the dark side of minimalism
I sat down to write an article this week titled, The Dark Side of Minimalism. My “beware of minimalism” sermon was so ready to pour forth. It was gonna go like so:
I stand in my very strong values of minimalism, anti-consumerism, and simplicity. These movements fuel my faith in human consciousness. Increasingly, we are voting with our dollars, ceasing to fill the holes in our souls with plastic stuff, and living more lightly on a highly-burdened eco-system. Uncluttering, vigilante consumerism, and simplification are outbursts of enlightenment. Howevah…
Fear n’ loathing can lurk beneath “right action.” We can use beautiful concepts to reinforce ugly lies about our esteem and self worth. We can use austerity to punish ourselves, and frugality to keep abundance at bay.
So…that’s how I would have kicked ‘er off. But I came across a post from Lianne Raymond, who is like, the Majesty of Questioning Just About Everything: Red Winkle Picker Regret and The Dark Side of Decluttering. And well, I just can’t top this:
Now decluttering has gone mega mainstream. It’s almost religious. It’s rarely questioned. There are gurus and gospels to follow. Salvation shall be yours through decluttering. …
There are some other really obvious reasons why the declutter cult has taken off –
1. Control – In a world that seems out of control, decluttering and organizing can provide an illusion of control. (This is my hall closet).
2. Guilt – as the world continues to shrink, we can more and more see how our unconscious consumption is linked with developing world living conditions and climate change. To purge our possessions can feel like a cleansing confession. (Go in peace and sin no more – and throw in three Hail Marys for good measure.)
3. Perfection/Salvation – all my problems will be solved, my life will be perfect and I will find eternal happiness when I get rid of all my clutter and get organized. (This is a variation on “I will be happy when I am skinny.”)
4. Freedom – getting rid of stuff can give us a temporary hit of feeling free. When our lives feel full of obligation, this is alluring.
When you dig deeper into any of these, you will likely find fear. And if you do have a lot of junk in your life and dig into why you ended up with it in the first place – guess who’s coming to dinner? – fear. So if you are purging from the same mindset that you had while procuring – well, that’s just the other side of the same coin, honey.
Lianne’s lucid, provocative piece goes as deep as asserting that our urge to purge is “pathologizing the feminine in favour of celebrating the masculine” Uhhuh. Like I said, I can’t top that.
Dig it yourself: Red Winkle Picker Regret and The Dark Side of Decluttering
Yours in self-love and the kind of minimalism that affirms your goodness, not your lack.