Slow Knowledge

voluntary simplicity

It is a voluntary and consciously chosen simple lifestyle that confronts consumer society and its expectations. The simple way of life is not the same, but it touches, among other things, the minimalist, frugal lifestyle, or even the pursuit of self-reliance, the way of life of those who withdraw from society.

Those who choose a simple lifestyle basically strive to rationalize their lives according to their own circumstances, and to satisfy but their basic needs (which may vary from person to person) rather than accumulating unnecessary material goods. Simplifying our lives can take many forms, including: moving to a smaller home; simplifying our wardrobe; using public transport or a bicycle instead of cars; increasing self-sufficiency through gardening or self-made products; switching to a plant-based diet and favouring local food products.

However, voluntary simplicity is not a recent concept, and throughout history many thinkers, writers, and even statesmen have encouraged their followers to simplicity, for example Diogenes, Saint Francis of Assisi, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Lev Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi. The term voluntary simplicity itself was coined by American philosopher Richard Gregg in his work The Value of Voluntary Simplicity published in 1936.