I have finally found a synonym for my embryonic philosophy tha I’ve been calling “The Art of Not Wanting.” Akin to Hindu and Buddhist ideals (where desire brings about suffering),voluntary simplicity is a lifestyle that eschews the excesses of the modern and post-modern era. It has significant bearing on the contemporary environmentalist movement as well as with its intersection with Neomarxism.
But the quote that struck me was how an Amazon reviewer of the book describing this kind of lifestyle stated that “using a public hospital” was among their list of things that would not be considered “viable stylishness.”
First of all, yeah, maybe this kind of lifestyle is impossible for the late 20-something/early 30-something white hipster living in the sophisticated metropolis to contemplate, but even people-of-color who grew up in upper middle class families are familiar with the concepts of being thrifty, simply from hearing stories of their forebears. While I personally don’t know the feeling of abject poverty, my immigrant parents certainly do, and the way they live their lives reflect this, non-withstanding the (now) dual six-figure incomes.
Secondly, probably 90% of the world lives relatively cheaply with at least some style; this kind of comment is, sadly, symptomatic of colonialist elitism.
Thirdly, unless you actually work in health care, you have no idea what you’re talking about with regards to municipal hospitals. While no doubt many of them are stinking cesspools temporarily housing ne’er-do-wells with no chance of survival, pretty much all of them are teaching hospitals, often attached to some rather well known universities. While they may not always be able to afford the technological bells and whistles, they generally practice cutting-edge evidence-based medicine, something that many private practice docs working at community hospitals scoff at despite the rigorous proof that it improves outcomes and cuts costs. In medicine, newness and shinyness does not necessarily equal better health care, and it’s really disturbing that very few people outside of health care actually understand that.