Simple living

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Simple Living ("Self-Sufficiency") was advocated by Epicurus in conjunction with his doctrine of desires: the natural and necessary desires, argued Epicurus, are easy enough to satisfy with readily available resources. Simple living habits, therefore, predispose us towards securing ataraxia, the ultimate goal of Epicurean ethics. This ideal is aptly summarized in Vatican Saying 77. On the contrary, one forgoes self-sufficiency when one craves unnecessary desiderata.

Epicurus further enhanced his point by suggesting that, should an occasional luxury become available, there is nothing wrong with indulging in it, as long as one does not view one's happiness as contingent on such luxuries. Thus, while distancing himself from ascetic ideals, he placed luxury on an intuitively acceptable, yet subordinate level to self-sufficiency.

One Epicurean motto that resonates meaningfully across the centuries is the notion that "luxury is best appreciated by those who do not need it". This also connects seamlessly with the Stoic motto "He is always poor, who thinks himself so".

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