Why Simple Living is not Poverty A Tract Book Essay By Anthony J. Fejfar, B.A., J.D., Esq.

, Coif © Copyright 2007 by Anthony J. Fejfar When a person takes a Simple Living Vow, it is not a Poverty Vow. Simple Living is an Art. Simple Living means that whenever you can, you buy and keep those goods which relate in the first instance to your basic needs. In fact, you might actually buy goods which are of a high quality, and are expensive. When one considers the needs of a person taking a Simple Living Vow, one must look to the needs of the individual person. Here, one must look to the scale of values that the person has chosen to define him or herself. For example, I have chosen as my highest values my own autonomy, my own rational self interest, my own self actualization, and my own self transcendence. Keep in mind that the foregoing values or goals are sublated and prioritized. The highest goal is not self transcendence but autonomy. Autonomy, rational self interest, and self actualization all come before self transendence and place the latter value or goal in a context. Since autonomy is my highest goal, value, and need, Simple Living means that I am entitled to goods and services which promote my autonomy. For example, my health, so that I am mobile, my transportation, that is, a car for me to drive, my living space so that I live someplace that reflects my autonomy. Since rational self interest is my second highest value or goal, and need, for purposes of Simple Living, I am required to develop rational life goals or existential

goals for myself. So, I, for example, am an author, a photographer, a lawyer, and I have been a professor, teaching. My vow of Simple Living would see all of the foregoing as

needs, as well as a need for sufficient money or credit to meet the goals of levels one and two. Keep in mind that rational self interest also includes other needs such as: food, clothing, a nice place to live, transportation, recreation, entertainment, education, etc. Since self actualization is my third highest goal, I am required to engage in self actualizing projects which support my autonomy and rational self interest. Once again, I have self actualization goals, values, and needs, relating to my writing, my photography, my lawyering, and my teaching. Finally, since self transcendence is my fourth highest goal, I am asked to develop self actualization projects which spiritually feel right to me, and which help others, or society as a whole. Since writing, photography, pro bono lawyering, and teaching, are all considered to involve higher values by society, this last goal of self transcendence is also met. Thus, it is apparent that one might own an expensive camera, or a computer, have internet use, have a private library, and live in an apartment or condominium as a single person, and this would meet the requirements of Simple Living. Keep in mind, however, that if one simply chooses food, for example, as one’s highest value, then it may well be that Simple Living will allow you food, but little more. In determining Simple Living, one’s scale of values or needs are very important.