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Quotations about Simplicity




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The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.  ~Hans Hofmann, Introduction to the Bootstrap, 1993


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


Eliminate physical clutter.  More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter.  ~D.H. Mondfleur


Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.  It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction.  ~E.F. Schumacker


Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.  ~Albert Einstein


Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.  ~Confucius


Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.  ~Author Unknown


Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying.  The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.  ~Elise Boulding


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 be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life.  ~John Burroughs


The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn't simple.  ~Doris Janzen Longacre


The best things in life are nearest:  Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you.  Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson


People love chopping wood.  In this activity one immediately sees results.  ~Albert Einstein


Maybe a person's time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to buy food.  ~Frank A. Clark


Material blessings, when they pay beyond the category of need, are weirdly fruitful of headache.  ~Philip Wylie


I like to walk about among the beautiful things that adorn the world; but private wealth I should decline, or any sort of personal possessions, because they would take away my liberty.  ~George Santayana, "The Irony of Liberalism"


Live simply that others might simply live.  ~Elizabeth Seaton


Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone.  The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.  ~Lin Yutang


As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.  ~Henry David Thoreau


Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.  ~William Morris


Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.  ~Leonardo DaVinci


Anything simple always interests me.  ~David Hockney


Our affluent society contains those of talent and insight who are driven to prefer poverty, to choose it, rather than submit to the desolation of an empty abundance.  ~Michael Harrington


How many things are there which I do not want.  ~Socrates


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


Remember that in giving any reason at all for refusing, you lay some foundation for a future request.  ~Arthur Helps, Essays Written in Intervals of Business, 1841


The true Indian sets no price upon either his property or his labor.  His generosity is limited only by his strength and ability.  He regards it as an honor to be selected for difficult or dangerous service and would think it shameful to ask for any reward, saying rather:  Let the person I serve express his thanks according to his own bringing up and his sense of honor.  ~Ohiyesa of the Santee Sioux (Charles Alexander Eastman)


Who is rich?  He who rejoices in his portion.  ~The Talmud


You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.  ~Vernon Howard


Since all the riches of this world
May be gifts from the Devil and earthly kings,
I should suspect that I worshipp'd the Devil
If I thank'd my God for worldly things.
~William Blake, Gnomic Verses


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.  ~Henry David Thoreau


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


If you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days.  ~Annie Dillard, "Seeing," Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, 1974


Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are.  When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.  ~Lao Tzu


We don't need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants.  Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.  ~Donald Horban


Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.  ~Edwin Way Teale


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


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