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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Minimalism Quotations ... Through the Centuries | Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist

I write a lot in my blog about using plain language--or clear, concise writing--to capture and keep the attention and interest of readers, to aid their understanding and use of things they read.

That advocacy parallels my growing interest in living simply--or following the principles of minimalism, as Becker and some other folks call it. Voluntary simplicity has become more appealing to me as I've approached and entered my semi-retirement years. I just don't want or need so much stuff--be it things in my house or things in my mind. But I'm still learning these principles.

These quotations substantiate that living simply isn't just a modern trend. Most, obviously, apply to how we live and think, but some also can apply to how we communicate. We can unclutter things we write as we unclutter our homes and offices.

Becker introduces the list:

Voluntary simplicity (and/or minimalism) is certainly not new. In fact, it has been practiced and encouraged for thousands of years… literally. Just consider the following men and women who have advocated for a lifestyle of minimalism. (To place emphasis on the history of the movement, they have been arranged chronologically by author’s birth year).
The most recent quotation is by author Sandra Cisneros, born in 1954:
But I deal with this by meditating and by understanding I've been put on the planet to serve humanity. I have to remind myself to live simply and not overindulge, which is a constant battle in a material world.
The oldest is by Buddha, 563 BCE:

To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.
Here's a somewhat similar list of mine, mostly about writing and communication: Words of Wisdom in Garbl's Concise Writing Guide. Its introductory quotation, by Richard Lederer and Richards Dowis from Sleeping Dogs Don't Lay:
Contrary to what some people seem to believe, simple writing is not the product of simple minds. A simple, unpretentious style has both grace and power. By not calling attention to itself, it allows the reader to focus on the message.
Becker's article is featured today, Feb. 5, in my daily online paper, Garbl's Simple Dreams, available at the Simplicity tab above and by free email subscription.

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