Sunday, February 6, 2011

Minimalism?

For a thoughtful post on minimalism, see Minimalism is not a Viable Intellectual Strategy. If the "minimalist" ideal amounts to "sitting in a bare room with a desk upon which sits only a MacBook Air, [a] backpack of possessions on one side, the broadband internet cable available but unplugged, fingers ready to type into the empty white screen of a minimalist editor," then it is all style, no substance. And as there is no style without substance, it is not even style. It's all show.

For a more substantial version of minimalism, one might take a look at Epictetus' Enchiridion: "Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions."

It has to with what you do, not with what you have. Put differently, it's not about whether you own a Mac or a PC, or whether you write and take notes with this or that program, it is about how you do these things. See also: Whose Distraction is it anyway?

Do I advocate minimalism? Sort of ... let's say ... minimally ... in a Kantian sort of way. I am not a Stoic. If that means to some (most) that I am not a real minimalist, so be it. It's one of the things not in my control.

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