|Where are you on the spectrum of minimalism?|
As one goal of minimalism is to reduce the negative impact of our actions on the environment, we have to ask the question if this is achieved by having less material possesions. The second goal of (true) minimalism is to free up thorough leisure time, unoccupied by anything "productive". Introspection, creative thinking, pondering ones existential nature, dreaming, creation of meaning and purpose; these mental spaces take considerable down-time of the rational observer to blossom. That would mean our minimalism has to extend to an experiential minimalism. In which we reduce our cultural input and consumption of experiences. In the following we are going to explore these aspects of a minimalist lifestyle and the benefits of spreading minimalism beyond the material.
Reduces modern minimalism our negative impact on nature?
Pretty quickly are willing to answer this question with a yes. After all, each physical item which does not need to be produced and at the end of it's lifetime be discarded or recycled, reduces our negative impact on nature. But if you have a look into the minimalist culture as it emerges today, what is it that those people tend to do? Proud of having everything they own fit into one backpack, they have become global citizens. With airplanes as their preferred choice of transportation, a large part of what they consume is just no longer their own. The increased amount of money and energy spend on experiential consumerism and global travel leaves us rethinking the original question.
Does material minimalism allow us to create meaning?
Just reducing our material possessions is not going to make us happy. It is the first step in the right direction though, if your life is filled with an overabundance of material distractions.
True minimalism is probably the only way in which we can gain the freedom in time and capacity of mind to construct a meaningful purpose for our lives. We see it in the life of a monk. In addition to the reduction of our material possessions they also strive to reduce their consumption of externally provided experiences.
Consuming culture in all of our spare time will leave us with little capacity to think for ourselves and to experience the deepest aspects of truth and reality. It will get us stuck at where we are, unable to direct our own life-story, unable to create the dream we want for others and ourselves. True minimalism extends to all aspects of our lives and reduces everything that is not beneficial. This sort of minimalism frees up the time to explore the depth of our own being, through which we come to an understanding of ourselves, our dreams, our wants and needs that is deeper than we can imagine.
If you are already looking to reduce your consumption then I hope I could inspire you with this post to broaden your view and extend your approach to make sure your lifestyle has the results and impact that you wish for.