The ascetic appeal of tiny living

Karen Swallow Prior

Karen Swallow Prior
January 8, 2015

There are right reasons to downsize - perhaps even all the way down to tiny houses - but we must remain wary of asceticism.

January 8, 2015

This austerity movement or return to environmental sensitive living reminds me of Thoreau living on Walden Pond. People read what he wrote about it and still do, but few want to mimic him for their own living choices.

As you said, these living arrangements don't lend themselves to much in the way of hospitality. But can you imagine going as small as this guy did with buying a dumpster and then outfitting it as a living space complete with sleeping and cooking arrangements? How would he invite a date - let alone a larger company of people - over for dinner? Not that it's impossible, but not many of us would choose it voluntarily either.

January 8, 2015

I agree that we have too much "stuff" but it makes more sense to me to downsize and get rid of the accumulation of things that we probably got for its intrinsic value or some other reason that only makes sense to the person accumulating "stuff."

Over the years my income has dropped considerably but with God's grace, I have been able to manage fairly well.

Let's compare what we call 'tiny houses' to where people live in much of the world. No heat, electricity, running water and so on. Sometimes there aren't even four walls.

I continue to downsize and donate to places like "Hand in Hand" here in Halifax, Nova Scotia where people who cannot afford things can get them at a deep discount.

Basically I have moved from upper middle class to middle class to poverty to extreme poverty. I still have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF but I am able to do volunteer work and God has blessed me abundantly. I know many middle class people who have no idea how little I live on.

As for a tiny house? Not for me. As it says to the right of this article, "ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER."

January 8, 2015

Tim and DDiana,

Thanks for weighing in. There are indeed many ways most of us need to check our consumerism and materialism by downsizing. And being thankful for what we already have is a good way to start.

Thanks for reading and commenting.


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