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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
    Basically, you are making an illicit conversion.

    All dogs are mammals, therefore all mammals are dogs.

    My disordered friend is a minimalist, therefore all minimalists like him are disordered.
    If you can point out where I said anything even remotely close to that, I'll agree with you. I didn't.

    What I said, to reiterate, is that when "minimalism" (and I would extend that to any -ism) results in a reduction of actual ability (tools needed to do things you actually do), safety (emergency supplies, tools, equipment), or quality of life (entertainments, hobby equipment, etc.), and somewhere in there I would fit financial health (which is harmed by repeatedly buying and getting rid of the same items, or periodically renting things, instead of buying once and re-using) in return for a mental perception (especially a temporary one), that is not healthy.

    I used an example, because anecdotes are easier for most people to absorb... and it's such a sad case IMO.

    There are many utilitarian reasons for minimalism. A poster mentioned living in an RV. Two others (you and I) mentioned moving. I could mention living on a boat, motorcycle camping, etc.... these are functional adaptations to external reality, which is completely different and quite healthy.

    I'm perfectly happy to entertain the idea that I'm wrong, but I'm not wrong in the way you think.

  2. #12
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    Here are the relevant quotes, and here's how I understand them:

    1. asserts what minimalism means and is -- that it is an objective standard. Relevant quotes:

    Quote Originally Posted by Him View Post
    You aren't minimalist from what you've described.
    -- I might live simply, but it's not minimalism because simplicity and minimalism are defined as . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Him View Post
    Again, don't get me wrong...being fiscally responsible is great. Keeping things as simple as they should be - but no simpler - is great.

    [then defined as]. . .I think when it comes to simplifying - as in everywhere else in life - you need a realistic balance. . . .Getting rid of that stuff would make my life simpler in the short term but would lower my overall quality of life far more. If you can't keep stuff you like or that makes your life better because some miswiring in your brain causes you to descend into minimalism, if the minimalism manifests itself in ways that make you less happy, that's not healthy.

    In my opinion.
    By definition, minimalism means lowering your quality of life. It logically follows, of course, that doing so is not healthy (i agree with this logic).

    I disagree that minimalism *means* lowering your quality of life for an emotional reward.

    In minimalist circles, minimalism actually means simplifying and finding your personal balance -- to break the cycle of consumer culture, become free of the burdens of stuff, and to provide opportunities (financially and otherwise) to do what you want to do with your time/money (life).

    Thus, you would even be considered a minimalist -- since you take this simplicity approach. Though it is true that some people (minimalists) have abandoned the term minimalist in favor of "simplicity" and "simple living" because they do not like the "i'm more minimalist than you!" process (ie, being told that what they have isn't "necessary" and that "true minimalism is X").

    2. anyone who practices minimalism (by Him's definition) is mentally ill.

    Emotionally making rash and irreversible purges of personal belongings can't be healthy, any more than hording or puking up your dinner to lose weight.
    True, but just because an individual has fewer things doesn't mean that their process was rash or irreversible or causes them suffering. That's where the illicit conversion comes in.

    That's socially and psychologically very different from what the OP and my friend were engaged in, which is far more like putting a finger down your throat because doing so makes you feel you have control of some part of your life. The results are superficially similar but categorically very different.
    Your friend purged his life of stuff.
    Op has purged his life of stuff.

    Your friend was mentally ill, therefore the OP is mentally ill.

    The trouble is this -- the lack of stuff doesn't objectively point to an irrational, mental-illness process.

    If I lived on my own, I would very likely live like the OP. Why? It's a matter of preference. Although, I would have had only *one* suitcase of clothing. So, I might have been more minimal there.

    This is not an indication of mental illness. It is the same process that you describe above about happiness, etc. Truly. You might not believe it, but going for less than what you (subjectively) consider "balanced" does not automatically equal rash decisions, lack of utilitarianism, lack of safety, and lack of happiness, or mental illness.

  3. #13
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    I'm somewhere between Ron Swanson and Tom Haverford aka Tommy Edamame.
    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
    Here are the relevant quotes, and here's how I understand them:

    1. asserts what minimalism means and is -- that it is an objective standard. Relevant quotes:



    -- I might live simply, but it's not minimalism because simplicity and minimalism are defined as . . .
    Actually, no... I don't consider what you described as minimalism because you seem to have a lot of stuff that you want but don't need. In other words, you haven't reached, and have no intention of reaching, the minimum. Minimum isn't your goal.

    Quote Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
    By definition, minimalism means lowering your quality of life. It logically follows, of course, that doing so is not healthy (i agree with this logic).
    Again, no. Look at part of what I wrote: "if the minimalism manifests itself in ways that make you less happy, that's not healthy."

    Logically, that "if" allows for minimalism that manifests in ways that make you more happy, and minimalism that doesn't change your happiness at all, as well as minimalism that makes you less happy. I'm not saying that minimalism itself is always a source of unhappiness.

    Now, if you want to bring mental health into things, consider this: If X and Y are NOT proportional...If minimalism and happiness do not increase together...is it mentally healthy to ALWAYS increase X when you want more Y? In other words, if you are unhappy should the answer always be, "get rid of more stuff!" If you answered, "no", does that mean that the minimalism is the mental health issue? My answer is another no.

    Logically, your conclusions don't follow from what I said. I didn't make anything like the claims you are trying to attribute to me.

    Now, if you want my opinion, which I'll freely admit, I think that simplifying beyond the limits of the functional definition I supplied previously is rash and ill advised. I think it can be very unhealthy. But I don't think it is the minimalism itself that is the problem. I don't think minimalism itself is a mental illness. I think it can be a symptom of mental illness... but as you yourself point out, having a symptom doesn't logically mean you have any of the diseases associated with that symptom. I would never claim otherwise.
    Last edited by Him; 01-10-2013 at 02:01 PM.

  5. #15
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    Minimalism is the point where utility curve reaches a maximum

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sakura_girl View Post
    Minimalism is the point where utility curve reaches a maximum
    Or would that be maximalism?

    In practice I think minimalism is like everything else involving humans...highly individual. However, when viewed strictly the envelope extends down to, "surviving on the bare minimum possible, without regard for utility, cost:benefit ratio, or any other factor." That's not a particularly good life plan as far as I'm concerned.

  7. #17
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    Okay, agreed. I think that what everyone discusses as *true* minimalism is in essence, buying only what you NEED TO SURVIVE WITHOUT DYING. And hobo's do that quite nicely.

    I think I'll use that maximalism term to describe myself now. Haha

    FYI, my furniture in my house consists of:

    1) Hard bed (my mom forced me to buy one instead of sleeping on ground) and drawers in my bedroom
    2) Dining room table with 4 chairs, computer table with a wood ergo chair, and piano
    3) Basic toiletries in bathroom
    4) Basic cookware in kitchen

    The food in my freezer is probably worth more than any one piece of furniture, with the exception of my piano and bed XD
    The most luxurious item I have that I don't use are my shot glasses. And probably my piano, since I don't play it nearly as much as I used to want to.

  8. #18
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    I strive for the William Morris approach myself: have nothing in your home you don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

    To each their own.

  9. #19
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    I don't consider what you described as minimalism because you seem to have a lot of stuff that you want but don't need. In other words, you haven't reached, and have no intention of reaching, the minimum. Minimum isn't your goal.

    This is your opinion/definition of what minimalism is. I disagree with this definition.

    In your description of simplicity, you describe balancing happiness/quality of life and your thinks. I define minimalism as this. Thus, when a person strives to have a minimum of things with maximum quality of life -- that striving is the minimalism, not the actual number of objects based on an outsider's interpretation of need.

    "if the minimalism manifests itself in ways that make you less happy, that's not healthy."
    To which I agreed.

    Logically, your conclusions don't follow from what I said.
    In the last line I quoted, you put the OP and your friend in the same category. The only commonality between the two for which we have any evidence is the amount of stuff they had. From there, you assert that the OP is unhealthy and shouldn't be encouraged.

    This is the problematic comparison. You are free to continue to deny that you did this, of course, but I did quote your post above where the comparison was made.

    What we don't know is whether or not the OP is unhealthy or unhappy. He may just have found a balance that works for him, and by your logic in this post, therefore, it could be encouraged, which is a turn from the statement that the OP shouldn't be.

  10. #20
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    FYI, my furniture in my house consists of:
    I like that.

    I think minimalism (or maximalism) is a great way to approach acquisition. Do I need this or want it? Will I use it? Can I do the same job with something else? on and on.

    I also think it's a great way to plan for specific tasks. What do I absolutely need. What do I want. What resources do I have? I have traveled long distances, for extended periods, with bags intended for overnight travel...because I'm pretty good at sorting out what I actually need and only taking that.

    I'm cautious when it comes to pairing down useful possessions because... well, right now because there are commercial interests actively selling the idea of purging because they want people to buy new stuff. There are whole genres of TV shows that sell the idea that you will feel better if you get rid of your stuff...clothes (I saw one show where the "expert" said you should get rid of any item of clothing you haven't worn in 6 months... winter lasts 2-3 months in most of the US so they were telling their viewers to dump all their winter clothes every summer... guess what they'll all need to do when winter rolls around again???), your family heirlooms, your tools, your old furniture...basically everything you aren't actively using that day. Why? So they can sell a replacement to you when you remember why you had the thing, as far as I can tell.

    I'm not advocating holding onto old newspapers or anything. Far from it... but you should apply at least as much consideration to getting rid of a possession as you applied to acquiring it in the first place. And if you see future need...if you know that yes, there will be another winter, you should almost always forgo the short-term endorphin rush and hold onto/reuse what you already own.
    Last edited by Him; 01-10-2013 at 03:35 PM.

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