June 4, 2014

Restructuring The Way We Live

Lao Tzu was an advocate of living simply.

There is growing agreement around the world that we need to restructure the way we live. Business as usual will only give us more of the same - environmental destruction, riches for a few, and hardship for everyone else.

We need a better way, but how do we restructure the way we live on a scale large enough to have an effect? Vested interests tell us it can't be done.

They are wrong. We know what to do - live more simply.

Lao Tzu knew that living simply was the answer, and wrote about it in Verse 80 of the Tao Te Ching:

The best state is small,
without too many people,
who have every tool they might need
and don't use much,
have good transportation
and prefer to walk,
can defend themselves
and aren't aggressive.

Their food, their dress,
their homes and ways
are simple and individual
in grace.  They cherish their
traditions, revive old crafts,
satisfy the generations:
their children stay on,

with other states like this so near
that one can hear the barking dog,
the crowing cock across the way,
yet never get round to visiting,

- translation by Michael Rossman

We can't continue along the conspicuous consumer path - it is a dead end. Perhaps it is time to attempt the tried and true methods of simple living and restructure our systems to support less, rather than continue to enthusiastically support the societal lust for more.

Save the earth. Save our minds. Be content.

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