Life Standard #5: Non-Conform Freely
Posted June 11, 2013on:
The Five Life Standards, the essence of voluntary simplicity, are detailed in Doris Janzen Longacre’s classic book, Living More with Less (now available in a 30th Anniversary edition):
- Do Justice
- Learn from the World Community
- Nurture People, Not Things
- Cherish the Natural Order
- Nonconform Freely
Free support materials for Living More with Less: blogs, video, audio, text, podcasts, etc.
Life Standard #5: Nonconform Freely
We are not talking anarchy here. We are resisting the pressures created primarily by advertising.
The forces against us living more simply are extremely powerful and devious. Some of them are quiet, unwritten… like how we dress in church, how our house will look at Christmas time. But many of them are loud, in-your-face forces that work to get as deeply into your pocketbook as possible everyday.
We all have basic physical needs… for food, for shelter, for community. It’s helpful to have information about where we can meet those needs. That’s one reason for advertising. What’s objectionable is advertising that creates false needs, really wants or desires…when advertisers play with our heads, trying to get us to think that we will be better people by the beverage we drink, that we will be sexier if we buy a certain kind of car, that we will be more popular or successful if we wear certain kinds of clothes or perfume.
When I’m watching TV, I ZAP the commercials… mute the sound. Are aggressive car and soda pop commercials the price of admission? That’s exactly what the advertisers want us to think. But the air waves belong to the people. We owe advertisers nothing! (Remember Screen Free Week in April from Commercial Free Childhood – formerly Turn Off TV Week – and Buy Nothing Day, Friday, November 29. Yes, that’s the day after Thanksgiving!)
Sioux City is a nice place to raise a family. This past summer a billboard selling sun tan lotion showed three young, attractive people. They happened to be naked. It was no big deal. There was no outcry. Just another billboard selling something. At the same time a group in Des Moines was working to promote breast feeding. They were turned down from buying billboard space because their subject was TOO OFFENSIVE!
In the name of “research,” some advertisers — without your permission, even without your knowledge — place cameras in grocery stores to photograph your eyes as you shop. When you are looking at cereal, for example, the cameras record your reaction to various boxes and even count the length of time you focus on each box. This “research” helps advertisers to decide what appeals to you.
We have permission to follow our religious principles, our faith, instead of our culture, instead of advertisers who pressure us to buy things we don’t need, probably don’t even want, and that break down on schedule. Nonconform Freely.
(Also see May 12, “Phony Alert!”)
Simple Living and the Five Life Standards on The Common Good Podcast
In episode 27 of The Common Good Podcast, Lee Van Ham and I find common ground in the micro-economics of voluntary simple living and the macro of Jubilee Economics. It goes way beyond “class warfare” in America to global fairness… seeing the interconnection of our small choices and purchases to the larger systems of governments and corporations. Everything’s connected.