Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Minimal Life In Philosophy and Spirituality

Interest in  the 'minimal life' style exists in Korea. A philosophy professor at a Catholic University gives us his ideas  on the simple life in an article of Bible 
and Life. 

In Korea we have extreme competition and indiscriminate consumer desires, little interest in society or ecology, lethargy and depression; concerned individuals see and are worried. Without a change in our life style we will not be happy.

Consequently we have more people using the word 'minimal life', attracted to its meaning. A healthy situation, for efforts are made to rid ourselves of the obstacle to happiness. A life not based on riches, honors or power but  ridding ourselves of these obstacles, hindering us from enjoying life.

Simple life is a positive approach to life but there  are reasons for concern. You have advertising for Nordic and Kinfolk style furniture which is very simple, well made and called the minimal life style furniture but this is not what the writer is talking about. He is talking about a mind set that eschews this materialism. The simple life is a philosophical and spiritual way of looking at life, a positive mode of living.

He introduces us to the book by the French writer  Dominque Loreau who has written a bestseller on how to simplify, where less is more. He also wants us to familiarize ourselves with the Danes and Finnish people to learn about the simple life style .

According to our philosophy professor the minimal life is a way of finding happiness. In ancient Hellenism  especially in Stoic understanding and Epicurus, strange  with all his talk of pleasure, he stressed the simple life. They considered serenity and self sufficiency, philosophy's area of competency. This can be compared to the Asian ideal. Even the present day philosophers and thinkers help us to understand this simple life.

Philosophy makes known that the simple life is the key to happiness. Expressed differently, the formula implementing this way of life requires  practicing virtues. The most important is the virtue of temperance. Minimal life begins here. Happiness is the result of a minimal life, and begins with temperance. 

The natural moral virtue of temperance is not what we talk about in spirituality but is the ground from which we go to the spiritual. Temperance is one of the cardinal virtues: prudence, courage, justice and temperance which preceded the coming of Jesus by hundreds of years. We have added the theological virtues of  faith, hope and charity. They are the basis of our study of humanity and morality. The German philosopher Josef Pieper was one who explained this teaching in his many books.

The spirituality of the minimal life knows temperance and contentment. Our eyes are opened to creation and see it differently, becoming more humble, developing a more contemplative joyous enjoyment of creation. Living in the love of our creator we receive consolation, hope, and with the purity of heart  participate in worship  and the journey of faith, the paradigm of our religious life.

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