Simplicity IV

Many people balk at asceticism because the term suggests a kind of lofty or artificial morality or prudishness. The idea of simplicity, it might be argued, does not reduce or suppress the quality of life that asceticism implies. While the Greek root of asceticism, asketikos, suggests a labor and discipline that is the opposite of advocacy of pleasure (hedonism) it is not exactly synonymous with simplicity. Pleasure itself has been identified too often with sexual pleasure and indulgence but not with the power to abuse, whether institutional or individual. Similarly, simplicity seems to more readily identify with the aesthetics of nature, creativity, or what Ivan Ilich calls “conviviality.”
A clear vision of simplicity attempts to ease the heavy psychological implications for those who distrust the history of asceticism, while at the same time using the labors and disciplines of past sages to help stop the spread of hedonism’s modern and global guises.