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Opinion

National addiction

SoVaNow.com / June 11, 2009
Dear Viewpoint:

Our present economic crisis has caused so many of us in the U.S. to question our addiction to “Affluenza.” This societal mind-set has been defined as “an extreme form of materialism resulting from excessive desire for material goods.” Never mind that our rampant over-consumption has not brought us the contentment and relief from stress as promised by the media.

The March 26, 2009 issue of Time Magazine featured the cover story, “The End of Excess,” the author, Kurt Anderson, urges that Americans restore themselves to “sanity and normal living” and aversion to our history of “capitalist piggishness.” Mr. Anderson calls for a return to the Yankee virtues which were formerly held in such high regard in this country - sobriety, hard work, practical ingenuity, common sense, fair play and making do.

There is a growing movement of “Voluntary Simplicity” which raises questions and provides answers to the plague of our consumer society. Voluntary simplicity does not mean depriving yourself of life’s essentials; rather it focuses on training ourselves with a new mind set of wanting what you have and finding joy in having less! It is a combination of “More” and “Less.” More: time, meaning, joy, satisfaction, relationships and community connection. Less: money, material possessions, stress, competition and isolation.

How does one begin to turn around? Recently, a group of people right here in South Boston have started a “Simplicity Circle.” We have decided to use the workbook “Simplicity Lesson” by Linda Breen Pierce as our guide. We do assignments at home and then meet to discuss our findings and ideas. It certainly has been enlightening to do something like keeping track of every nickel spent in a month, taking an inventory of our wardrobes, realizing how many useless things we have purchased.

We are convinced that at the end of our 12-step study, we will be smarter and richer in the things that really matter. We will know the freedom of wanting less and being relieved of society’s pressures, and even relish being called a “tightwad!”

There is a lot of information available on this topic - go to your internet and search “Affluenza or “Voluntary Simplicity” and get started.

Robbie Berg, Vicky Cliborne, Nancy LaPradd, JoEllen Schulz, Brenda Seiffert, Laurie Solomon, Anita Yard



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