Professor on living the simple life

Tim Kasser, pyschology, comments on the simple life and “voluntary simplicity” in the Tacoma News Tribune.


Those who practice Voluntary Simplicity do it for many reasons. Some consider it part of their religious or spiritual beliefs, others hope to lessen the environmental damage they’re responsible for, and some seek emotional and physical health.

But, as the Dillards point out, it’s not always so easy.

“Sometimes doing the more simple thing doesn’t seem as simple,” Lauree said. Her handmade wedding invitations were a production. Unprocessed foods can require more labor to prepare. Taking the bus takes time.

Don’t even mention gardening.

In addition to sometimes increased labor, those who choose to live more simply often have to swim against a strong current of material culture. Trends, advertisements and celebrity worship give the impression that more is better. In short, materialism dictates that if you can have something that you want, you should.

Emerging research suggests differently.

In a recently released study comparing 200 people who practice Voluntary Simplicity to 200 mainstream Americans, the former group were much happier and more satisfied with life.

Tim Kasser, the associate psychology professor from Knox College in Illinois who conducted the study, told The New York Times that simple-livers were also more likely to be careful about spending their money, which could translate to increased financial security.

Why? Perhaps, as Logan suggests, it goes back to the line from the movie “Fight Club”: “The things you own end up owning you.”

Read the full story in The News Tribune.