We should remain within the limits imposed by our basic needs and strive with all our power not to exceed them. For once we are carried a little beyond these limits in our desire for the pleasures of life, there is then no criterion by which to check our onward movement, since no bounds can be set to that which exceeds the necessary.
– Fifth-century monk Nilus of Ancyra
I am regularly inspired by the thoughts of “ancient” folks.
I remember being humbled in a grade 11 English class when my teacher posed the question of whether we thought of ourselves as more intelligent or knowledgeable than people in ages past. We have different knowledge, not a greater knowledge.
Nilus here is talking about living simply. Something that is often thought of as faddish. But it is something that I strive for. I like his observation that there is no way to gauge excessiveness — anything beyond the limits of our basic needs is excessive.