SIMPLICITY: Minimalism, Wantlessness, and Fundamentalism

This may not be news to you but there is a man who owns only 150 things. Yes, he has created a life where needs so few belongings and it has taken the world a bit to understand his lifestyle. Fumio Sasaki is a minimalist, one of the core tenants of his life is to maintain as few possessions as are necessary to maintain a quality life. This is challenging for many of us to comprehend because we are used to the idea of having more options equalling success.

This concept of minimalism is also a famous art movement defined by the similar principles of conversation, cleanliness, and space. As we think about the positives of minimalism it is simple to see why it is appealing. We are able to do more with less. It is not so much about the options that we have before us but the ability to discern what is best used for a modular use, where fewer things have broader applications.

A convertible sofa or futon is an example of an item that a minimalist might purchase. It is one item that has two uses. The benefit is that you own fewer things but it is important to recognize that it comes at a cost. A convertible sofa is far more expensive than a sofa, and not as comfortable as a bed. So there is a cost associated with this modularity. A futon as well has its drawbacks, as it is inexpensive but it is not the most comfortable sofa OR bed. Here we must be conscious of the scope of the things we retain as well seek to refine our selection.

Intellectually we must also be conservative. The same limit on our attention applies to our processing capacity, this is the reason we must filter in the first place. When we read long  paragraphs  that contain too much fruitless text our mind has trouble following the logic of the paragraph. We will look to these limits this month as we investigate further.

We can not operate from the place of pure simplicity though as our world is quite complex. The demands of our mind are that we should not drown our thinking with trivial useless thoughts but use our mind in the most efficient way and speak with clarity, thinking with clarity as well. But again scope is so important because one idea can not always be applied to every situation.

This is the issue we wind with fundamentalism, the premise is actually sound. To think that the core principles of of an ideology are unchanging, like primary colors, is true. The use, integration, and combination of those primary notions that must be adjusted to suit each context. It makes no sense to try use an idea that works in one area of life in all areas if it does not fit. There is nothing inherently wrong with having conservative views. It can actually be of benefit when we find ourselves challenged by new situations. Still we have got to be able to adapt.

When we have mastered the in between of minimalism we may find that we don’t need anything more than what we have, and that we don’t want anything more than what we need. Zen philosophy teaches this kind of clarity and wantlessness, it can be liberating to not have to hustle for things and instead release your desires to the wind.

These ideas are worth exploring for sanity, for balance, for clarity and more. So we will reach for understanding on these subject in the hopes of capturing lasting insights.

We hope you will join us.




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