Tune In, Plug In, Drop Out
While consumerism runs rampant and companies produce a constant stream of new widgets to tempt potential buyers, a small but growing number of American high-tech workers are adopting “voluntary simplicity” and committing to uncluttering and focusing their lives. For some, like Catherine Harper, a self-described “geek for hire,” this means growing their own food, spinning their own cloth, and making their own clothes. Adherents to the simplicity movement don’t necessarily unplug from the world of computers and the Internet, but they cut down on their consumption of unneeded electronics and other products, and they make deliberate decisions to spend more time in their homes and with their families and less time in the office. The Trends Research Institute in Rhinebeck, N.Y., has predicted that by 2005, at least 15 percent of the developed world will be practicing voluntary simplicity in some form.