Voluntary Simplicity

Voluntary simplicity is characterised by individuals being satisfied with what they need rather than what they want. The principles of voluntary simplicity are of interest to The Incredible Shrinking Man because of two main reasons. For one, if the human body were to become smaller we would need less. Therefor the systems that are in place to sustain us could become a lot simpler. This principle relates both to external systems such as the housing, energy and food systems, as well as the body itself. J.B.S. Haldane has written on how lungs and other organs would be much less complicated if the body hadn’t become so big. Largeness leads to complexity and complex systems are intrinsically hazardous systems.

Secondly The Incredible Shrinking Man is interested in how the radical choices in some simple living movements already display the mindset and behaviour needed for humanity to make drastic changes. Since shrinking the human body is perceived as a radical proposition, voluntary simplicity’s many secular and religious manifestations could function as a source of inspiration in understanding how to open our minds to the notion of the small body. And let’s not forget it’s not just idealism or saving the world that makes people choose a simpler life; stepping back from the irrational rat race for growth more often than not, creates an immense sense of relief.


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  1. November 14, 2014 max

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