Did you ever read ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books in school?
For those that aren’t familiar with the concept, they were books where you got to decide what happened to the characters by selecting which path they would take and turning to the corresponding page. How exciting it was to determine the way that the story would end, I know I used to flick back and forth changing the paths I took and seeing the outcome of my decision.
What if your life was a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ story, and that the decisions you make this very moment could indeed affect the way the future is shaped? What if you were in control of your own destiny?
Duane Elgin, author of Voluntary Simplicity, suggests we are the markers of our destiny, and the shapers of the future. That the decisions we make now are going to make or break the cycles of environmental degradation that are prevalent in todays society. He suggests that by making an active choice to simplify your life, reducing your demand for consumption, that others will be able to simply live.
Voluntary Simplicity is a raw vegan chocolate layer cake of ideas. Its light and fluffy and easy to digest, but there is a complexity of flavours and each chapter builds on the last to get you appreciating the palatability of the whole book. Elgin initially published Voluntary Simplicity in the hedonistic 1980’s (1981 to be precise), at a time when power shoulders prevailed and people were living in the fast lane. Elgin admits that the book was ahead of its time in the release of the second edition noting that it was more relevant now (in the wake of mass extinctions, peak oil and the recession), than it ever had been before.
The book introduces the reader to the state of the environment and our effects on it; delves into Elgins work studying voluntary simplicity in the 1970s, explains the concepts behind the book title, why we need to take a step back from our consumeristic ways, and how we can live in a green world. Essentially the crux of the book from both Elgin’s early studies, and more recent ventures/examples of simplistic ways of living is that there is no correct formula for getting it right. Saving the world, in essence is a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ story. If you are looking for a step by step guide to right your environmental wrongs, then this is not the book for you, if you wish to be inspired beyond your wildest dreams, pick yourself up a copy.
I ate this book up as quickly as I would that raw vegan chocolate layer cake (starting to feel hungry now). It found its way to me through the Affluenza book I last reviewed, and I am a firm believer that the right literature find you at the right time (I found my copy of the book The Secret waiting for me in the middle of a footpath, freaky hey). It has been difficult cutting back on paid work in order to pursue this blog and other ventures in my life, and sometimes it is frustrating when I’m flat broke a week before pay day. Elgin’s Voluntary Simplicity made me see the light at the end of the tunnel and I couldn’t be happier taking a step back to offer myself to the cause of bettering the world we all share.