Until last week, I don’t think I had ever heard the term “Minimalist” to describe a lifestyle. But, when I did read about it, it definitely meshed well with many of my inclinations. Our lives are too cluttered, we spend too much money on things we don’t need, we let the trivial get in the way of the meaningful, we don’t give ourselves time to reflect; to just be. In terms of the environment, this sort of pell-mell consumption and excessive activity is one of our large problems here in the rich world. We’ve created an economy that can easily provide for our basic needs, but once those are met, we just keep on consuming as if it was a drug, not realizing that our quest for more doesn’t actually fulfill us, and (willfully?) ignorant of the damages our actions cause. I saw an article about happiness in Psychology Today the other month, and in their list was a section— “Want Things—But for God’s Sake Don’t Buy Them.” Apparently psychologists too understand the emptiness of excess material possessions.
Now, some of “Minimalism” as a movement is less closely tied to environmental sustainability—I’m not so sure that having a couch with no pattern in the fabric actually matters, or only owning one hundred items, but I applaud the wisdom of their general bent. For the foreseeable future in the wealthy parts of the world, until we can decouple the economy from the environment, we are going to need to reduce consumption. (The poor around the world often don’t have this problem—but we’re the ones using the bulk of the resources, so there’s room to take the log out of our own eye before we worry about the splinter in another’s…).
Of the Minimalist blogs I’ve seen, I really like the posts by Joshua Becker, particularly the one at http://www.becomingminimalist.com/escaping-excessive-consumerism/ , “Ten Reasons to Escape Excessive Consumerism.” Worth a read.
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