materialism - possessions

Live simply that others
may simply live.

Elizabeth Seton


Do you know the more I look into life, the more things it seems to me I can successfully lack--and continue to grow happier.  How many kinds of food I do not need, or cooks to cook them, how much curious clothing or tailors to make it, how many books I have never read, and pictures that are not worthwhile!  The farther I run, the more I feel like casting aside all such impediments--lest I fail to arrive at the far goal of my endeavor.

David Grayson


When one begins to practice simplicity, the ego is deprived of the very strategy by which it sustains itself.  Nothing will deflate the ego more effectively than to be recognized for what it is.  It lives by pretension. It dies when the mask is torn away and the stark reality is exposed to the gaze of others.  Simplicity also avails in braking the tyranny of things.  Ostentation, artificiality, ornamentation, pretentious style, luxury--all require things.  One requires few things to be one's self, one's age, and one's moral, intellectual, or spiritual stature.  What one is does not depend on what one has.

Albert E. Day


The more complexity, the more issues.  The more simplicity, the fewer difficulties.  If you find yourself in a complicated situation, look for the simple way out.  The scientific theorem Occam’s razor, put forth by 14th-century English logician William of Occam, states, “The simplest answer tends to be the correct one.”  We have been led to believe that an answer is not valid unless it is complicated.  But then again, we have been led to believe lots of things that are not true.

Alan Cohen
The Tao Made Easy


Simplicity is an exact medium between too little and too much.

Joshua Reynolds


The boy and girl going hand in hand through a meadow; the mother
washing her baby; the sweet simple things in life.  We have almost
lost track of them.  On the one side, we over-intellectualize
everything; on the other hand, we are over-mechanized.  We can
understand the danger of the atomic bomb, but the danger of our
misunderstanding the meaning of life is much more serious.

Edward Steichen


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In character, in manners, in style, in all things
the supreme excellence is simplicity.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


People must be able to cut a knot, for everything cannot
be untied; they must know how to disengage what is essential
from the detail in which it is enwrapped, for everything
cannot be equally considered; in a word, they must be able to
simplify their duties, their business, and their lives.

Henri Frederic Amiel


How many undervalue the power of simplicity!
But it is the real key to the heart.

William Wordsworth

I believe the art of living consists not so much in complicating
simple things as in simplifying things that are not.

François Hertel

Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.

Charles Dudley Warner


Simplicity, carried to an extreme, becomes elegance.

Jon Franklin


Living life fully doesn't mean having it all, going everywhere,
doing everything, and being all things to all people.  Many
of us are beginning to see that too much is too much.

Elaine St. James


Year by year the complexities of this spinning world grow
more bewildering and so each year we need all the more
to seek peace and comfort in the joyful simplicities.

Woman's Home Companion (1935)


materialism - possessions

Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury--to me
these have always been contemptible.  I assume that
a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for
everyone, best for both the body and the mind.

Albert Einstein


The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary
so that the necessary may speak.

Hans Hofmann


The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply.

Khalil Gibran

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the
complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.

Charles Mingus

Even though you may not think so, it’s quite easy to return to simplicity.
All you have to do is look back in your life to the times when it was simpler,
when you didn’t have to have somebody come in and do all the things you
are paying people to do, when you were more in charge of your life.  That’s
one option, which I personally am exercising more and more these days.

Wayne Dyer
Happiness Is the Way


You were trying to be simple for the sake of being simple.  I wonder if
true simplicity is ever anything but a by-product.  If we aim directly for it,
it eludes us; but if we are on fire with some great interest that absorbs
our lives to the uttermost, we forget ourselves into simplicity.
Everything falls into simple lines around us, like a worn garment.

David Grayson



In character, in manners, in style, in all things the
supreme excellence is simplicity.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on
simplicity – I mean the true simplicity of a rightly and nobly ordered
mind and character, not that other simplicity
which is only a euphemism for folly.



Everything should be made as simple as possible. . . but not simpler.

Albert Einstein



The more complicated life becomes, the more people
are attracted to simple solutions.

James Reston


Make room for yourself in your life by keeping it simple.

Stephen C. Paul


If one's life is simple, contentment has to come.  Simplicity is extremely
important for happiness.  Having few desires, feeling satisfied
with what you have, is very vital:  satisfaction with just enough food,
clothing, and shelter to protect yourself from the elements.

the Dalai Lama


There is a majesty in simplicity.

Alexander Pope


It's possible to have too much in life.  Too many clothes jade our appreciation
for new ones; too much money can put us out of touch with life; too much
free time can dull the edge of the soul.  We need sometimes to come very near
the bone so that we can taste the marrow of life rather than its superfluities.

Joan Chittister


Prison life taught him how little one can get along with, and what extraordinary
spiritual freedom and peace such simplification can bring.  I remember again,
ironically, that today more of us in the world have the luxury of choice
between simplicity and complication of life.  And for the most part, we,
who could choose simplicity, choose complication.  War, prison, survival
periods, enforce a form of simplicity on us.  The monk and the nun choose
it of their own free will.  But if one accidentally finds it, as I have for a few
days, one finds also the serenity it brings.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Gift from the Sea



It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.

Laura Ingalls Wilder


Great people, like nature, use simple language.

Luc de Clapiers Vauvenargues


Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language,
and yet it is one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying.
The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things,
and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.

Elise Boulding


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Let us not get so busy or live so fast that we can't listen to the
music of the meadow or the symphony that glorifies the forest.
Some things in the world are far more important than wealth;
one of them is the ability to enjoy simple things.

Dale Carnegie


The life of simplicity is simple, but it opens to us a book
in which we never get beyond the first syllable.

Dag Hammarskjöld


Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work
to achieve it and education to appreciate it. And to
make matters worse:  complexity sells better.

Edsger W. Dijkstra


Voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer conditions.
It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within,
as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, of many possessions
irrelevant to the chief purpose of life.

Richard Gregg


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!  As you simplify your life,
the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude,
poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.

Henry David Thoreau


The simplified life is a sanctified life,
Much more calm, much less strife.
Oh, what wondrous truths are unveiled--
Projects succeed which had previously failed.
Oh, how beautiful life can be,
Beautiful simplicity.

Peace Pilgrim

The greatness of simplicity comes in no small way,
from an appreciation of truth and beauty.

Fred Van Amburgh

Simplicity of life is the true secret of happiness.  Unhampered experience
of joy which lies within comes out of simplicity.  Your life should
never be complicated with too many things.



Simplicity lies concealed in this chaos, and it is only for us to discover it.

Augustin Fresnel


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The Art of Simplicity
Wilferd A. Peterson

"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!" wrote Thoreau.  "I say let your affairs be as one, two, three and not as a hundred or a thousand."

The art of simplicity is simply to simplify. . .

Simplicity avoids the superficial, penetrates the complex, goes to the heart of the problem and pinpoints key factors.

Simplicity does not beat around the bush.  It does not take winding detours.  It follows a straight line to the objective.  Simplicity is the shortest distance between two points.

Simplicity does not elucidate the obscure, it emphasizes the obvious.

Simplicity solves problems.  Listen to the testimony of Charles Kettering, a genius of modern research:  "The problem when solved will be simple."

Simplicity discovers great ideas; a swinging cathedral lamp inspired the pendulum, watching a tea kettle led to the steam engine, and a falling apple revealed the law of gravitation.

Simplicity is the mark of greatness.  "To be simple is to be great," wrote Emerson.  Only little people pretend; big people are genuine and sincere.

Simplicity has given all the big things little names:  dawn, day hope, love, home, peace, life, death.

Simplicity is eloquent:  it is the Twenty-third Psalm and the Gettysburg address.

Simplicity uses little words.  It practices the wisdom of Lincoln, who said, "make it so simple a child will understand; then no one will misunderstand."

Simplicity deepens life.  It magnifies the simple virtues on which people's survival depends:  humility, faith, courage, serenity, honesty, patience, justice, tolerance, thrift.

Simplicity is the arrow of the spirit!

I love my sea-shell of a house.  I wish I could live in it always.  I wish I could
transport it home.  But I cannot.  It will not hold a husband, five children and
the necessities and trappings of daily life.  I can only carry back my little
channeled whelk.  It will sit on my desk in Connecticut, to remind me of the
ideal of a simplified life, to encourage me in the game I played on the beach.
To ask how little, not how much, can I get along with.  To say--is it necessary?--
when I am tempted to add one more accumulation to my life, when I am pulled
toward one more centrifugal activity.
   Simplification of outward life is not enough.  It is merely the outside.  But I am
starting with the outside.  I am looking at the outside of a shell, the outside of my
life--the shell.  The complete answer is not to be found on the outside, in an
outward mode of living.  This is only a technique, a road to grace.  The final
answer, I know, is always inside.  But the outside can give a clue, can help one
to find the inside answer.  One is free, like the hermit crab, to change one's shell.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Gift from the Sea

The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace.  A
persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being
that places harmony in one's life.  For me this began with the
discovery of the meaninglessness of possessions beyond
my actual and immediate needs.

Peace Pilgrim

For the spiritual side:

Simplicity brings back the joys of Paradise.  Not that we have pure
pleasure without a moment’s suffering, but when we are surrendered
to God, we are not grasping for pleasure, and even our troubles are
received with thanksgiving.  This inner harmony, and this deliverance
from fear and the tormenting desires of self, create a satisfaction in the
soul which is above all the intoxicating joys of this world put together.

François Fenelon

When we are truly in this interior simplicity our whole appearance is
franker, more natural.  This true simplicity. . . makes us conscious of
a certain openness, gentleness, innocence, gaiety, and serenity.  O,
how amiable this simplicity is!  Who will give it to me?  I leave all
for this.  It is the pearl of the Gospel.

Francois Fenelon

It’s simple things, like a glowing sunset, the sound of a running stream
or the fresh smell in a meadow that cause us to pause and marvel
at the wonder of life, to contemplate its meaning and significance.
Who can hold an autumn leaf in their hand, or sift the warm white sand
on the beach, and not wonder at the Creator of it all?

Wendy Moore



Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.



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