Frugality vs Consumption

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Vancouver Community Garden

Vancouver Community Garden

Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.” 

Elise Boulding

Elise Boulding, a Quaker sociologist, scholar and activist, had a bold and ambitious goal to reinvent the international “global culture” by introducing a holistic, multidimensional approach to the peace process. She believed that we must turn away from consumerism and concentrate our energies on building educational communities that encourage creative and intuitive learning.   Our perilously divided world requires imaginative solutions.

Frugality is a desired state because it allows us to pursue ideas and outcomes that give life meaning.

28 thoughts on “Frugality vs Consumption

  1. Frugality … Learn a new word everyday! Elise Boulding’s idea is very interesting and important.

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    • Thank you so very much for joining the dialogue – I really appreciate your comments and visit. I am just beginning to understand the significance of “frugality.” My grandparents and parents were much more knowledgeable on the subject. I agree Elise Boulding had some very innovative ideas, most of which were basic common sense. But then I have learned that common sense is not that common! We think answers are found in complexity; most times, it is the simple thoughts that give us the greatest outcomes.

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  2. I love ‘the happiness of not having things’ – there is nothing like the feeling of a) having a good old clear out and taking nice quality things to charity shops where you know they can make good use of them and b) not buying something in the first place and finding when you get home that yes, you made the right choice (although perhaps not that great if the reason is because you already have two!!!).

    More seriously, definitely better to focus on the quality of being than having.

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    • Over the past year, I have culled and purged my closets, books, kitchen cupboards. I realized that I had too much “stuff” that I didn’t need or use. You are right – I feel fantastic. Buying becomes a habit, especially in our throw-away society. Ellen Ruppel Shell agrees with your thoughts on quality. She writes, “Cheap objects resist involvement. We tend to invest less in their purchase, care, and maintenance, and that’s part of what makes them so attractive.” Your comments give me a lot to think about!!!

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  3. Beautiful nasturtiums; plants that I associate with frugality and simplicity and yet they are bounteous and exuberant and abundant. I believe they give more to the nutrition of the soil than they take out.

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    • Vancouver has a considerable amount of rain. When other flowers droop under the weight of the rain, nasturtiums seem to stand even taller. I found a quote by Audrey Hepburn on nasturtiums: “I love the close up of a nasturtium, they also taste good in a salad. This is the first year that I have grown this dark color flower. Usually they are orange and yellow. I love the end of this saying….for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

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  4. What so beautiful flowers they are. I wish I cud have one in my garden. Another wonderful quote. Thank you so much for sharing.

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    • And thank you so much for stopping by!! We live close to a community garden which I visit quite often. Community gardens are springing up all over Vancouver and it seems like there is one on every street. These gardens are generating a considerable amount of food. In some areas, people are turning their lawns into food-producing gardens. It is really exciting to see! I always look forward to your visits and comments.

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      • It sounds great, Rebecca. Our community garden are also a combination between fruiting trees and flowers, some are vegetable with flowers and herbal plants. 🙂

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      • I think that community gardens will become more and more important as we look for ways to produce food on our planet. In our front entrance, some of my neighbors have planted a herbal garden. Every time I go by, I smell the mint leaves.

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  5. Hi Rebecca
    This couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for me!! Serendipity or what??
    I’m going to link to you from the latest soulsnet post which is about a poverty mentality, guilty as charged, I’m afraid.

    I’m not sure I can say great minds think alike, but we’re certainly on the same wave-length!

    Love Corinne

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    • I love that we are on the same wavelength. It gives me hope that we are reaching a tipping point!!! Thank you for your comments – they are very much appreciated.

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  6. Thank you for your thoughts, I like those ideas in your post, I think it is a good life attitude to become a responsible world citizen in not wasting world’s resources unnecessarily (there are many people who are underprivileged and are constantly deprived of basic living materials), “things” for me are like salty water, the more I drink the more I feel thirsty.

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    • I am so glad that you joined the discussion. I especially liked the term “world citizen.” We only have one earth, and many believe that it will continue to sustain our first world lifestyles indefinitely. How foolish. Frugality extends to water and energy usage. Thank you for your comments!!!

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  7. A Quaker sociologist, a unique combination. We would do well to study more of their outlook on life, their spirituality and their approach to community.

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    • I was surprised as well!! You are so right – Quakers are known for seeking peaceful solutions. What was especially interesting was that Elise Boulding believed that women and the family unit was key to an evolving peace process.

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    • I agree – something happened to moderation. It seems that in our desire to experience life in the fullest sense, we have come to think that excess it the way to “feel alive.”

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