I know a guy who is like that- he is neither poor (successful business owner) nor a miser (pays his employee well, often goes out with friends, picks up the check frequently). He eats enough- buys organic produce from the farmer’s market when he can get it. He pays top dollar for high grade cannabis.
But as for things, he has no use for them. His apartment has an EZ chair he bought at Goodwill, plus a couple of tables. He has no TV, only a laptop. His kitchen has the bare minimum: one or two pots, a plate or two, a handful of silverware. His bedroom is a twin bed upon which he sleeps in a sleeping bag. He is simply not interested in possessions.
His needs are met, he’s happy, and he’s not a danger to himself or others. But nevertheless, he’s… weird.
Does he have a diagnosable condition that one would find in the DSM?
A diagnosable “problem” in which he is not obsessed with accumulating stuff? A problem in which he naturally feels a generosity of spirit in which he is willing to give things to those who seem to want/need it? No, my friend, that’s not a diagnosable problem. It’s an admirable trait. One which is in such limited supply that some people think it’s a diagnosable condition.
I’ve been wondering about this, because whatever it’s called, I think I have it. I can’t stand owning things, and if I haven’t used something for six months, it goes. Nothing feels better to me than throwing things out.
I live in a tiny apartment, and own only the bare minimum of clothes and furniture. I don’t even have a bed anymore. I threw out the one I had the last time I moved, and never got around to getting a new one. I’ve been sleeping on two cheap mattresses stacked on top of each other for the past year.
The only nice things I own are my laptop and my chair (which I got used from a friend of mine, anyway). I’ve learned the painful way that a nice chair is important.
I have a small amount of kitchen stuff, some utensils, a water heater and a coffee press. I’ve replaced *all *my physical media with digital versions. I don’t keep books. If I ever need a book I’ve read again, I can always borrow it from a library, or even buy it again, so that I can throw it out again.
Recently, I threw away a perfectly good digital camera, because I wasn’t using it and it had… to… go… away! And it felt good.
Personally, I’m not quite there yet, and might and probably will never be there completely, as I have still some possession I rarely or never use (like my Nexus 7 tablet), but in the last couple of years, I am closer than I have been in the past. I am certainly getting that way when it comes to collecting physical media. I just rather not have the clutter that comes with collecting physical media, especially when there’s a digital alternative. And even when it comes to digital, I’ve went through little while ago, and did some “spring cleaning” of my old files I rarely or never used on my external HDD drives.
My remark #1: Lock the guy up in the looney bin and throw away the key! He’s a menace to our economic way of life, which is predicated on unlimited consumption! What if everybody did that, huh? WELL?
And as for being a diagnosable disease according to the DSM? What a question. The DSM has a diagnosable condition for EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. There’s not a bipedal primate alive (nor, probably, was there ever) who fails to fit some diagnostic criterion in The Book.
So save some bed space in that looney bin for me and thee. We’ll all be along soon enough.
My remark #2: See Potlatch, a traditional of some Native American cultures of the Pacific Northwest, that entailed giving away one’s stuff.
So was that a menace to our economy and American Way of Life? Must have been, since both the United States and Canada federal governments banned it for some time. //old rolleyes//
If there is, it should be called “Jack Reacher Syndrome” (after the fictional character who keeps no possessions, even throwing out his brand-new clothes after they get dirty/smelly and buying new ones).
In fairness, though, while it’s tempting to turn this thread into a critique of consumerism, if we *do *commonly recognize hoarding a form of loopiness (scientific term, obviously), but *not *this practice of minimalism (if that’s what we’re calling it), that kind of suggests the opposite of the point you’re trying to make.
A potlach is a big party of conspicuous consumption and gift giving, through which the wealthy show off their wealth, in part by giving giving stuff away. The idea is to cement power and patronage by showing off how wealthy and generous you are. It had nothing to do with living simply (by local standards of simply). It seems to me to be something very different indeed from the minimalism described by the OP.
My 78 year-old father keeps getting rid of more and more stuff whenever he can.
When his pack-rat parents died (25 years ago) the lone job of emptying a jam packed 3 story house that was in his family for a couple generations fell directly on his shoulders.
It left such a bad taste in his mouth that he swore he would never burden his own kids with the same fate.
Him and mom, while not living as minimaly as the guy in the OP, have gutted the house I grew up in of anything they haven’t touched in the past year. The attic is baren, the basement is barren, the garage is empty except their one car. No more mowers, rakes, shovels since they hired a yard service. The spare bedrooms are barren. The kitchen cabinets have a minimum of dishes since it’s just the two of them.
It’s like they downsized to move into a one bedroom apartment but never left the house.
Just wanted to second the idea that if a significant percentage of the population in the Western World adopted this way of living, the entire world economy would collapse.
Its kinda like people who pay off their credit card statements every month. Again if a significant percentage of the population in the US starting doing this, Visa and Mastercard would go belly up. I believe the percentage now is only about 25%. If this number exceeded 50%, I don’t think credit cards as we know them would survive.
This minimalist way of life is how I live. Nothing gives me more pleasure that getting rid of something I no longer use. (OK, sex and surfing are better, but not by much!)
There are still Hindu devotees wandering around India who have no possessions, no home, and rather than begging eat only what is freely offered them, and accept a bowl of shit or a pomegranate with the same gratitude.
Yup. That’s what I am. I don’t even have bed, I sleep on the floor. All furniture and clothing form thrift shops. Nothing in the kitchen that plugs in except stove and fridge, but all meals cooked from scratch. Landline phone, desktop computer, 19-inch TV, no car, read library books.
No it wouldn’t, it would just re-prioritize. There would still be an equilibrium of labor and demand.
Along these lines, a slight hijack, if I may - can anyone help me find an article from the past 6-12 months on this topic? It was about a woman who was not quite as minimalist as some on this thread, but she was causing consternation in her family. I think her husband had left her over it, and her children were upset because they couldn’t have any of their things out, including school projects or awards and such.
This is where I am. In, God willing, 70+ years, my brother and I are set to inherit BOTH our maternal and paternal grandparent’s homes (one of which my immediate family still lives in). There is just so much crap mixed with semi valuable stuff and unidentified heirlooms, I have already started trying to get rid some of it!