LESS FOR LENT: GIVE UP CAPITALISM FOR 40 DAYS

“We have more toys, gadgets and distractions than ever before, but it doesn’t seem to be making us happier, less anxious or more secure. With LESS for LENT we’re inviting people on a journey with us to explore why this is happening, uncover the true costs of our current way of life, and discover that Together, We Are Enough”

Luke Devlin

Capitalism is based on the belief that the best way to organise the economy is by giving us what we want, all of the time.  We are addicted to capitalism because we are blinded by the illusion that we can satiate our desires by consuming more.

The thing is, more will never be enough.

The capitalist free market is driven by producers competing with each other to meet the never-ending desires of its consumers. This relentless desire is not a natural human impulse: demand is manufactured by making us feel a sense of lack. We are trapped by an incomplete satisfaction that relentlessly compels us after more, the new, the better –  sold to us via mass advertising and a relentless daily transmission of algorithmically-driven distractions, attractions and personally-tailored ads ‘just for you.’

We must break this addiction. 

Capitalism and endless growth creates vast inequalities, props up authoritarian regimes across the globe and – through the processes of exploitation, accumulation and extraction – is the direct cause of ecological breakdown and climate crisis. 

What if there is a different way of thinking about and acting on your desires and impulses?

What if there was a way of living that resisted the ability of the capitalist system to manipulate your behaviour and decisions, that made you feel more free, more connected to what really matters? What if there was a different path that you could journey on, with other people that feel the same, to build life ways that can help our mutual survival, and help us to resist the myth of perpetual growth?

#LESSforLENT invites us to divest ourselves of our addiction to capitalist consumerism, help us rediscover enjoyment as we actually experience it and ask,  what really sustains? What really matters?

Is Less for Lent Religious?

Enough’s #LESSforLENT is not conceived of as a religious act, but neither is it wholly secular. While Lent is understood as a Christian period of reflection where it is customary to give up luxuries, the roots of Lent reach far back in time. Lent traditionally falls in the season of the year known as the ‘the hungry gap’ where, historically, food and resources were difficult to come by. The English word ‘Lent’ comes from the Old English word lencten, meaning ‘spring season.’ Spring is a time of new energy, shift, renewal and transformation.

LESS, in this context, can be understood to stand for LESS ENERGY, STUFF and STIMULATION. Consciously and intentionally decreasing our consumption helps us to reduce our reliance on unsustainable and unjust systems and increases our ability to participate in alternatives to capitalism.

How Do We Take Part?

You are welcome to engage with #LESSforLENT however you wish, on your own terms.

Lent this year begins on Wednesday 26th February and ends at Easter. We invite you to take concrete actions together for 40 days: 

  • Abstain from non-essential material purchases
  • Fast from non-essential use of digital devices, or a full digital detox
  • Take up a regular creative practice
  • Read, learn, explore, discuss and build alternatives together

We also invite you to start your own weekly group meeting (online or in-person) for discussion of readings and taking part in transformative practices, and suggest culminating in a communal shared celebration feast on Easter Sunday, 12th April 2020.

If you would like to receive weekly updates on the material, additional accompaniment, and (optionally) be put in touch with others in your area to form an in-person group, you can sign up for free here:

LESS for Lent registration

You can join the Facebook Event page here:

FACEBOOK EVENT

We recognise the predicament of using social media and technology to promote our critique of it: this is an example of how, as consumers, we are all complicit in and benefit from the system. The fact is, corporate social media has become one of the main ways people communicate with each other – and we need to be in that conversation to have an impact.

#LESSforLENT Weekly learnings

Week 4-6: Energy & Critical Infrastructure Download

 Week 7: Who We Are Now: New Possibilities  Download

Starter Resources:
Why we need to value our low-carbon pastimes more
The hidden cost of our digital habits and easy ways to reduce our impact
Why Amazon knows so much about you
The Most Radical Thing You Can Do
On Capitalist Realism

Week 1 Readings:
Human Scale Development: Manfred Max-Neef
Marie Kondo and the Anthropocene – Mike Small 
All About Me: How mindfulness became the new capitalist spirituality – Ron Purser
Sara Ahmed on Audre Lorde’s Self Care as a Radical Act

Week 2 Readings:

I Used to Be a Human Being – Andrew Sullivan 
Thinking Outside the Black Box – What the algorithms can’t see may be the most human thing about us – Douglas Rushkoff 
Dopamine, Smartphones and You: A battle for your time – Trevor Haynes
Center for Humane Technology – tools to take control of your phone

Week 3 Readings:

F-Droid – Free and Open Source Android App Repository- free software for your phone
https://ubuntu.com/community/mission – Ubuntu
Linux – free software alternative to Windows

Free Software Directory searchable directory of over 15k free software packages
Coronavirus Tech Handbook: Home A crowdsourced set of tech, tools and data relating to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Self-Repair Manifesto Repair Manifesto 
“My Tin Shed Technosphere” Carina Davies  
‘Tools for Conviviality’ Ivan Illich 

Week 4-6 Readings:

Imagining a post-oil Scotland​- Mike Small
Resilience maps- Simple Critical Infrastructure Maps​- Vinay Gupta and Lucas Gonzalez
Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air​- David MacKay
Regenerative- not merely sustainable- resilience ​ – David Rhodes
When the Ferries Fail to Sail​- Lauren Eden and Alastair McIntosh

Week 7 Readings:

Degrowth Media Library
’Degrowth and our Post-Covid Future’​ by Mike Small
“Wachstumsrücknahme”, “Postwachstum”, “Entwachsen”? An introduction to concepts and
approaches of the German degrowth movement​ by Matthias Schmelzer

Degrowth: from theory to practice​ by Filka Sekulova et al.




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