Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Reader comment on Duane Elgin's passage ...

Conscious Simplicity

On Oct 25, 2014 Shilpa K. wrote:

 As much as I've enjoyed seeing various minds reflecting upon these concepts all week--the more I think about it, the more flippant and unhelpful this except seems. It does not seem that the "crude" and the "superficial" sections were discussed consciously...they lack nuance and promote "one right way" of thinking about conscious simplicity when in truth, there can be multiple ways that will absolutely contain elements of both the crude and the superficial (because we live in a complex world with many unsupportive policies currently instated).

If someone chooses to buy recycled paper rather than virgin paper, it may not address the root problem (too many resources exploited to make paper) but it may be a conscious choice that mitigates the harm created (it is only superficial if the person sees the mere act of buying paper marked "recycled" as "enough" rather than considering personal and societal impact upon the planet). Similarly, if somebody chooses to give up a phone or a car or live more naturalistically and it is a conscious choice, why is that labeled "crude" and "regressive"? Is it assumed that people who are not living exactly like mainstream, urban people in industrialized nations are incapable of nuance and integration as they move towards living in a more connective manner "off the land"? Or that people who have always lived this way are "backwards" and not part of the "21st Century"? The author may attempt to attain a state of "conscious simplicity" while continuing to have a phone or to drive, but that in itself does not make such a path superior. I comprehend the vision of the final section, but we live in a paradoxical world with increased social stratification, unsustainable policies, and more and more humans throwing ecosystems off balance. How is writing off choices that don't meet a particular aesthetic a creative or synergistic act?

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