October 28, 2013

Moral Dilemma Monday

Your decision to choose a simple life will probably be met with puzzled, blank stares by your friends, family, and co-workers. They might even ask if you are insane.

"Why don't you want to 'cash in' with the rest of us, and live the high life? Is something wrong with you?"

We all feel the need to toe the line in life - we are social creatures. No one likes to be ostracized. That is why it is one of the most powerful punishments a community can met out.

The fear of being ostracized keeps most people in line - they go to work, buy a house, fill it with stuff, have kids, buy them stuff, follow all the rules and laws, and stifle the questions that invariably bubble to the surface from time to time.

Being out of favor with established ways can result in a damaged reputation. This can effect jobs, friends, and possibly your future. It makes most of us think twice before saying or doing something that may be thought controversial. Like, choosing to live simply while surrounded by excess.

Or talking about geoengineering, or the complicity of our government representatives and corporations, or weather control, or the end of oil, or native rights, or a whole host of other topics with are essentially verboten in mainstream society.

So here is our moral dilemma:
  • Should we make lifestyle changes that are crucial to continued life on the planet, or should we keep on submitting, laying low and living our culturally approved big footprint ways that will not draw any attention to ourselves? 
  • And when it comes to conversations about life-threatening practices such as unregulated consumer capitalism, should we measure our words, or worse, hold our tongue, so as not to offend anyone and put ourselves at risk?
The choice is right in front of us. What will you do?


  1. Anonymous10/28/2013

    So very, very true! I have found, as I have been gradually downsizing my possessions and lifestyle, that most people just don't get it. If, for example, I am walking downtown, doing errands, people constantly stop and ask me if I need a ride. When I thank them and explain that I am, um, walking, they invariably give me either a pitying or eye-rolling look. When I explain to a neighbor that I enjoy raking leaves with a rake - by hand! -he insists that he has to come over and use his riding mower and leaf blower to do this job for me. It takes a lot of strength and diplomacy to make people see that I enjoy my life the way I live it. No preaching - just living simply and truly happily. No matter how odd or out of step people may consider this lifestyle, it is the right one for me and brings me much happiness and contentment, and that, in the end, is the most important thing. I hope that I can inspire others by my example, but if not, I will still continue to live my life in a way this is right and true for me. Your blog is such an inspiration to me (and to many others as well) and I have gained so much insight and enjoyment from it. Keep up your wonderful work!

    Sophie W.

    1. Sophie W.,

      I too have experienced things similar to what you have shared here. It is difficult for most people to believe that one can be happy with less.

      Undoubtedly you are an awesome example for those around you. I think that living simply is the most powerful message you can send, and through observation others become more familiar with its benefits and charms.

      You are "being the change that you want to see in the world", and Gandhi would approve were he here today.

      Glad you are enjoying the blog. Thank you so much for commenting, sharing a bit about your lovely simple life, and sending us some much needed support and encouragement.

  2. Anonymous10/30/2013

    Your post has me thinking if people really **care** about what others are doing nowadays and to what extent - also, I doubt if we can still call ourselves "social creatures". I haven't seen much of this socializing thing recently. In my experience, if people start to notice that you are not "following the script" their first thought/worry is that you may be broke (and when you are going to start asking for money - i.e., they are worried about themselves, not about you). I live in one of the biggest cities in the world and no one seems to care or notice if i still wear the same 10 yrs old coat.

    The truth is, that apart from this minimalism issue, this mainstream society have a Code and this Code settled, long ago, what is good and what is bad. For example, you are a huge consumer but say, you choose not to have kids. Be sure you will be labelled *odd*,to say the least - even if your other choices are trivial and even if your speeches are innocent: to a major part of this society there is no salvation to you. What i mean is: unless you conform yourself to live strictly by The Holly Code, there will always be a label put aside for you. (pls forgive my bad grammar - english is not my native tongue, obviously).

    1. Anon,

      Your english is great, thanks for putting the effort to leave a comment. I do believe you are right and that perhaps people are so distracted and disoriented that they aren't really watching what others around them are doing.

      But the Holy Code does exist. I say we burn it and all the labels that it spawns. True freedom is when everyone is free to be themselves and live the life that make sense to them without censure or ridicule.

      As long as on one is getting hurt.

    2. Anonymous11/07/2013

      Gregg, I thank you so much for understanding my *efforts* LOL. It's very nice of you.

      I burned the Code, too, (yeah, long long ago) and I''ve made my life the way i believed it should be....but man!....what a high price I've payed!.( not that I regret it ). I just learned that we should try to accept that not all of us have a *strong stomach*...to be true to ourselves is way more painful than to go with the flow.

  3. Anonymous11/03/2013

    We have been conditioned . Must go to University, must buy a house, must upgrade the car, have to have the latest gadgets/latest fashion, and are subjected to immense advertising to reinforce that. The reality is that we end up working 60 hours a week to get on in our jobs (and to earn money to pay for the things that we have been conditioned to buy!) and it becomes a vicious circle.

    All the things we are conditioned to buy/want entrap up into a form of slavery. We end up tired worn out once on the merry go round. It is hard to say NO, and refuse to be part of that, but it is like a freedom to be able to do so. To only buy what you really need, not to feel that you have to conform. if you need less money you can work less, (or save more to retire early) and so the cycle goes the other way.

    My OH and I are virtually reclusive now, we work out jobs and have pretty much opted out of main stream society. We dont feel the need to spend spend spend just to conform with others. Its liberating,

    1. Anonymous11/03/2013

      *slavery* ... can't find a better word!

    2. Anons,

      We are breaking the chains of consumer bondage and taking a left turn right out of that vicious circle.

      It IS hard though. Linda and I have been working at it for about 20 years, and it gets better all the time. But at first there were tough decisions to make and risks to take. We turned the cycle the other way and never looked back.

      Going out into mainstream society is overrated in my experience, as well as expensive.

      Congratulations on emancipating yourselves. Freedom from consumerism and wage slavery is priceless.


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