Pragmatic Minimalism

11 August 2015

Minimalism has inundated graphic design as a trendy aesthetic. But it also yields a beautiful, elegant, and conscious lifestyle. Fewer possessions can foster greater happiness with the select few. As a general rule, I subscribe to this.


But too much minimalism favors the rich.


Not owning a backpack or purse is possible for a true minimalist, for she could simply buy the things she needs as she goes. For instance, there would be no purpose for owning a water-bottle because she could purchase an iced beverage when thirst bemoans her. Although minimal in ownership, this mentality encourages a lifestyle of heavy-spending and high-risk. This seems misaligned with minimalism’s values.


A good person ought be prepared. Carrying a single lighter on a camping expedition is minimalism, but what happens when that lighter is lost, damaged, or dead? Preparedness sometimes requires redundancy. Packing two lighters may seem sacrilegious to the devout minimalist, but the risk mitigation for future expenditure resonates with a deeper devotion to the cause. So I propose a new ideology. One that rides off the coattails of frugality, thriftiness, and the simple aesthetic. Boy Scout-approved and inspired by modernism, the pragmatic minimalist is born.


Each asset the pragmatic minimalist possesses, every relationship the minimalist shares, and in each activity the minimalist practices, should be assessed with these questions: Do I enjoy this entity? Do I use this on a regular basis? What is in jeopardy if I am without it? Through answering these, the minimalist can determine the significance of the entity within his life. If the entity need not be part of his life, remove it. But don’t be too stringent.


The pragmatic minimalist has a few things and a few extra things. This statement should be taken literally, not liberally. Designing a lifestyle that incorporates enough for one to be self-reliant, but not so much that there is excess is a fine line to ride. But if ridden carefully, it yields a wonderful life.