What is Minimalism? | The Ancient and Modern Purpose of Minimalism.

Source: Wikipedia Commons.


By Josh Rueff on May 09, 2013

The haiku makes abstract art look like a Rembrandt. When a novice like myself writes a haiku, the communication isn’t clear, and the words fall into a wretched jumble of flowery nonsense.

But when a pro picks up a pen, a pro who writes haiku, the words rush into place. The words communicate simply but effectively the writer’s thoughts, and the reader understands. It’s short. It’s simple. It’s planned. Efficient and effective.

In many ways the life of the minimalist is like a haiku. We have to fit our best into one short and compact structure. We do this to embrace simplicity, as it triggers efficiency, well-placed priorities, and fulfillment. Just like the haiku in the hands of a beginner, minimalism starts in a jumbled mess. Garages stack more clutter before they get better. Rooms pile high with soon to be simplified “stuff”, that reek of claustrophobic stress. Doubts form in clouds of disappointment as the minimalist philosophy breeds the reverse of what it preaches.

But it’s all just a beginner’s haiku.

How many times did you fall off of your bike? How many strings were broken, ears offended, and fingers cut by the guitar?

The beginner that learns to embrace failure is the poet that becomes a pro. Reduction and simplification, owning less, minimalism: It’s a game of endurance like everything else. The glory of pushing to searing, gristly, sweaty muscle failure is not unlike the success earned from simplification. Except that it’s more mind than body. Minimalism is pushing your mind to it’s tortured limits, and then pushing some more.

What success comes without sacrifice, and what glory without conflict?

Minimalism in it’s ideal form, is life in balance – it’s a stratagem of never ending tactics, throwing fire at the incessant waves of problems before they crash down on our lives.

Minimalism is living in the ashes of materialism – it is primal beauty in the absence of consumerism.

Above all, minimalism is freedom.

Without the problems of overcomplexity, greed, overworking, poor priorities, shortage of time, and the crippling effect of debt, there would be no need for minimalism. But these are constraints and limitations that the minimalist refuses to be bound by. There are social pressures and molds and consumerism- status symbols, ads, promotions, commercials, infomercials, handouts, brochures, flyers, popups – a thousand voices, each trying to drown the other out.

The unwelcome noise is silenced by minimalism. First by cutting the vitals one by one, then reducing the voices to a whispering death rattle, then gently laying the beast to sleep. Then and only then can a man be free.

Haiku was created by peasants to earn freedom from the stifling rigidity of the shikimoku poetic structure instilled by the ruling class. They found success in simplification and minimalism.


1 Comment

  1. Abby Latham May 14, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    haha…oh, the Haiku! Love it- short and simple.


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