Optimisation: the art of personal sufficiency, John Naish, author of Enough: breaking free from the world of excess


In the modern developed world, the vast majority of us can be supplied with the things we need as a basis for living contented and fulfilled lives, such as food, heating, healthcare, safe transport and security. But our society tells us that we should always pursue ‘more’ – whether it be more money, possessions, choices, work or growth… and ultimately more of a commodity called ‘happiness’. But this approach is increasingly backfiring, with the Western world now suffering growing epidemics of depression, stress and anxiety – along with a range of stress-related physical diseases such as cardiovascular disease. This population-wide pursuit of ‘always more’ has also set consumer culture on a collision course with ecological collapse. Thus, our constant striving appears to makes us increasingly miserable as well as physically endangered (see de Graaf 2005).

Click for pdf download of the full chapter 'Optimisation' from the Handbook for Sustainability Literacy