The Joy of Less


“The beat of my heart has grown deeper,

more active, and yet more peaceful,

and it is as if

I were all the time storing up inner riches…

My [life] is one long sequence of inner miracles.”


The young Dutchwoman Etty Hillesum
wrote that in a Nazi transit camp in 1943,
on her way to her death at Auschwitz
two months later.



Pico Iyer writing for the NY Times contemplates happiness as he sees it. Not as a pursuit, but a place of the mind:

I … live in the vicinity of Kyoto, in a two-room apartment …
I have no bicycle, no car, no television I can understand,
no media — and the days seem to stretch into eternities,
and I can’t think of a single thing I lack.


NY Times




~ by eaesthete on 06/10/09.

2 Responses to “The Joy of Less”

  1. Everything about this piece is exceptional. I sometimes wonder what has happened to simple appreciation. Why is enough never enough?

    • I loved this article as well. And it reminded me of something I copied into a journal recently.

      It was a little story in Atlantic that was part of a larger article
      on what I know not. But I thought it a perfect illustration of what one might
      call having a ‘Hopeful Temperament.’ Or as here, ‘The Joy of Less.”

      The story went like this:

      On Christmas eve a father puts into one son’s stocking
      a fine gold watch, and into another son’s, a pile of horse manure.
      The next morning, the first boy comes to his father and says glumly,
      “Dad, I just don’t know what I’ll do with this watch. It’s so fragile.
      It could break.”

      The other boy runs to him and says “Daddy! Daddy!
      Santa left me a pony, if only I can just find it.”

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