The engineer part of my brain loves optimizing, so I quickly got attracted to the concept of minimalism during my college years.
Minimalism has been around for thousands of year. From Diogenes the Cynic to Marie Kondo, the core idea remains the same:
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Wind, Sand and Stars (Terre des Hommes), Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Perfection is an ideal state. You cannot reach it forever. It rarely comes. It will eventually go.
Saint-Exupery was referring to the craftsmen who built his airplane. The quest for perfection doesn’t start with accumulation. It begins with simplification: when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness, when the superficial is removed to expose the core.
Minimalism is a philosophy with many subcultures. I’m not a big fan of “Checklist Minimalism”. It’s not about how many pieces of clothing you own. There is but a step between minimalism and asceticism. Tending toward asceticism is missing the point of minimalism, which is to make the most out of your time on this planet. It’s about getting your life together.
We only have so much time every day. Isn’t it better to spend it on things that matter? A minimalist is an individual who understands the finite nature of time well enough to make conscious decisions on a daily basis towards his own betterment without ever losing compassion.
Minimalism is not a trend. It’s not even a revolutionary idea. It’s a mindset easily drown in the ambient noise and forgotten.