Minimalism is the slut shaming of consumerism
There is more to the new bohemian lifestyle than meets the eye: richsplaining!
I don’t get it. Sure, it is no one’s business to help me get it, but in all honesty, isn’t it kind of weird that all of a sudden the holy grail of achievement in life is the lack of possessions and the constant wandering around the planet?
Are there no people left that enjoy being rich?
Last April I threw out everything in my life except three outfits, a computer, an iPad, and a phone. And two bags to carry them in. I live in Airbnbs that are furnished. James Altucher
I hate that I am writing this. I hate it because I love a lot of James Altucher’s work. But sometimes, as I have written here before, I can’t grasp for the love of God, why do rich people feel the need to inform us the rest that there is no holy grail on the other side of “the curtain”?
Shocker comparison: Altucher, Hanson, Vaynerchuk are different somehow from Musk, Sean Parker, Aubrey de Grey. Don’t know why, I am not rich, I am hundreds of degrees of separation from them. Unlike some of them who lost millions, I lost thousands at best, so I can’t fully grasp their insights, but the two groups feel different to me. Some actually do stuff with their money, stuff outside than gambling capital at the casino of business.
Altucher writes: “People think money is freedom. This is not true. But it’s a cliche to say that.” Well, I always thought money buys time, time equals freedom, therefore money buys freedom. But, then again, I did not have the experience of millions. Richard Branson has the experience of millions and apparently it does buy some freedom for him. So it does for John McAfee, remember that guy? Of course, freedom is a wide concept.
We’re under a siege of similar information. Do you know of Keanu Reeves traveling to some place in a subway? Look it up. Back? So my question is, did he have to be in his cubicle at 9AM with a boss whose wife is cheating while he knows it? I bet you not. And Keanu is the coolest person on the planet and apparently has a weird hand dealt at him from life: for all the success just as much tragedy. So appreciate that, not that some financially accomplished person uses a crappy means of transportation. Just because you share a ride with a star doesn’t make the ride less shitty overall.
To all the people who squandered fortunes and lived to brag about it:
There is no spiritual lesson in losing money. There is only a financial lesson: manage your assets!
Management is empowerment. Management of assets means empowering your property to be more than decaying ownership. That’s about it.
There are so many stories with this script: I had the money, I lost the money, look, it’s no biggie to have money, actually money is not that important. What are they for? It is a freaking biggie. It is a biggie if you move upward a bit on an imaginary scale of human potential and realize that a few among us poor mortals, some very lucky folks, get amazing chances to be social transformers and they blow them without ever thinking twice.
I don’t know. I’ve never lost millions. However I am, holy shit am I, judging some people who have. Not the risk takers. Not the entrepreneurs. The schemers. The sore losers. Those one hit wonders who suddenly become enlightened and preach laziness. Reading the thoughts of these people, I am constantly reminded of some famous pop rock artists who, after a life of doing whatever they please, at huge standards of living, find their conservative morally superior voice at 60 years old. Well, damn, it’s a bit late.
Travel is the new Yacht.
And just as for a yacht your best memory is the day you bought it, for travel you’re likely to have a similar experience. Somehow we’re flooded with all kinds of people who act the role of Leonardo DiCaprio in The beach and call us to all those magic “hidden” places. Somehow the new achievement to unlock is to semi-retire in a string of pack and go locations in poor countries of the planet. But the places are not hidden at all. They are inaccessible. That’s a different story, a story about colonial and cultural exploitation of poor people in opportunity scarce geographies.
One of the most embarrassing parts of the new yacht is that at least the yacht was damn expensive. Buying it was expensive. Owning it was expensive. It meant you had a bigger dick and all that. But now it is worse! Anyone can “travel” to poverty stricken parts of the planet and steal the sun and the beach there. Anyone can “visit” or “experience” countries who recover from decades of dictatorship and have fun in the under-regulated social systems of countries who can’t find their identity yet. Lauding this in a metaphorical opposition with the developed world where “everything just works” is at best shameful.
Minimalism is the slut shaming of consumerism
This new breed of humans who reside inside a small backpack are of two types: those who are happy and do their thing, and those who think they have found the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
This is a pity. I have had another similar revolt in my past, a revolt on the shitty idea that one has to be poor in order to advance spiritually. It is not true. Some are helped by being poor, and they are a very small, select, number of, prepare yourself, single men!
I have gone up in the past 15 years of my life from searching coins in the park to buy bread, or making bread from flower and water, not because I wanted it additives free but because it was cheaper, to Paper Towels. Fucking paper towels! Paper Towels are the genius product that make me a happy consumer. I have pets and I am clumsy and I hate laundry and those recycled (I hope) paper squares save chunks of my life, and I can afford to use them. I can buy them.
You know why I can buy paper towels? Because there are so many people, including me, who buy cars, houses, clothing, books, useless stationery and Moleskine notepads, bottled water, shoes, socks, coats, appliances, TVs, computers, phones, vacations, haircuts, nail jobs … insert random consuming habit here.
What is this new craze of being “possessions free”? Do we need a new paradigm to soften us to the shit ahead in the “sharing economy”? For now, this new deal of having a big brother administering all the stuff and you being a mere user is simply a new stage of capital which invaded property, with the same inner goals of extraction.
“The word happy comes from the word ‘happenstance’. Which means ‘something outside of yourself’ [ … ] I wanted my happiness to come from something inside of myself. Nothing outside was going to make me happy.”
Here is your new devil versus deity, right versus wrong, people of two thousand and sixteen: outside versus inside. I think we had this before, but boy does this deserve a rerun!
The new third dimensional split. What is it? Well, you’re split between right and wrong, the moral dimension, you’re split between good and evil, the spiritual dimension, now you’re split between inside and outside the personal dimension. We could barely manage the first two, what now, we’re expected to give up our outside? Or our inside .. or .. nah, I don’t get it.
Folks, people have things. It is OK to have things. It is even OK to have useless things. People keep stuff so that they don’t waste their time procuring them every time they want a do over. Ancient horsemen carried all kinds of crap with them wherever they went. Do you know why having things is nice? Because it allows you to do all those other things which you cannot own: friendships, creativity, freedom.
There is a common trait of all these people claiming the miracle of frugality and writing blogs all day about it: kid free, pet free, sometimes significant other free and having very special skills. Sure, maybe it is a coincidence but still, have you noticed how most of this minimalist advice comes from single people, especially single men? There are exceptions, sure, but, I mean, in all my reading I’ve barely found one woman talking about minimalist lifestyle, and she was a minimalist fashionista! She did own her own apartment and all the stuff in it, so it could theoretically count, but not so much. The rest of the people? Well, they make some awesome fun of folks living in tiny houses, because there is fun to be made for sure. High five people living in tiny houses, but I like my rooms large, so that I can fit in them all the stuff I consume as the consumer that I am.
I am tired of being slut shamed, sure indirectly online but very much directly off line, for consuming the mass production of stuff in the age of abundance. Of course, all discourse about responsibility and awareness of the sources of abundance, of how we’re sitting on soft cushions of child labor for example, they’re more than welcome, I’ll amplify them. But the new minimalist peak of beingness is gross because it messes up our future.
Oh boy, another one. Just as the sister splaining types, this one is about the same behavior: you explain a problem to the people who have the problem while in the position of not having the problem, assuming that you know more about the problems the people with the problem are having.
Guys and girls, let’s make a deal: if you were rich or still are rich, that means if you are anywhere in the .7% of the world’s population owning more than one million USD, stop richsplaining! To make it easier for you, richsplaining it is the same as those jokes white people should not make!