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Stoicism and Minimalism Are Great When They're Optional

by Everyday Junglist 2 months ago in opinion

Choosing to Deprive Oneself is Not the Same Thing as Being Deprived

Image by Michael Shelmet from Pixabay

The popularity of stoicism among the techgeoisie of Silicon Valley has been remarked upon by many. Most often the tone of such commentary takes a distinct form, befuddled praise. The befuddlement is expressed as wonder at why men (and they are almost always men) who seemingly have everything and want for nothing would subject themselves to voluntary deprivations. The praise flows from this amazement as it is then suggested that such a thing must require a great deal of self control, and humility, and other characteristics that these men most definitely do not possess. What they do not realize or choose to ignore is the fact that much like its still trendy sub genre minimalism, stoicism is a school of thought which is only available to the elite. When you have no fear of illness driving you to bankruptcy, can eat whatever you want whenever you want, have children who go to the best schools, and live in the safest neighborhood you don’t ever actually suffer. You are never actually deprived of anything except by choice. The nice thing about choosing to ‘suffer’ or choosing to deprive yourself of something or some things is that you can quit anytime it gets too hard. Go back to your life of privilege content in the knowledge that you now understand how the ‘other half lives.’ But you never really do, you never even come close, because you can’t understand. You simply are not capable of understanding, and probably never will be. If you did understand you would realize that pretending to be something you are not is the surest sign that what you are sucks.

Minimalism is a Sick Joke

Simplify Your Life for the Rich Or Just Get By For Everyone Else

Can we please stop with the smug “think pieces” by self satisfied assholes extolling the virtues of minimalism. Look, I get it, you are rich, you can afford to “live with less stuff.” I, on the other hand, am poor, I do not have enough stuff. I would like to get more stuff but unfortunately being poor I cannot afford said stuff. If you would like to live with less of your stuff I would be happy to take it for I currently am very short in the having of stuff department.

As an aid to the budding young minimalist I shall now present a translation of a few of the core tenants of minimalism by a poor person. It is my hope that this translation will aid in building a bridge of understanding between the haves who want to have less (rich people who want to feel better about themselves, aka minimalists) and the have nots who want to have more (poor people who are struggling to get by, aka the rest of us)

The less you own, the less you have to take care of.

The few things I do own I cannot afford to take care of so they are constantly breaking or breaking down which is causing me to own even less.

The less you own, the less you have to replace.

See point 1 above. My shit is constantly breaking and I really cannot afford to replace it. Sucks.

The less you own, the less money you need to earn.

I am dominating on this front. I don’t earn shit.

The less you own, the more time you have for other things (and people).

People do not like me very much because I am poor. I cannot afford to do things that people typically enjoy doing. These include things like going out to eat, going to the movies, going on a vacation, etc.

The less you own, the less things you need to protect.

This one I take issue with. The few things I do own I really need to protect the shit out of. Being poor I live in a very dangerous neighborhood. Crime, including theft, is rampant. If I do not protect the little shit I do own I will eventually have zero shit left.

It’s not always easy to want less, but we are capable of doing it. It starts with appreciating what we already have.

It is hard to appreciate things when I cannot afford to feed myself a nutritious diet.

Minimalism is not about depriving yourself of comfort. It’s not about having a poverty mindset. It’s about removing distractions from your life. Having fewer wants can greatly uncomplicate your life.

I am not comfortable at all. I live in poverty so I guess I do have a poverty mindset. I have tons of distractions mostly on account of the shit neighborhood I live in because I am poor. My life is fucking complicated as shit even though I have almost no shit. It seems to get more complicated the less shit I have.

It doesn’t mean we can’t be wealthy (if we have everything we need, we are wealthy).

In fact it means the exact opposite, only the rich can afford to be minimalists. For the rest of us minimalism is just everyday life, and it mostly sucks.

opinion

Everyday Junglist

Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/molecular biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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