February 16, 2010

Working on the Minimalist Philosophy

Buona sera. As you know, I've been examining minimalism. It turns out that there are several sites devoted to discussing the subject. Some writers have made statements that made me uncomfortable. I began to wonder, "Am I getting into something that looks good on the surface, but is a plank in a platform that I cannot sanction?" Not really.


The philosophy of minimalism is disparate. One writer seemed to advocate something resembling communism, where everyone shares what they have, and nobody owns anything. Ummmm....yeah.Who regulates? Well, there is no overseer. Oh, I get it: anarchy. That may be your goal, Poindexter, but you're probably alone in that (people are selfish at heart, you see). Another advocates "social change through minimalism". That won't happen, Cupcake. You need some kind of uniform code and many like-minded people.

A third writer on minimalism is a Christian. He finds that the philosophy fits in with Christian values. I have stated that clinging to stuff is contrary to the teachings of both God and Buddha. Just own what you really need, the rest is distraction.

One guy is pretty extreme: Quit your job and have everything you own in your backpack. No thanks, Bubbles. I need some things to be able to function, and I need my job to pay bills and honor my commitments. But you go right ahead, let me know how that works for you. I would love to know where you stand on this in five or ten years.

Going the minimalist route is great for the youthful nonconformist, that is certain. This from "The Prisoner" (the good series, not the 2009 drivel) comes to mind: "...youth with its enthusiasm, which rebels against any accepted norm because it must..." As I got older, I realized that this was true, youth rebels because it is part of the nature of youth. Anti-establishment, rock and roll and all that (except that the "values" of rock and roll today have become the "establishment" that was the target of rebellion). I know what it's like to be caught up in some kind of idealism. After learning and experiencing life more, the idealism has to change and deal with reality. Rebelling in a minimalist direction can be a good thing because you will not be as inclined to be like some people that I know, who love things and use people.

So, what is minimalism? The core philosophy is simply to own and use as little as possible so you have time and money for what matters most in your life. After that, it means different things to different people. Personally, I am very interested in going one notch above minimalism: Simplifying. Get rid of clutter, unneedful things, distractions. This would fit in very well with many philosophies (with the probable exception of hedonism). I don't care what you believe, as long as you're not a drain on society.

If you're interested in my links on personal productivity, simplifying and minimalism, click here. Note that workplace firewalls may block you simply because the page is at Angelfire. Try again at home. It's simple.

Next: You might be glad to have minimalists around in this extreme "what if..." scenario.
A little while before: Does "minimalist" government exist?

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