Saturday, July 16, 2016

Living a Simple and Plain Life

Let's live the simple lifestyle.  "If you have anything to throw away bring it to the country, and we will find a use." An article in the Catholic Times is captioned: "Revolt against the fanning of consumption--'Throwaway Culture' needs to go."

The sale of books on how to live the simple life, continues to increase and this year in the first three month, we have 13 times more books sold than the previous year. A Japanese book on ten minimalists: "I want to live in room without anything"  translated into Korean, is a good example of the trend.

We can see this expanding on SNS with  information passed on and received by those who want to simplify their lives. The article goes on to mention  this is not  a recent phenomenon but goes back to the sixties in Japan and the United States. After the Second World War, many saw the barbarity of our civilization, and began to shun the unnatural and artificial. People have always followed the natural and a life of non possession, and it appears again. In 2011 with the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, many precious items suddenly disappeared. Water was transformed into a murderous weapon, changing the thinking of many on the value of goods and their possession.

This attachment to material goods is also seen in Korea. With its quick economic growth, Korea was engulfed within the whirlpool of extreme competition, materialism and consumerism, accompanied  with ostentation, bringing  fatigue in its wake. A person's personal improvement, healing and mentoring, etc. did not permit the pursuit of a splendid lifestyle, and  price required. Problems with continual progress, and the stagnant economy had something  to do with the change of thinking. Problems with environment and new ecological understanding also played a part.

Opposition to spending was in the current context  of  resistance to the consumerism of capitalism. In the West, it was not only their ideology but a result of practice. France has the 'Vide Grenier', (cleaning out the attic) which in  English would be a flea market sale. For the last ten years, the number of sales and  people attending continue to increase. The press calls this a fight against waste. Economic crisis is involved  but more so the lack of virtue and the superficiality of capitalism;  minimalists are determined to not thoughtlessly be taken in by words. In France the key words, according to the writer, are organic, just trade, togetherness, and second hand. 

'Planned obsolescence' is a phrase, an open secret, where products are made to wear out. This is the phrase used to  criticize the way many businesses operate.

He finishes the article with quotes from Laudatio Si.  "This task [social and ecological awareness] will make such tremendous demands that (we) could never achieve it by individual initiative or even by the united effort of men bred in an individualistic way... The ecological conversion needed to bring about lasting change is also a community conversion." 

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