A simple life, is a good life.
World’s greatest philosophers – from Thoreau, Socrates to Gautam Buddha – all define a happy life as a result of simplicity. Frugal simplicity – throughout humankind – has been a necessity and a moral virtue. However, today, with the rise of industrial capitalism, consumerism and a complex society, the population is driven to purchase items that are not part of their needs. It is because of this that there is a constant disconnection between consumers and traditional values.
There was a discrepancy – in a pre-modern era – between the advice of philosophers and way of life of human beings. Money insured security but the wealthy could not safeguard themselves from famine, war, injustice, tyranny and disease. Nero sentenced Seneca – the Stoic philosopher – to death. Prior to the introduction of machine-based agriculture and manufacture, representative civil rights, aspirin, antibiotics and democracy was living a life of simplicity.
Prosperous societies today expect people to accumulate a lot. Simple living is a boring concept for many today. In spite of this, millennials today are getting interested in reaping the benefits of simplicity. We cheer for the frugal philosophy and ignore the general rule in our life.
Our mindset is inconsistent fundamentally. At one side we do not appreciate tasteless or wastefulness and on the other hand, we try to sell historical monuments, for example, the Versailles palace, the Forbidden City of Beijing and more. Our so-called culture is over-emphasized by extravagance and its many forms.
In the US only, we are currently witnessing a shift towards capitalism. There is a rise in inequality, waste and extravagance. There is an opulence display of luxury on the face of poverty. Wise sages would have never thought of defining a simple life based on environmentalism.