This is just an attempt to make money by selling a lifestyle.
This is the new real estate scam: selling psychological ‘guilt-free’ living.
10 years from now all these ‘minimalists’ will be bcak to their old ways, just like the Boomers got square during the Reagan years. Right now, these yuppies are converting their reduced income into a ‘smugness’ account so that they can continue to feel superior to the ‘unenlightened’ down the block.
Is Less More?
Is Minimalism a Fad?
Are we all a bunch of posers who are jumping on the minimalism bandwagon?
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First of all, I want to say that is one hell of a comment. It sparked at least two whole blog posts from other bloggers, and I am now adding a third one.
For myself, I have always been a minimalist. I haven't always used that term to describe myself because it didn't exist. I've just always lived a simple lifestyle. My family and friends used to make jokes about my frugality, my spartan furnishings, and my bare walls. The reality is that I don't need a lot of stuff to live or enjoy my life. I like having money in the bank and being able to pay my bills and not worry about stuff. I hate clutter.
I am hesitant to use the term "minimalist" to describe myself because I tend to be more like Henry David Thoreau than Mies van der Rohe. But I've been like this my entire adult life. But I should go ahead and embrace the term. I believe that less is more. When you cut the crap out of your life, you are left with the quality. You are left with what matters. To this extent, I identify as a minimalist.
For others, I think of the Great Depression generation and their habits of frugality. Those habits remained through the 50's, the 60's, the 70's, and on. They never forgot those times. Similarly, the people who have taken a wallop during this Great Recession won't forget either. Going from a McMansion to sleeping in your car has a way of changing your perspective on things. You can never take anything for granted.
What changed? Clearly, the Great Recession has done a lot for voluntary simplicity. But will it end when the recession ends? Almost certainly. People love to buy shit. I hear stories now of people living in the overpriced homes they stopped making payments on and using that cash to buy more consumer items and hoping Uncle Obama will send them a relief package.
These trends have always been with us. Here is the original minimalist--Epicurus:
It is better for you to be free of fear lying upon a pallet, than to have a golden couch and a rich table and be full of trouble.
Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.
A free life cannot acquire many possessions, because this is not easy to do without servility to mobs or monarchs.
Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.
These ideas are not new. The bottom line is that our needs are finite, but our desires are infinite. When our desires exceed our means, we are left with frustration. And when our possessions exceed our needs, we are also left with frustration. And when they are lost, we act as if their loss is some tragedy.
Minimalism will always be a minority lifestyle. Even poor people accumulate clutter, so it isn't a question of wealth and poverty. But it is a mindset, and most people are never going to go along with it. In addition, some people who try it for awhile may ditch it as soon as their circumstances change.
True minimalists embraced the lifestyle before it was trendy and will continue with it when the good times roll again. I am always going to live this way because it makes sense to me. I don't see the point in having a bunch of shit you don't need.