Lately, I’ve been less lasered-into computing and gaming — though I’m enjoying much Minecraft recently — and more focused on minimizing extra things in my life. This mostly means purging possessions but also paring pursuits. Excess things and activities take up extra space, time, and money. Clearing the clutter saves on these while revealing what’s left and what’s most important. So I’m trying to clean the slate and prioritize needs over wants, necessities over luxuries. I feel compelled to simplify.
Last week, I finished re-reading through Cal Newport’s book, Digital Minimalism. My understanding of it increased as I devoured the whole thing again after first enjoying it in 2019. It’s on my Kindle, but I’m considering getting the hardback version as one of the few physical books in my personal collection; it’s that good.
Digital minimalism has principles and practices that, I think, apply to practical or general minimalism as well. In any case, I’ve been focused on this too. Why?
- To counteract the tendency towards hyper-consumerism and materialism, avoiding unnecessary purchases and discontentment.
- To avoid distraction from many things, focusing on what really matters in or things I personally value most.
- To save time, money, and space, eliminating unnecessary stress and waste.
Minimalism is a practical tool and philosophy. Basically, you do less so you can do better, like quality over quantity. You minimize the extras so you can maximize the basics. It’s trading complexity for simplicity. You kill distraction to resurrect focus and clarity.
Minimalism isn’t having less for the sake of having less. It’s a means to an end, which is not strictly the fewest items possible. And it isn’t merely a form of religious asceticism. It’s pragmatic and can apply to people or situations differently.
Less is more. Enough is enough.
Besides playing more Minecraft with my extra time, I’ve also been reading more. The book I’m currently in is called, Biblical Minimalism. I like its subtitle: Following Jesus from a life of abundance to a more abundant life.
The book is very straightforward. It views Bible teachings literally about owning few things and addresses what kind of attitude to have towards excess. Helpfully, it doesn’t just preach doctrine but conveys the story of a family’s journey in following said teachings.
I find it challenging, inspiring, and informative. Do I really believe less is more? How can I practice it better?
A Bit More
I value reading, but I’m not yet sure where it falls on the priority list. What I’m finding in general, though, is that when you minimize activities, vacancy appears. And if you don’t intentionally fill the void with the best activity — blogging? exercising? — then some other trivial time-waster will quickly move in, consuming your attention and energy. So you can’t just erase; you must erase and replace.
I’m also wondering: is boredom valuable? I’m not talking about being idle or lazy. I think that maybe boredom is to the mind what hunger is to the stomach. It signals that your mind is empty and needs to be filled. But does it really need to be filled? And if so, what’s best to fill or feed the mind? A quiet mind, with time and space for deeper contemplation or introspection, is valuable. What do you think?
Do you feel like clearing clutter? Do you want more time or other resources for what matters most? What areas of your life feel like too much?
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