What is a minimalist?
Well what is a word? Only a symbol to which we attach some meaning.
And anyone can attach any meaning to any symbol. In fact, I’d be so bold to suggest, that no 2 people can attach the exact same meaning to the exact same symbol, or word. All our experiences are different afterall. I am me. And you are you.
But to this symbol, this word, minimalist, I attach this meaning. A minimalist is a person who lives with as little as possible. As little as they need to survive. Or more specifically, as little as is needed to survive, in general.
Think about it. A king could be turned to a businessman perhaps. And then this king would have to learn to live with less, as a businessman.
Or sure, maybe a king who turns to a businessman keeps all his wealth and stature. And he lives just the same as a businessman as he did as a king. But we’re imaging here, that a king moves down to a lower state, and to the box that that state usually contains.
So he learns to live like a businessman instead of a king. And he considers himself a minimalist. Because he is now living with less, a mansion instead of a palace.
But he is not a minimalist, as I see it, this king. Because there are much lower states than a businessman. A king is still comfortable as a businessman in his mansion. Eventhough this mansion is not his former palace. It’s too much yet. He has too much comfort still.
So this king becomes a teacher then perhaps—high school let’s say, pre-university kids he teaches now, this king turned businessman now turned teacher of high school kids. And he trades the mansion for a duplex.
But even so, a duplex is too much yet—though he’s getting there now, this king. He’s making some progress, living with less and less. But it’s too much yet.
Really, all we humans must do is eat and sleep and stay warm. Take it to its lowest, life. Everything else is superfluous. It’s extra. It’s luxury. In order to keep marching till to-morrow, all we must do is eat, to keep our internal-furnace flamed and stoked, to stay warm, and sleep. And we survive.
And we can do this with nearly nothing. Nevermind a palace or a mansion or a duplex. You can sleep outside almost anywhere, with no home, on sidewalks or in some fields, wherever. You can rummage through trash to eat, if you must, there’s so much waste out there. Or you beg for money to buy some food. You keep the clothes on your back, to stay warm. Or again you beg for money to buy some clothes—or offer to do some work in exchange for a jacket. You have no possessions at all, besides the clothes on your back. And you see, you survive.
Living homeless is living like a minimalist—in the truest sense. You have no place to put anything. So you have nothing. And you survive, just eating, sleeping, and staying warm.
It is however not so necessary to be so extreme in order to live like a minimalist, to live outside with nothing, homeless. But you must be aware. You must realize that with nothing at all we can survive just fine.
Now it’s for every man, I believe, to be responsible for their own sustenance. So you realize, that really you can just go outside with only the clothes on your back, and you can survive. But you want to live a bit better than a dog. We are men afterall. Though true, animals, we are not brutes. You’d have a shelter for yourself to sleep and cook. You’d provide for yourself your own food.
And you do this as modestly as possible. You have a home. But it is only a simple room perhaps, this home, with a bathroom in the corner, and a sink, and a tiny kitchen with a stove, stocked only with what’s absolutely necessary to cook yourself meals.
Maybe you buy a chair in which sometimes to sit, and a table at which to eat. You fashion yourself a mattress on which to sleep with some blankets. You have only the few essential toiletry items which are needed to keep yourself looking clean.
Besides these few items, and some interaction here and there with other people, creation is all you need afterwards. Connection is our very deepest desire, humans—I’m convinced. But otherwise, we are made to create—not to consume.
And you live. Maybe you write software. So you have a computer. You must keep in contact with family, so you have a phone. Or maybe you paint, so you have paper or canvas and some brushes and paints. You keep a few favorite books because you like to read most to pass the time,—entertainment, a distraction otherwise. And you thrive, as a minimalist, creation from nothing. It’s all you have to do.