My reaction to The Minimalism Documentary

Is my relationship with ‘things’ healthy?

At a time with “New year new you” posts flying around the blogsphere, social media and the media, it appears that Minimalism paraphinalia is in abundence. Between books like that one by Marie Kondo, or documentaries like Minimalism by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus it feels like the pressure is on for 2017’s word to be “minimalism”.

Ryan and Joshua are two 30 something men who had previously worked hard to reach their corporate career driven goals, but still felt a longing sense of disatisfaction.  This is when they decided to take back control of their lives and happiness by turning to minimalism.

The Documentary follows them as they complete a book tour, discussing their lifestyle journeys with audiences all over the country, and sharing their methods.

There are a lot of aspects of  the documentary that align with my own values with the main essence having meaning and purpose in your life.

The impact of advertising and social media are discussed in relation to conumerism and compulsory consumption that they encourage, this is something I have mentioned on this blog several times in the past, in relation to the monetising of Instagram, Twitter and Blogs; using people to sell things and create objects of fashion.  The increase of envy and comparison to lifestyle, and must have objects since the creation of these platforms must be through the roof.  You could argue that personality type means that some people will always be suseptable to feeling envy or desire to replicate life or outfits, however I’m not convinced this is justification.

The Documentary goes on to delve into the psychological reasoning behind this need for more; placing social value on items in order to fill a void, the hunger for fulfilment and need to feel whole.  I know for one that I used to get real enjoyment from buying clothes and things, and whilst this isn’t the case anymore, this documentary isn’t saying this.  It is about having less so that you can have more enjoyment- for example making room for more books if books are what make you happy- What things are bringing value to my life?

I found the segment showing tiny homes particularly interesting, especially as I watched the documentary on the same day that I discovered the Youtubers TheTinyMumma and NomadiDaddy, who have recently been living in a converted shed.  I found it truly enlightening to look around these homes and see how comfortable these peope were living (albeit apart from poor TheTinyMumma heavily pregnant trying to climb up a tiny ladder to bed…!).

The section on technology is one I think a lot of people could benefit from seeing, especially on the need for more up to date kit and the disposability of previously “must have” items.  I am as guilty as anyone, and am on my own journey to reduce my use, however I think it is a sad indictment on society that we feel the need to conseciously switch off from technology.   I have been trying to reduce my use of technology for many months, including going out without my phone, and only communicating with people to arrange to meet up.  By making communication less frequent, it allows the communication to be more meaningful , which has then allowed for me to be part of closer, more meaningful communities.

Overall I think this documentary is well worth watching if you are interested in enriching your life and evaluating your own values.  Whilst none of what they say is ground breaking, I do think it serves as an important reminder to look at ourselves and how we wish to live our lifes, and for how we wish the world around us to look like.

“Love people, and use things, because the opposite never works”.


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