Criticisms of minimalism

We often talk about minimalism at New Escapologist and our interest is three-fold:

– Environmental: by reducing your consumer habits, you have less impact on the natural environment.

– Financial: by consuming less, you don’t need to spend as much money. Consequentially you don’t need to work so hard at earning money.

– Aesthetic: by reducing physical possessions, you can have a cleaner, more manageable living or working space.

In our time talking about minimalism, we’ve encountered a few criticisms. Some of them are fair, some understandably verge on the hostile (understandable because minimalism asks people to curb their consumer freedom), and others are from people who’ve completely missed the point. In this post, I respond to some of the most common or most remarkable.

I have a guest post at a blog called Skool of Life. My piece responds to six real and fairly common criticisms of minimalism.

The post has also resulted in some reasonable comments, to which I am able to respond. In particular, a bloke called Andy worries that defining one’s self as a minimalist is as bad as defining yourself as a materialist. It gave me the opportunity to say this:

1. The desire to define yourself one way or another is a piece of psychological baggage a minimalist might want to jettison. Let’s not worry about defining ourselves. Self-expression is a nonsense championed by Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays. It is little more than a marketing device that minimalists should proof themselves against.

2. Even if you choose to define yourself by owning a small number of things, your doing so is certainly better than defining yourself as someone who owns a large number of things. Your reluctance to consume will help the environment and help your wallet. So, while I’d advise against defining yourself in this way, it is still outwardly and empirically better than defining yourself as a materialist.

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About

Robert Wringham is a humorist and the editor-in-chief of New Escapologist.

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