Minimalism: More Than Just Visual Rhetoric

Minimalism: More Than Just Visual Rhetoric

What frustrates me most about people's sudden inclination (or aversion) towards minimalism is not its strongly divisive nature, but that, often times, people don't consider minimalism's psychological implications.

On the surface, minimalism is an aesthetic: white walls, clean lines, visual austerity. The effect? Impersonal simplicity. In other words, the fabrication of a perfect, lifeless reality (which does not exist)––what I consider to be the complete opposite of true minimalism itself. This viewpoint of minimalism is not superficial in particular, but a defense mechanism we put into use when we sense uncertainty or chaos, and need to feel in control.

If minimalism was considered, not just as a stylistic effect, but as a process of reduction, what would come of it would be what I consider to be true minimalism––needing fewer things in order to feel full. The difference between these two contradictory viewpoints is that, one uses what is external to avoid the messiness of internal self-examination, while the other confronts the mess (i.e. life), accepts it, and builds itself a world that is resilient enough to handle it. The latter, to me, is true minimalism.

If you, too, are interested in finding true minimalism, take awhile to contemplate the following:

- How do objects, or what I surround myself with, affect me?

- What are my (emotional and physical) needs?

- What is the purpose of the objects that I surround myself with? Do they fulfill a need?

- How can objects help me design a lifestyle which fulfills my needs?

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