Amidst the news of Russian train crashes, below-standard hospitals and the part hubris played in the conduct of the Iraq War, I learned today of a man who lives near Bristol, in a solar-powered caravan. He has lived for a year without earning money or spending money, eating the fruits of nature and the leftovers of the wasteful, even making his own toothpaste out of cuttlefish. His main difficulty, it seems, was obtaining a pint of beer in his local pub without money to pay for it!
He was interviewed, and spoke very simply. Why do people feel the need to buy so much that they do not actually require? They surround themselves with objects often of value, then fear losing them and so they buy insurance to protect the items, which are a temptation to others... and so it goes on.
I think his name was Dave. Dave intends to carry on living this way, in total simplicity and fearlessness, and with no burden of responsibility, just enjoyment of life and appreciation of what nature provides. It is not a way of ife for everyone, and I know it would be a challenge for me who appreciates my creature comforts like a hot bath.
However, what Dave is pointing out is the beauty and importance of Simplicity, which happens to be my sixth Principle. He did not say so, but I believe he is also talking about non-attachment, whereby if we choose to have objects of usefulness or beauty or indeed luxury in our lives (for it is all about choice), we do not become attached to them, particularly where we become dependent upon them or fear losing them. We can become attached to people and situations too - attachment is very different from love.
So, Dave has caused me to look at what is around me, to reflect upon what is there for good reason and what is superfluous, and how I can introduce more simplicity into my life. I do this periodically, when I am reminded, and each time I find there is action to be taken. I cannot match Dave in sustainable living, and would not wish to nor expect everyone to do the same, but I respect and recognise that his way of life, his values, can teach us much about our own way of life, if we are prepared to look.