant a garden, compost
- Don’t be fossil fuelish or car-centric. Walk, bike, bus, ride share
- Drive electric. Go solar.
Today’s global economy of transnational corporations and commodity based trading is the root cause of income inequality, loss of union jobs, erosion of community wealth, and deterioration of ecosystems worldwide. Localization and creating a new ecological economy is the antidote to the excesses of the global economy.
Living simply in today’s global economy requires living locally, in community.
- Buy from independent, locally owned businesses
- Bank with a local community bank or credit union
- Invest your money in funds that support small business owners, farmers, cooperatives, and social enterprises.
Finally, the corporate oligarchy that supports the global economy resists efforts to constrain its power over our political and electoral systems. To live simply in a time of transition to new economic, political, and social systems requires conscious strategies to restore and revitalize participation in our democracy.
- Organize to make your neighborhood and community more sustainable.
- Participate in protests to preserve, restore, and promote policies that implement social and environmental justice.
- Vote in every local, county, state, regional, and national election.