Saturday, January 3, 2009

The First Paragraph

The world is profoundly changing, that much seems clear. We have entered a time of great uncertainty that extends from local to global scale. We are forced by pressing circumstances to ask difficult questions about the way we live our lives: Will my present way of life still be workable when my children grow up? How might their lives, and my own, be different? Am I satisfied with my work? Does my work contribute to the well-being of others--or is it just a source of income? How much income do I really require? Require for what? How much of my consumption adds to the clutter and complexity of my life rather than to my satisfaction? How does my level and pattern of consumption affect the other people and the environment? Is there an alternative way of living that is more sustainable in an era of scarcity? Do I have the flexibility to adapt to a period of prolonged energy shortage and economic depression? In the face of scarcity, is there an alternative way of living that fosters cooperation and community rather than cutthroat competition and social fragmentation? Are there small changes that I could make in my own life that, with many others making similar changes, would result in a large difference in the well-being of others? What are my responsibilities to the other members of the human family who are living in grinding poverty? Am I missing much of the richness of life by being preoccupied with the search for social status and consumer goods? What is my purpose in life? How am I to take charge of my own life?
--The first paragraph of Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin. It gives you quite a bit to think about right off, doesn't it?

1 comment:

PeregrineBlue said...

Thank you for sharing this paper. I am really drawn into asking myself these same questions as we all are I think. Yes, "the times they are a changin'" again. Yet all change is adaptation too, a way for a balance to take effect.