Recently I’ve been reading a collection of essays called Less is More.
This book gives me some hope about the world. Specifically, essays like “Simplicity isn’t ‘Voluntary’ Anymore” envisions what may begin to happen when our markets and ecosystems begin to evolve toward less for each human. The author, Ernest Callenbach, sees positive aspects in this evolution.
On the other side of adjustment lies a trio of self-reinforcing virtues that Callenback calls the “green-triangle approach”:
“As you look over your daily life, imagine a triangle whose points are environment, budget and health. It miraculously turns out that if you make a change aimed at improving one of those points, it will also help the others.”
This rings true to me, and it points to how each person can be part of an evolution toward a saner, wiser, more joyful, commonwealth type of society. Rather than top-down social programming, people begin to make the most of increasingly limited resources. In doing so, they wield power within their own spheres of influence and begin to temper environmental destruction, poor health during the prime years of life, and rising wealth inequality.
The part about looking over your daily life also speaks to me. It reminds me of stoic wisdom, the way Marcus Aurelius would scrutinize those things over which he had control in order to make the best decisions.
Contemporary life in America may be madness, but ideas like these offer some pleasing side trails. They may or may not lead to a better destination, but every thoughtful person should consider taking them.