The Simple Life


"The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less"  Socrates

This post is about something that has interested me for a long time and that is the philosophy of minimalism. Becoming a minimalist is on my bucket list, but what do I mean by this?

Minimalism means different things to different people. 

To some minimalism is simply a design principle, as in minimalist architecture for example Kanye West's minimalist apartment in New York:




The architect and interior designer have used a sparse pallet of colours and have minimised furniture and fittings to give an uncluttered "peaceful" atmosphere. Storage space is carefully hidden out of view. To live in a house like this you must be happy with the minimalist principle of "a place for everything and everything in it's place".

Apple Computer Inc. are also famous for their use of minimalist design in their consumer product's. This is one of the reason's I like their products. For example even something as basic as their iPhone headphones include the economy of design required of minimalism:




Again a basic pallet of colour is used and in fact Apple have made white their signature colour. The headphone remote is three simple buttons, a select button and up and down volume controls. The select button allows you to answer and end a call, play and pause a song, skip to the next track and also launch the ability to ask your phone to look up a contact or find a specific track by simply speaking. This is economy of design to the extreme but it works.

To some minimalism is more than whitewashed walls and designer gadgets, it is a way of living that acts as a set of rules to simplify life and reduce your impact on the world. With global warming and the depressing treadmill of work, buy stuff, work some more, a more sustainable minimalist lifestyle is increasing in popularity.

People are beginning to realise that stuff isn't making them happier in fact in most cases owning more stuff is increasing their debt burden, and surrounding them with clutter which despite the advertisers promises hasn't made them more popular, cooler, or sexier. 

People are working increasing hours and in some cases more than one job to own the latest things. This has the added 'bonus' of tiring them out to such an extent they are too tired to socialise, or even cook. So what do we do we plonk ourselves down in front of the TV or browse the internet and get bombarded by adverts telling us to buy more stuff. The cycle continues...

Because we are so time poor we are buying more convenience food and take-aways, and this is having a negative affect on our waistlines. 

So what does minimalism suggest as a solution to this problem? Simple, break the cycle:

1-Buy less, just what you need and not what you want (or advertisers have told you, you want). 

2-Be happy with what you already have (you don't need the latest phone if your current phone is still working, I still struggle with this one and probably always will. Advertiser's sell us perceived obsolescence, which means they tell us that our old phone is no good anymore so we must buy the latest and rationally we know this isn't true but on an emotional level we believe it.)

3-Get rid of things you don't use, clutter just makes life more difficult.


And finally my favourite (because I'm a bit shallow). 

4-Get the best. Why stuff a wardrobe with clothes you kinda like rather than buying less, and really loving the things you own?

I personally have begun to make steps in this direction. I am slowly getting rid of my clutter and I'm trying to think before I buy.