Less versus The Least

Another post defining minimalism, because those never get old.

Less: removing the cruft, getting down to what matters to you.

The Least: no exceptions, get down to as little as possible, remove all wants.

I'm starting to see a divide in these two factions. I've usually trumpeted Less for most of my blogging history, though I've drifted into The Least lane for a bit when necessary.

The Least strikes me as very Kantian. If you're going to be minimalist and take that concept to better your life, take it as it very much literally is: as minimal as possible. Any exceptions will break the rule, so don't have any exceptions.

While this is a useful idea and can be used to conceptualize things, it doesn't strike me as utilitarian. It seems to be in love with minimalism as a concept to the point where you forgo what matters to you in an effort to live up to the possibilities of minimalism to its theoretical end.

I moved into a new place in the past week. While I eliminated more than I ever have in my entire life, I still moved over some non-essential items. Why shouldn't I? These things aren't evil. Keeping them isn't evil. I'm not trying to impress someone with my minimalism. I'm just trying to make my life easier and more fulfilling.

I'm not saying that The Least can't be fulfilling. I'm just saying that it might not be useful as a universal definition of minimalism.

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