Though Daoist sagacity is, to my thinking, only an ideal, still it can be incrementally approximated. Among the attributes of a sage are those which embody the attitudes and behaviors that allow for world-flourishing.

I have already mentioned simplicity as one of these attributes. The root of true simplicity lays in the eradication of the self-reifying project. Wanting to “be somebody”, we are further motivated to acquire the accoutrements of perceived “success”. This equates to the pursuit of “fame” (name—self- and other-perceived) through the accumulation of wealth and power and the conspicuous consumption that are their proof.

The sage, having lost her “me”, has no-fixed-identity and thus no self that requires external support. She depends on nothing for her sense of self-worth. She is self-so, and free to wander in her selfhood while allowing others to do the same. She has abandoned the zero-sum game; her self-worth does not require the diminishment of the worth of others, human or otherwise.

Ideally, simplicity need not be practiced; it organically arises; it happens. In the real world, however, practice is necessary. We can practice simplicity as a work of self-cultivation and simultaneously lower our impact on the biosphere.

Revolutionary societal change requires a movement, and a movement requires individuals. In the end, it is individual transformation—yours and mine—that will bring about change.

Is a revolution necessary? Given the late hour and the geometrical expansion of the effects of our chronic world destruction, it would seem so. Yet still we dally.

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