Friday, January 18, 2008


I got to thinking about what simplicity is yesterday and I want to discuss that a little. I think the first thing to do is say what simplicity is not.
  • Simplicity is not the easy way.
  • Simplicity is not popular.
  • Simplicity is not commonly known.
  • Simplicity is not easy to find out about.

Really when it comes down to it there isn't much simple about simplicity. Let me explain. When I think of simplicity I think of living an organic life. A life centered around the earth and the elements. An understanding of how the things around you work and being an active participant in all aspects of your life. That would mean that you could look around you and see no "black boxes". You could walk through your home and know how everything worked and how to fix it if it broke. You would be able to make the things that you need from the resources that you have.

Is that an easy lifestyle? I would say absolutely not, but how rewarding that would be. It's also not popular. Iphones are popular. Going without one is not so popular. Toilet paper is popular. Going without is not so popular. Most people don't even think about simplicity on a regular basis. Why would I go without a cell phone when they add so much convenience to my life? I think that convenience comes at a price. The cell phone, for example, has decreased our ability to remember and plan. What is your best friend's phone number? Do you remember it or do you look up the name on the phone and hit send? Are there long term consequences to that? When is the last time you planned to meet someone at a specific time, at a specific place? Or did you meet in a general area and then call each other and walk around until you saw each other talking on the phone to each other.

I find the whole simplicity thing to be quite ironic. There's a group of people who want to simplify their lives, so what do they do? They hang out on the Internet looking for ways to simplify. Ironically, it's extremely hard to find. It's ironic that I blog about simplicity, but I am quite aware that I'm not the only one. I also know that people read these blogs (not necessarily mine). Finding how to manage an organic garden is so complicated, but the earth does it on its own all around us. Figuring out simple things like what wildlife I want to attract to my garden to keep away pests and how to attract them are so simple, and probably well known, but they are hard to find, or it takes a long time to figure out.

So there it is, I think the simplicity movement needs to be simplified.

1 comment:

Phil said...

*shrug* I think you may be picking the wrong enemy in the cell phone. You don't have to have an iPhone or a blackberry or a fancy bluetooth headset.

Is a regular phone really much more simple then a cell phone?

I think cell phones are bad in the waste they create when people chuck them every few years for a new model, and the ugly towers that are around, but over time they will be further apart and be less obstructive then current phone lines.

There have been all sorts of studies about how much cell phones have helped farmers in developing economies save time and money by determining the best market prices etc...

Anyways, long rant short, cell phones are bad in the same way that bikes can be bad... you'll always have those who buy the most expensive model every year but that doesn't mean they have no place in a simple life. If you choose to be connected to the grid at all, this is one of the better ways IMO