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Nearings’ Approach to Living in Society

Every person chooses his own way in the world and devotes his life to pursuing some values which are essentially important for him. Once Helen and Scott Nearing chose their path in the life and provided a new approach to the basic standards of the capitalistic world. Their way of living was considered as quite controversial, but the realization of their principles gave the birth to a new socio-philosophical back-to-the-land movement. Helen and Scott Nearing rejected the materialistic ideals which were dependent on the value of money and stated the importance of self-development, self-responsibility, the necessity of going back to the nature and following the nature’s laws as the best way to live the good life.

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What events became the turning point and gave the start for changing of Helen and Scott Nearing’s vision of the sense of life? The Great Depression appeared to be a real catastrophe for the American society of the thirties and broke the lives of millions of people. Moreover, the personal circumstances and problems in careers affected Nearings’ desire to alter the conditions of their life greatly. The peculiarities of a new style of living and the ways of realization of their principles were described in many works by Helen and Scott Nearing. The information from the books was discussed by a number of the followers of Nearings’ approach as specific instructions to pursue.

The message of Living the Good Life is in providing the public with the idea that life cannot absolutely depend on the issues of economics and political aspects, and cannot be evaluated with a definite amount of money. “Ideas of “making money” or “getting rich” have given people a perverted view of economic principles. The object of economic effort is not money, but livelihood” (McKibben 320). Nearings concentrate on the other principles which are essential for our life. They declare the peculiarities of the natural livelihood and address their visions to those people who aware of the necessity of following the laws of the nature.

In Living the Good Life Helen and Scott Nearing present a vivid picture of the reality of their life according to their developed principles. They provide rather optimistic vision of the problem and offer a detailed plan of their way of achieving the goals in simple words. Discussing the role of money in the society, Nearings give the argumentative view of this part. “People brought up in a money economy are taught to believe in the importance of getting and keeping money” (McKibben, p. 320). There exists an exact freedom and independence from the social, political and economy issues. They accept only the principle of social cooperation as the way to live in society.

Nearings’ approach to living in society is based on alternative thinking over the aspects of the economics and its role in the life. Helen and Scott Nearing offer to accentuate the meaning of different kinds of activity. They determine the process of working as one of the ruling processes for attaining life purposes. However, their notion of ‘activity’ was greatly developed.

In a word, we were trying to make a livelihood, and once our needs in this direction were covered, we turned our efforts in other directions, – toward social activities, toward avocations such as reading, writing, music making, toward repairs or replacements of our equipment (McKibben, p. 321).

Helen and Scott Nearing were working out their system of living the good life during their long experiment. This experiment became the cause for the emergence of the back-to-the-land movement. The movement based on the Nearings’ principles and the idea of living according to the nature’s rhythms and laws.

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Works Cited

McKibben, Bill, ed. American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau. USA: Library of America, 2008. Print.

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