Visionaries: Duane Elgin
1st April 2009
Duane Elgin is a self-described ‘evolutionary activist’ who, since the 1960s, has explored the practical and philosophical meaning of simplicity.
Simplicity cuts through the needless busyness, clutter and complexity. It enhances living with balance.
The publication of his 1981 book Voluntary Simplicity launched a movement of the same name. The idea for it came to him during protests against the Vietnam War, when people were looking for alternatives to military and industrial power and the lifestyles that led to war, and has been reinforced in the 1980s and 1990s as people universally came to be considered ‘consumers’.
‘Voluntary simplicity’ is the answer to a challenge facing humanity after 200 years of material growth: ‘If the material consumption of a fraction of humanity is already harming the planet, is there an alternative path ahead that enables all of humanity to live more lightly upon the Earth while, at the same time, experiencing a higher quality of life?’
In the rush to shop our way to a better life, he suggests that ‘what was once viewed as a turn away from progress, voluntary simplicity – consciously chosen, deliberate and intentional – supports a higher quality of life’.
In part, his writing and advocacy is a simple but essential reframing of the commonly held perception that living simply is sacrifice. Instead, he writes, ‘Sacrifice is the...
To view the rest of this article - you must be a paying subscriber and Login
Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.