Simplicity Hits Silicon Valley

from the run.--away.--fast. dept

The latest ridiculous fad, “simplicity” has hit Silicon Valley. I have no problem if people want to live frugally. In fact, I think it’s a good idea. I have no problem if people want to hang out together for any reason whatsoever. However, the simple smugness of the simplicity people is really somewhat sickening. If you’re that simple then leave the rest of us alone and lead your simple lives. The whole simplicity thing feels too cult-like for me. I always find it difficult to understand why people need “groups” to support themselves for this sort of thing. Why do you need to be a part of a group to figure out how to “live simply”?

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Comments on “Simplicity Hits Silicon Valley”

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Ryan says:

No Subject Given

This article/These people talk about simplicity almost like they’re the first people ever to discover simplicity and frugality, and it’s a new concept that they’re bringing to the world.

I would never talk to a group of poor people about simplicity.

Yes, this is somewhat out of context (she’s saying that of course she only talks to middle-aged people) but why not? They’re probably the best people to learn from about simplicity – no maliciousness intended here, but I’m sure that these authors and gurus haven’t been struggling to make ends meet. I know many students who are also living way below the poverty line. I agree with Mike – this sounds cult-like to me. If these people wanted something rewarding, how about going and helping at a soup kitchen or retirement home instead of sitting in someone’s living room (in a million dollar house) talking about how great it is to sit around and relax instead of buying things or working a lot of hours? I didn’t see anyone mentioning that in the story. Probably learn a lot more about what simplicity really means there.

The glossy,10-issues-a-year magazine is chock full of advertisements for credit cards, imported vehicles and high-priced clothes.

I guess this is why I’m cynical. I can just see the Eddie Bauer ads saying, “You’ll be telling others how simple a life you’re leading with our new Simplistic line. Try our Living Easy outfit for only $350 – you’ll be screaming how simple your life is.” Cynical? Yep, you bet.

Ryan says:

Re: I wouldn't call it a cult

It just sounds like a fad to me. Cults have certain characteristics like:

  • Recruiting pressure, emphasis on attracting new members, to lessen their fear of being alone.
  • A heavy plea for donations of money and/or property.
  • A we/they mentality. All those outside the group are somehow negative or not equal; one must be a member.
  • Partial commitment or belief is not tolerated.
  • Isolation. Everything outside of the group is evil. Visualize the universe as an interconnected web of conspiracies.
  • Life Control. Almost complete or total domination of the participant’s time by the group. Little if any time is left for family, old friends, or other interests. There is often a restriction of sleep, a restricted diet, a restricted sexuality, and a requirement of endless repetition of prayers.
  • public shaming and humiliation.
  • requires personal confessions.

Without going to one of their meetings, it’s hard to know how much of this goes on. However, it’s easy to see how this could turn into a cult. They’re already close to the personal confessions, and it would be a short step from “don’t consume” to “give us your money so you don’t consume”.

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