“There is no such thing as self sufficiency. It is a myth – a delusion. One is either arrogant, ignorant or naïve to believe it. We are an interdependent species – dependent on others of our own plus countless other species for our existence."
“Minds are like lenses. Some have a longer focus than others but all have their good qualities. Unless a lens is polished, it can’t fulfill its potential. Then we have a good lens, polished well but not focused. Finally comes the choice of what is worth focusing on. Is it to be football, the lottery and the stock market, or – the great adventure of seeking solutions as to how best to live?"
“The right to work. All older people should be guaranteed the right to work – if they wish. A guaranteed income is important – but so is the need to be useful as long as they are able."
“The human mind has vast potential. I believe that with our minds we can muster the ability to design a culture to fit human needs."
“When we have more than we need while others are in want, we certainly thieve. But in addition, we enslave ourselves. As we learn to live with fewer and simpler things, and are able to live with fewer expenses, we become less vulnerable to social upheaval. We have greater freedom – visual, mental, and spatial – and far greater freedom of movement. And we spend less time maintaining and stumbling over things – physically, mentally and visually – and worrying about loss."
“In these days of satellites and space stations, of UFOs and tales of visitors from other planets, I find I am not very interested in who might wander in from outer space. It is the little visitors from inner space – ideas! – that interest me."
“We can view the search for a better world as exploration. We may discover that the expedition is the better world, and that our own most important discoveries will be along the lines of how to improve the expedition – how to get others to join and help in the search."
“Each time we find a way to live more simply we aid others in two ways: we use less of the world’s resources for our own lives, and we help set an example for those who are now striving to copy the affluent life of their neighbors. The greater the striving for affluence, the more wretched will be the poor and the greater will be the chasm between the haves and the have-nots. Violence will be inevitable."
“If we will listen carefully and with care to our opponents, trying to understand from where they speak, learning and movement become more possible – for both of us. If my adversaries know that I care, that I believe their troubles are my troubles, that we are one and not separate, and that I too am searching and need their perspectives, a more fertile soil for communication is produced."
“Many of the most important lessons in life can be learned but not taught. So, even though we cannot teach these experiences, we can work to create an atmosphere to encourage learning."
“It is often assumed that the chief reason for making things - furniture, clothing, toys, a garden - is to save money. There are other factors that may be of equal or greater importance: making what we need for life is a way of expressing creativity and of gaining greater confidence. Emotional security comes from providing the necessities of life in personal, meaningful ways, by our own hands or those of friends and loved ones. Another value in studying how things are made is to increase our appreciation for them as we better understand what makes them work. The knowledge that comes from shaping the things around us helps us build relationships with the world that are more intimate."
“Those who guide us, who inspire us, having gone our way before, are now partners with us in building a better world. Any success we have is theirs as well as ours. To copy or imitate them should be only the beginning--the apprentice stage of life. It is fine to think, ‘what will a Shaker do? What would Scott Nearing have said? What would Gandhi have thought?’ These are good exercises for the mind, a way of weighing ideas and contemplated actions, valuable so long as we do not follow anyone blindly."
“Only by standing on their shoulders can we build a better world, but we should use the wise as advisers, not masters.”
“Each of us tries to live in the best way we know how. I want to contribute to the problems of the world as little as possible. I really believe we must find simpler ways to live or society will collapse."
"When we merely follow another, we take a potentially creative mind out of service - our own.
“I want to live in a society where people are intoxicated with the joy of making things.”
William S. Coperthwaite