When you call yourselves The Minimalists, people love to give you shit. They find it necessary to point out every irony, every seeming incongruity, every gotcha moment—everything they think makes our way of living wrong, in an effort unnecessarily justifying their lifestyle.
When our article, “The New Minimalism: Less Is Definitely More,” made the cover of Elle Canada next to a picture of Victoria Beckham, people asked why we would agree to an interview with an organ whose same issue featured an article titled “Shop Now!”
A woman at a meetup last December asked us about a newspaper interview in which we discussed minimalism, even though next to our two-page spread was a Mercedes Benz advertisement.
And now, as we prepare for our June Alberta Mini-Tour, people want to know why our Edmonton event’ll be held at a bookstore that happens to be in one of the world’s largest shopping malls.
The answer to each little cavil is simple…
We believe in our message. So much so that we’ve dedicated our lives to sharing that message with the world. We know that other people believe, too. These people already understand the power of simple living. That’s great, but we don’t need to focus all our efforts to reach those folks. Doing so is tantamount to preaching to the choir.
While we’re jump-for-joy grateful for all attending choir members (y’all’re awesome!), we know they don’t need our message as much as new congregation members, first-timers with whom we want to share the happiness, contentment, and freedom that minimalism has brought to our lives.
And what better place to broadcast our message than in the belly of the beast? Why not let our message ring out among the masses—amid the shiny chattels, the chinging cash registers, the high-priced advertisements. Why not let people choose their own path once they’re presented two different POVs from two sides of the Consumption Continuum.
Which in fact means we’re not preaching at all. We know that everyone has different needs, and we’re simply presenting options and letting people decide for themselves. Besides, The Minimalists aren’t against ordinary consumption; that’d be silly. We’re at odds only with compulsory consumption and unintentional living.
Accordingly, we’re sometimes forced to take the war to the opposition’s doorstep. That opposition, however, isn’t the magazines or the advertisers or even the shopping malls. The opposition is us—who we are inside when we’re living without purpose, without deliberate thought, searching, unaware of life’s real potential once we get past our years of cultural programming.
Once we wake up, though—once we open our eyes and see the benefits of a more meaningful life—all the ads and glowing rectangles in the world won’t phase us.