Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excesses in favor of focusing on what’s important. Allowing yourself to find happiness, fulfilment, and freedom in more simple pleasures. The minimalists to their 4 million fans, try to help people live more meaningful lives with less. Helping by engaging in their website, books, podcast and documentary film minimalism. Using intentionality, a clarity of purpose and the removal of everything that distracts us from these ideals. Modern culture has bought into the lie that the good life is found in accumulating things. More is better as we have inadvertently subscribed to the idea that happiness can be purchased at a department store. Minimalism, is freedom from the passion to possess, freedom from modern mania and freedom from duplicity
A counter culture, about the internal and not the external. Minimalism is helping people find freedom in their heart and soul, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. Is this the gospel of minimalism, consumerist self sacrifice, as people who have it all, now seem to prefer having not much at all. Minimalism was popularized in the 1960’s as an insult, in an essay for an art magazine. Describing a group of artists whose work was characterized by “minimal art content” that is lack of art, now stylishly austere it seems, is minimalist.
On the trail.
Long distance backpacking is synonymous with minimalism, an escape from mental and physical clutter. When you step onto the trail with only what is on your back, you tend to gain insight as to what is really important in life. Minimalism takes place again as you gain experience through hiking, using gear to hike, not hike to use gear. The simple act of hiking can only be enjoyed, when your not worrying about how heavy the gear is on your back. Days don’t end in exhaustion and you are able to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Like watching the sunset and listening to the wind in the trees when you stop to rest for the night.
Decreasing pack weight, when trying to lose ounces becomes expensive. You need everything you have, so the only option is to look for lighter items as replacements. These can be expensive, as lighter items are usually more high tech. The minimalistic experience, is in the nature of the trail as well, every place you see you will likely never see again. Every person you meet, will never share this space again, there are no comparisons to each other, there is no time or inclination to judge or consider.
Questions to answer.
The premise, is that minimalism brings freedom and joy, if we only attain the right things. Forsaking everything else, to be free from the constraints of our desires. Has the concept of minimalism been high jacked again, as it was from the art world of the sixties. Is minimalism an arrogance, providing another all encompassing answer, while not encouraging individuals to ask their own deeper questions. Maybe it’s a hangover from pre-recession excess, Mac-mansions, S.U.V’s and cocktail parties, medicine we had to swallow anyway. Minimalism just makes the medicine easier to swallow as we feel better with less. Some of the almost in touch rich are joining in, asking their own questions. How much can we own and still be minimalistic, have I got rid of the wrong things?
Technology is creating a minimalist genre that I must admit does have appeal. Carrying a small bag of clothes, and a small backpack containing a lap top, I-pad and a smart phone. Not owning a home or a car, staying in Airbnb’s and traveling the world having experiences, intelligent labor with no physical labor. Physical stresses on the body from twisting and turning on a difficult trail, seem to concentrate the chemicals that effect the brain in the body. This reduces the need to concentrate on mental processes, helping to clarify our thinking abilities. If I can somehow get that pack weight down and accommodate some minimalist technology, then the next town I go through on the trail, can be my office for a few hours. I’m asking my own question, am I an authentic minimalist now?