Monday, October 19, 2015

The Simple Life

What is the “simple life?”  Many people in our Western society (and particularly in religious circles) talk about it and even claim that they are living it.  I’ve fallen into that kind self-deception trap occasionally, thinking that in this autumnal season of my life, I’m living a “simple life.”  What a self-deception that is!  Of course, it is necessary to define what we mean by the “simple life.”  

Sunset in Little Falls, MN
If the simple life means gearing down our lifestyle and dropping our entrenched philosophy of “more and more,” we certainly would not be candidates.  We’ve got to have the iPhone 6, even if we already have the iPhone 5!  The simple life in this sense would necessitate impossible changes.  Suppose, for example, that we wanted to gear down to the level of the average impoverished family in India.  What would that mean?  It would mean getting rid of one or more cars and taking up walking, selling our home, throwing away all our clothing except for one well-worn garment that we would wear to every occasion.  It would probably mean living in a tent or a sheet metal shack along the street, doing without daily bath or shower  (which do you prefer?), giving up all medical care and eating one meal a day.  (It would even mean letting go of our iPhones!)

I don’t want that kind of simple life, do you?  What I would prefer is that we share our abundant resources and lift that kind of “simple life” into a more complete life, where everyone has a car, a home, and several sets of clothing.  I would prefer that everyone have a choice between a shower or a bath and food enough to nourish and strengthen, and medical care too.

The philosophy I prefer is not the “simple life” but the philosophy of sufficiency, not just sufficiency for my simple life, but sufficiency for the simple life of every human being on the planet earth.  

[October 16, 2015]

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