Archive for the ‘Simple living’ Category

Simple Living

I found a simple living site by philosophy professor Bob Corbett: http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/philosophy/simple.html. A larger site is Unconventional Ideas by John Andersen (no relation).

It’s hard to find anything wrong with simple living. Practicing it improves any situation.

A few years back I was involved with a Simple Living discussion group and I retain ambivalent feelings about it. It was nice to find other people with the same urge to simplify, yet I quickly discovered that I was on a different wavelength.

There were two points of contention. First, the members were middle American in outlook, politically unsophisticated and vulnerable to the crackerbarrel fascists. I realized how effectively a few vocal rightists can take over an online group, bringing up welfare fraud, Hilary Clinton, etc. (I wonder if there’s a plot among pajama-clad right-wingers to disrupt liberal discussion groups?)

Secondly, I had a problem with the standard textbook for modern Simple Living, Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez, Vicki Robin. Basically it’s a Ten-Step program for curing oneself of materialism and achieving financial independence. It’s a tremendously effective strategy and a laudable one.

What drove me crazy was the chapter on investments, which said in effect: “Don’t worry your pretty little heads about investments; they are too complicated and no one can win. Just put everything in long-term US bonds.” Well, it’s more complicated than that and I spent many hours trying to explain why.

I may have been right, I may have been wrong, but when the situation is not working it’s better to be quiet or leave. Charging into battle again and again is not the only option; one would think I would have learned that by now!


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