Act: Inspiration

Words for Awakening: Voices of Inspired Revolt

June 5, 2017

Over the last few months I have been working with my co-director of the Simplicity Institute, Simon Ussher, collecting together provocative and inspiring quotes and excerpts from our favourite thinkers and writers, related to the themes of simple living, frugal abundance, money and wealth, crisis, mindfulness, nature mysticism and sacred activism. In our new book, Words for Awakening: Voices of Inspired Revolt, each of these quotes have been placed over beautiful photos taken by Jordan Osmond of Happen Films (co-producer of A Simpler Way). We have posted the brief preface to the book below and the book is available here. It would make for a great gift, one that could subtly expose people to new ways of thinking and being. All proceeds go toward supporting Simplicity Institute projects. Thanks for your support.


“In quoting others, we cite ourselves.” – Julio Cortázar

In any moment, there exists a discrepancy between what we believe and what we can articulate; a discrepancy composed of intuitions and incoherent fragments of thought, swirling in some semiconscious recess of the mind. It is into this space that an apt quote may step, or as the case may be, stomp.

The quote may find in us an immediate recognition; a sense that we have somehow felt and believed this thing for ourselves already; a salience of concept or sentiment so compelling it feels as if we wrote it ourselves. Indeed, we may find the quote so immediately agreeable that we subsequently repeat it, naturally forgetting that it had not always been ours alone.

The quote may come as a spark to the tinder of fertile minds, lighting a flame that spreads from one to another, just as a crowd may light their candles by sharing but one. The seemingly sudden eruption, born in truth, of simply bringing clarity of thought to a long simmering sentiment, reveals just how much power there can be in words.

The quote may provide an emblem, linking minds in communion around common beliefs, and drawing into community others who recognise their value. These powerful words provide a pithy embodiment of more complex ideas and thus become symbolic of concepts much greater than those contained immediately therein.

In these ways and more, we hope this book may serve you and those around you. Ponder these quotes, discuss them, share them and above all, let them move you to live the life you have imagined.

The book is available here.

Samuel Alexander

Over the last ten years Dr Samuel Alexander has been a lecturer and researcher at the University of Melbourne, Australia, teaching a course called ‘Consumerism and the Growth Economy: Critical Interdisciplinary Perspectives’ as part of the Master of Environment. He has also been a Research Fellow with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute and is currently co-Director of the Simplicity Institute. Alexander’s interdisciplinary research focuses on degrowth, permaculture, voluntary simplicity, ‘grassroots’ theories of transition, and the relationship between culture and political economy. His current research is exploring the aesthetics of degrowth and energy descent futures. His books include Degrowth in the Suburbs: A Radical Urban Imaginary (2019, co-authored with Brendan Gleeson); Carbon Civilisation and the Energy Descent Future (2018, co-authored with Josh Floyd); Art Against Empire: Toward an Aesthetics of Degrowth (2017); Just Enough is Plenty: Thoreau’s Alternative Economics (2016); Deface the Currency: The Lost Dialogues of Diogenes (2016); Prosperous Descent: Crisis as Opportunity in an Age of Limits (2015); Sufficiency Economy: Enough, for Everyone, Forever (2015); and Entropia: Life Beyond Industrial Civilisation (2013); he is also editor of Voluntary Simplicity: The Poetic Alternative to Consumer Culture (2009) and co-editor of Simple Living in History: Pioneers of the Deep Future (2014). In 2016 he also released a documentary called A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity, co-produced with Jordan Osmond of Happen Films. Alexander blogs at

Tags: inspiration, social movements