elegant simplicity

Satish Kumar. The visionary Editor of Resurgence Magazine

Trendy, fashionable consumer-oriented lifestyles are the cause of a threefold crisis. The first is the environmental crisis, where over-exploitation of resources causes climate change. The second is the social crisis, where resources are appropriated by the few, and large numbers of people are deprived of their essential rights: consumerism causes poverty and social injustice. The third is the spiritual crisis: the crisis of disconnection and loneliness. Consumerism and addiction to fast fashion undermine the values of friendship, family, neighbourliness and humility.

Simplicity is part of the perennial wisdom promoted by many great thinkers and visionaries. Although sometimes people think simplicity means a kind of hair-shirt lifestyle, that is not my view. Simplicity is a positive quality; when things are simple they are well-made, they last indefinitely, they are made with pleasure and they give pleasure when used. It was E. F. Schumacher who said, “Any fool can make things complicated, but it requires a genius to make things simple.”

Simplicity requires less ego and more imagination, less complication and more creativity, less glamour and more gratitude, less attention to appearance and more attention to essence.

Abridged from an article in Resurgence magazine by its visionary editor, Satish Kumar, the guiding spirit and former monk, with over 50 years of speaking on the global agenda for ecological, spiritual and educational matters. www.resurgence.org

“Any fool can make things complicated, but it requires a genius to make things simple.”