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The Pitfalls and the Potential of the New Minimalism

The new minimalism

In part, the new minimalism is a kind of cultural aftershock of the 2008 housing crisis and banking collapse. At the same time, minimalism has become an increasingly aspirational and deluxe way of life.
Minimalism is easily transformed from a philosophy of intentional moderation into an aesthetic language that depicts high-end interior spaces.

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The Pitfalls and the Potential of the New Minimalism

The Pitfalls and the Potential of the New Minimalism

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/02/03/the-pitfalls-and-the-potential-of-the-new-minimalism

newyorker.com

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Key Ideas

The new minimalism

In part, the new minimalism is a kind of cultural aftershock of the 2008 housing crisis and banking collapse. At the same time, minimalism has become an increasingly aspirational and deluxe way of life.
Minimalism is easily transformed from a philosophy of intentional moderation into an aesthetic language that depicts high-end interior spaces.

Minimalism for the affluent

Many people have minimalism forced upon them by circumstance. Poverty and trauma can make frivolous possessions seem like a lifeline instead of a burden.

Although many of today's gurus insist that minimalism is useful regardless of income, they target the affluent. The focus on self-improvement is more about accumulation.

Minimalism of ideas

True minimalism is not about throwing things out, but about challenging your beliefs in an attempt to engage with ideas as they are, to not shy away from reality or its lack of answers. 

Underneath the vision of “less” is a mode of living that heightens the miracle of human presence.

Profound vs superficial minimalism

  • The minimalism of things argues that getting rid of possessions means ridding yourself of trouble. 
  • The minimalism of ideas means stripping away excess to see that the world is more troubled and difficult, and more wondrous and full of possibility.

The question is whether you accept less in order to assert your will more efficiently, or whether you assert your will to receive the reward of self-diminishment.

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Why be a minimalist

Minimalism is a way of eschewing the non-essential in order to focus on what’s truly important, what gives our lives meaning, what gives us joy and value.

It’s a way to escape the exce...

Minimalist living
It’s about getting rid of things you do not use or need, leaving an uncluttered, simple environment and an uncluttered, simple life. 

It’s living without an obsession with material things or an obsession with doing everything and doing too much. It’s using simple tools, having a simple wardrobe, carrying little and living lightly.

The benefits of minimalism
  • It’s more sustainable.
  • It’s easier to organize.
  • It’s lower in stress.
  • It’s less expensive and less debt.
  • It’s less cleaning and maintaining.
  • There’s more room for creating, for loved ones, for peace, for doing the things that give you joy.
  • There’s more time for getting healthy.
Minimalism

Is focusing on and committing to the fundamentals, instead of wasting time, money, or energy on details.

A minimalistic approach can be applied to consumption, goals, schedules, tasks,...

The Diderot Effect

Obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption which leads you to acquire more new things. 

As a result, we end up buying things that our previous selves never needed to feel happy or fulfilled.

The paradox of choice

When it comes to getting things done, options aren’t always a good thing.

When everything is a possibility, it actually becomes harder to make the right choice (or any choice at all). 

Meanwhile, when we place a constraint on ourselves, it can become much easier to get something done.

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Deeper roots
Deeper roots

Minimalism is a quiet celebration of space, but bold in the way its simplicity overwhelms.

Just after World War II, minimalism became popular because of its perfect utopian style. After th...

Not just a trendy style

Minimalism is about experiencing the world directly and engaging with your surroundings. 

The style now seems more like numbing yourself and creating a protective environment form the overwhelming visual experiences on the internet.

Moral superiority

Minimalism these days has an aura of moral superiority.

The problem with minimalism today is that the style is associated with moral purity and outsiderness but it's being adopted by wealthy women and tech billionaires. The style of minimalism we see today is a reality that's not very minimal at all.

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