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 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Simplicity

Simplicity and harmony are the ultimate conditions to be attained in all things. ~Horace Fletcher, Menticulture, 1895

I will bring the health of simplicity to my burdened soul and days. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: LVIII," A Soul's Faring, 1921

Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough. ~Charles Dudley Warner, "Simplicity," 1889

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail... Simplify, simplify. ~Henry David Thoreau

Everything we possess that is not necessary for life or happiness becomes a burden, and scarcely a day passes that we do not add to it. ~Robert Brault,

I am bound to praise the simple life, because I have lived it and found it good. When I depart from it evil results follow. I love a small house, plain clothes, simple living. Many persons know the luxury of a skin bath — a plunge in the pool or the wave unhampered by clothing. That is the simple life — direct and immediate contact with things, life with the false wrappings torn away — the fine house, the fine equipage, the expensive habits, all cut off. How free one feels, how good the elements taste, how close one gets to them, how they fit one's body and one's soul! To see the fire that warms you, or better yet, to cut the wood that feeds the fire that warms you; to see the spring where the water bubbles up that slakes your thirst, and to dip your pail into it... to be in direct and personal contact with the sources of your material life; to want no extras, no shields; to find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk, or an evening saunter; to find a quest of wild berries more satisfying than a gift of tropic fruit; to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest, or over a wild flower in spring — there are some of the rewards of the simple life. ~John Burroughs, "What Life Means to Me," 1906

And after all, the wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials, in reducing the problems of philosophy to just a few — the enjoyment of the home... of living... of Nature... ~Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living, 1937

Material blessings, when they pass beyond the category of need, are weirdly fruitful of headache. ~Philip Wylie, as quoted in Herbert V. Prochnow, Speaker's Handbook of Epigrams and Witticisms, 1955

It is a long way back, a long way back, to simplicity, back to the vision with the sun shining upon it, back to my simple soul. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of Longing," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923

More good has been accomplished by simple people seeking their own honest ends than by all the philanthropists in history. ~Robert Brault,

People overestimate the pleasure they'll get from having more stuff. This does not apply to new rose bushes, crayons, or yarn stashes. ~Dr. SunWolf,

Most of us, in all conditions, are weighted down with superfluities or worried to acquire them. ~Charles Dudley Warner, "Simplicity," 1889

If all would cease to gratify their Greeds,
But few would fail to satisfy their Needs.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Greed," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

It would add very much to the pleasure of life and to its sanctity if we cultivated the habit of seeing what is beautiful and divine in ordinary things, though this is not easy, because our natural tendency is to think and talk most of what is extraordinary. Let there come a vivid flash of lightning, followed instantly by the roll of thunder and the crashing of hail, and we are deeply impressed by it; but how few of us comparatively think of God's goodness in the deep serene calmness of an autumn day, when the leaves, beautiful even in death, drop one by one under the splendours of the cloudy sky. ~Alfred Rowland, "The Clouds: God's Angels of the Sea," in The Sunday Magazine (London), 1884

Simplicity is not ugliness, nor poverty, nor barrenness, nor necessarily plainness. What is simplicity for another may not be for you, for your condition, your tastes, especially for your wants. It is a personal question. ~Charles Dudley Warner, "Simplicity," 1889

We are getting a fine lot of complicated books on the simple life. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

The question to ask of any day is, "Did I make some complicated thing simple — or did I make some simple thing complicated?" ~Robert Brault,

The goal of life: simple but not empty. ~Terri Guillemets

We say we have to work so hard in in order to get so little in life. That little may be more than we need. Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves. ~Edwin Way Teale

Happiness is an occasional brief glance into how simple it all can be. ~Robert Brault,

The simple joy of having just enough. ~Dr. SunWolf, 2015 tweet,

Don't feel guilty about saying no to the nonessentials in life! —
simplicity is
saying yes to joy
by saying no to
~Terri Guillemets

That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest. ~Henry David Thoreau

Savi, while meditating:  I'm multitasking.
Josslyn:  Multitasking sort of flies in the face of achieving inner peace, no?
~Mistresses, "Rebuild," 2014, written by Rina Mimoun  [S2, E1]

What a unique treasure are the things we have learned to live without, for no thief can take them from us. ~Robert Brault,

I am only reminded that this is an enormously wealthy and varied nation, yet also an insensitive and cruel and deadening one, and that to strive for recognition or wealth within it is a disquieting, unceasing labor that will not bring the best out of any man or woman. Better perhaps to seek the contentment of more humble work within the belly of the beast, to inhabit the Pascalian room, to chop your wood, haul your water; better perhaps to stay at home and grow your patch of garlic, and to dream in winter your subterranean dreams, which are always the same: of light, of warmth, and of liberation. ~Stanley Crawford, A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm, 1992

The greatest truths are the simplest: so likewise are the greatest men. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

Man's mind widens, and his knowledge grows, because his needs increase, or, rather, because he becomes conscious of more needs, which keep welling up out of the great deep of his nature. Let us put side by side in our thought the first house and the last house man has built. The first house: a stick in the ground, a beast's skin arranged about it — and there is the savage wigwam, affording some shelter from the sun and storm, some protection from foes, a place to sleep and to live. That is the first issue of the house-type which came up out of the heart's demand for shelter. The last house: it has walls, roof, door — the essential things which the primitive hut had; but it has many things which the hut had not. It has a system of heating and ventilation... pluming and drainage... Its walls have taken on quiet and harmonious tones. In its rooms are placed works of art, books, souvenirs of friendship or of travel. Draperies, rugs, chairs, tables, furnishings — all must harmonize and help to make up this poem which you call your house. And to what end? In order that you may get in out of the cold and the wet? Yes, that primarily. But into this primitive impulse and stimulus have played a hundred others which have grown up with the growth of man. Yet every addition has been made in response to some new desire which has become active and controlling, and has taken its place as the stimulus of some new need. Through the entire process the mind continues to be the servant of man, toiling in homespun and working overtime, in order to interpret and satisfy these wants, desires, and feelings as they arise out of the great deep of life. ~Frederic Eli Dewhurst (1855–1906), "Out of the Heart are the Issues of Life"

Enjoy simple things with total intensity.
Just a cup of tea can be a deep meditation.

In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. ~Henry David Thoreau

Can it be that the simple-life craze has already joined the ash-heap of discarded luxuries? ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed — it is a process of elimination. ~Elbert Hubbard

Be a stone spiral staircase in a world full of escalators. ~Keith Wynn, @ravens_rhapsody

I'm just a simple guy
I live from day to day
A ray of sunshine melts my frown
And blows my blues away...
~Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Bonham, "Out on the Tiles," Led Zeppelin III, 1970 ♫

I've adjectived up my life so much I forgot how to be simple and plain and quiet. Be. Just be. ~Terri Guillemets, "Verb life," 2010

Every human being has a right to whatever can best feed his life, satisfy his legitimate desires, contribute to the growth of his soul. It is not for me to judge whether this is luxury or want. ~Charles Dudley Warner, "Simplicity," 1889

In the country sometimes I go about looking at horses and cattle. They eat grass, make love, work when they have to, bear their young. I am sick with envy of them. ~Sherwood Anderson

...the height of sophistication is simplicity. ~Ann Clare Boothe

Life is amazingly good when it's simple and amazingly simple when it's good. ~Terri Guillemets

The waste of life occasioned by trying to do too many things at once is appalling. No one is large enough to be split up into many parts; and the sooner a man can stamp this truth upon his mind, the better his chances for being a profitable member of society. ~Orison Swett Marden

The best things in life are not only free, but the line is shorter. ~Robert Brault,

Prayer of the day: God, let the people of the world understand how they can embrace simplicity to save their lives. ~Terri Guillemets

To poke a wood fire is more solid enjoyment than almost anything else in the world. ~Charles Dudley Warner, Backlog Studies, 1873

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published 2000 Dec 23
revised 2021 Sep 25
last saved 2022 Aug 20