A Double Feature today.
You own only 15 things. That's cool. How much of that is dependent on relying on others around you?
The classic joke: 57 minimalists walk into a bar. Bartender asks them what they'll have. "Nothing for me," they all say to one another, "I'll just have a sip of yours."
Therefore, I want to add to my "bundle of verbs and adjectives" that minimalism encompasses to include "self sufficient," because there's no nobility in the constant couch surf.
Spending for Less
I want to come up with a new name for The Spending Minimalist. You know, the folk this Bike Snob blog so hilariously skewers.
The person who spends, all for the virtue of minimalism. The person who throws away a dozen shirts just to buy six more. The person who, for their technological minimalism, throws away their existing computers, goes to the Apple store, buys several thousand dollars worth of products, and sighs, satisfied in a new minimalist lifestyle. The person who not only uses a garbage can as their minimalism, but also their wallet.
I'm not going to say that's wrong, or that it's not worth spending a little for a larger benefit. But I do think that it's a drastically different approach than what I've been trying to discuss here. Minimalism in the Linux realm tends to take what we have and tweak it - without having to go to the store and pursue minimalism on the terms of a corporation. We're busy making our existing machines more useful to us through focus and elimination.
But letting our dollars do the minimalism for us? What is really gained from having an apartment that folds apart like origami? It lets you smirk and lower that little number in your head of the items you have or the floor space you take up, but it doesn't seem any more useful.
So one more amendment to the bundle of verbs and adjectives: "utilitarian."
Going to an Apple store might satiate your need for less ugly computers, but it won't always improve usefulness. Unless you are heavily conditioned to the user interface of OSX, I'm hard pressed to think of a reason why that would improve your lifestyle. The actions that you perform on the machine that's what matters. This blog attempts to discussing Minimalism through the GNU/Linux lens, to find compatibility between the two, not to necessarily promote the OS.
Less is more only when it actually helps you live your life more capably.
I understand that I've made this mistake before. I bought a Kindle, thinking I would replace physical books with digital ones. Thankfully I've found uses for the Kindle beyond that (largely email and scholarly in nature) but my folly was thinking that I could buy my way into minimalism by throwing away one thing and replacing it with another. It never works out quite that easily.
Off topic note
In the next few weeks, I will be releasing an eBook version of this website for free. It will essentially be a distillation of the blogs I've written in the past two years, gone over with a fine-toothed comb and polished as well as I can possibly manage. It won't be long, so consider it a "too long; didn't read" edition.
I will be editing the eBooks' markup by hand (because why the heck not) and will put them on archive.org for free downloads. If there are any esoteric formats that should be included, send me an email or comment. I may blog about the experience, but so far it's been pretty much HTML, which isn't very exciting.