March 13, 2013

"For me, it took 15 years, a great love and a lot of travel to get rid of all the inessential things I had collected..."

"... and live a bigger, better, richer life with less."

65 comments:

edutcher said...

Make living like a Euro sound cool and elegant.

The first step in the New Order, uh..., Normal.

Methadras said...

No, you chose to live a life of austerity or attempting to reach it. Attempting to make it a virtue is what your problem is. Mind your own fucking business, I don't give a shit about yours faux austere-boy.

Nonapod said...

While I appreciate minimalism I just love material possessions too much. I love all my electronic gadgets, musical instruments, and books.

Pogo said...

He didn't give his stuff to me.

bgates said...

It's bad to be wasteful, unless you're getting rid of inessential things.

It's bad to burn fuels, unless you're travelling.

Nomennovum said...

A 420sq ft studio apt. is unlikely to get you properly laid. Simple.

traditionalguy said...

Zen in action. Live small and in meditation on how unimportant things are.

OK, but why not just donate stuff and adjust to being older without kids to raise, but also without patting ones self on the back for having the great insight of a Midieval Monastary.

Pogo said...

I would like to accumulate more crap and have it run my life, then give it away and feel all cleansed.

To help me in this grand spiritual quest, please send your high-end crap to me, care of Pogo, Southern Minnesota.

Nomennovum said...

We all like to make a virtue out of necessity. Only the NY Times will put it into print.

Schorsch said...

The Bike Snob does the best send-up of these ridiculous minimalists:

http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2013/03/its-future-wednesday-and-it-sucks.html

YoungHegelian said...

I'm glad to see our betters have discovered the joy of a life of voluntary poverty

Can vows of chastity and obedience be far behind?

Mitchell the Bat said...

The 1960's was the Golden Age of essays like that, except they were written by young mothers expressing their gratitude for breakfast cereal, TV dinners and instant coffee.

Nomennovum said...

As I get older, I realize how sex with young, hot women is overrated.

Paul Zrimsek said...

If having stuff is such a curse, we're doing those Foxconn workers in China a favor by exploiting them.

I keed, I keed. Of course they'd be better off unemployed-- they're just too stoopid to realize it.

Nomennovum said...

As my income shrinks, I realize the spiritual and ecological benefits to downsizing.

Nomennovum said...

Speaking as an ex-hedge fund managing director, working for hedge funds is soul crushing and not worth the millions I used to earn.

Cath said...

All that sincere-sounding backstory, and it turns out to be a plug for his new tiny house business.

traditionalguy said...

I once knew a Greek Orthodox priest. His story was that he had given all his property to God so he could be believed in more since he was a vow of poverty man.

That's all fine, but the guy had more and better things than anyone else in his flock since they all sent him their tithe money in faith that God would bless them.

Rich TV preachers are not that new an idea either.

Bob Ellison said...

Schorsch, thanks for the link to Bike Snob NYC! Really funny stuff.

BTW, making the link actually link is easy. See here for instructions. That way you share the good stuff more quickly and completely.

Rich B said...

My space is small. My life is big. But not as big as my ego. Oh, and did I mention that I made a pile of money from my internet startup? And Olga, the Andorran beauty? No girl from Kansas for me! I have taste.

Henry said...

It's too bad Mr.Hill's commitment to minimalism doesn't extend to his prose.

Or his ego.

bagoh20 said...

I really don't understand how when people get money, they imagine that buying stuff is a rewarding thing to do with it. Do they really not get the lessons they have read and seen their whole life. Were you really that unhappy without stuff, and just how happy do you think you can be? Do want to explode with happiness into a cloud of confetti and gumballs? That's what drugs are for.

Use money to help people, to plant seeds, to build, to solve problems. It's a tool, that all. Having more tools is better, but only because you can do more with them. You don't trade your tools in for useless knickknacks.

I don't think I've ever written the word "knickknacks" before in my life. It's a special day.

YoungHegelian said...

@Tradguy,

His story was that he had given all his property to God so he could be believed in more since he was a vow of poverty man.

My brother's dissertation adviser was a Jesuit who told him "I took a vow of poverty. Other people live a life of it."

Michael said...

I once bought a house because its dining room would accomodate an oriental rug I prized. How stupid was that? I have neither now and am freer for it. It is an interesting phenomenon. The author seems to find no humor in his story.

Nomennovum said...

I really don't understand how when people get money, they imagine that buying stuff is a rewarding thing to do with it.

Really??? Money makes life easier. It makes life more comfortable. I makes your wife hotter and your children more beautiful. You are able to surronund yourself with all the beautiful things that make you happy, art, architecture, women. It shelters you from life's visisitudes. Money may not guarantee happiness, but it makes it more likely.

Michael said...

BikeSnob did the best takedown possible. Humiliaring! Awesome. Thanks for the link.

TosaGuy said...

"The author seems to find no humor in his story."

moral preening and thinking one is the first person to find enlightenment for what most people find banal is difficult to pull off with humor.

elkh1 said...

"Like the 420-square-foot space I live in..."

A typical stinking rich ugly American, 420 square feet living space for one person.

When I was young, we, nine kids and our parents, lived in a 400-square-foot apt in Hong Kong. We never felt deprived, or the place small. We all graduated from college, no gang bangers, a couple doctors...

Nomennovum said...

Money also allows you to buy extra pairs of reading glasses to help identify stupid typos.

Robert Cook said...

bagoh20 said...

"I really don't understand how when people get money, they imagine that buying stuff is a rewarding thing to do with it."

Because that's what we're supposed to do, that's what we're indoctrinated to believe is the fulfillment of our reason for being. Even in the wake of the 9/11 disaster, President Bush exhorted us to keep on as normal, to "keep shopping."

Capitalism as a system collapses if we are frugal and don't buy things all the time. This is what it all comes down to, ultimately. We're taught that the acme of life is to acquire riches and, with riches, acquire things, (or, to acquire things and accumulate the "riches" incrementally over time to pay for what we've already used and grown tired of).

Well, things are fine and having them is fine...if they serve an actual need we have, but our needs are not endless and neither are the reasons for us to keep acquiring things. We end up acquiring things merely to divert us from our boredom, to fill up our emptiness, to satisfy our insatiable desire for novelty.

Our society's defining quality is gluttony, metaphorically and literally. WALL-E showed us chillingly who we are now, but concluded with an unrealistically optimistic ending. The real end will be what came in the first half of the film, the earth as a global land-fill, bankrupt of life.

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Nomennovum said...

Capitalism as a system collapses if we are frugal and don't buy things all the time."

Utter bullshit. Complete crap. Total nonsense. Perfect balderdash. Robert Cook, you are making shit up and you don't know what you are talking about.

Robert Cook said...

Nomennovum, methinks you doth protest too much. I hit a nerve with you, as you know in your gut I'm right.

Nomennovum said...

"Nomennovum, methinks you doth protest too much."

The world may owe Shakespeare a great debt for his works, but he also owes us for all for having to endure the dimwits who o'er-use ye olde cliche.

Cook, you have no clue how free markets work. You made that clear with that statement.

bpm4532 said...

Commit a crime and he'd really learn what it's like to live with less.

bpm4532 said...

Thoreau he's not.

Andrew said...

It took this dude 15 years to get rid of all the inessentials in his life, what a fucking lazy moron.

Richard Dolan said...

What's missing in his narrative of small/internet/travel/tree-hugger/Olga is not just stuff, but family -- specifically, kids. But I suppose that would increase his carbon footprint beyond whatever offsets might be available in whatever market one buys such things (happily, they are non-stuff, so you can accumulate them with abandon).

And this comment, in the string above, is silly: "Capitalism as a system collapses if we are frugal and don't buy things all the time."

Nomennovum said...

It took this dude 15 years to get rid of all the inessentials in his life, what a fucking lazy moron.



Yeah. Get a divorce and lose it in a day.

m stone said...

Curious that this fellow is always developing new start-ups, a longstanding compulsion of his.

In reality, he is constantly acquiring.

Unknown said...

Short summary: "Life is a journey. Here, let me tell you about my destination."

Erika said...

The ability of New York/Washington media to overestimate the entertainment value in the musings of wealthy, self-absorbed twits never fails to amaze me.

virgil xenophon said...

The only thing money can't buy is poverty..

virgil xenophon said...

It's one thing to voluntarily pull the plug on cable TV and the 60" flat-screen for a life of soul-satisfying introspection; it's quite another thing entirely for the Commissar to demand it under pain of penalty..

"Barack Will Never Allow You To Go Back To Your Lives As Usual."

-------Michelle Obama

traditionalguy said...

Actually capitalism does collapse if people don't buy things. It's called the business cycle.

The trick is to get buyers all over the developing world and a Pax Americana to keep shipping lanes opened.

That was the colonies' value to Madrid, London, Paris, Amsterdam and St Petersburg.

Today's largest capitalist endeavor in history is called China and it NEEDS its colony called America.

The other way capitalism cranks up is called War. The Current world geniuses want a War on CO2.

virgil xenophon said...

PS to my comment @1:24pm:

"...unless it's spent by a government bureaucrat."

virgil xenophon said...

Actually TG is largely correct. There has never been a "steady-state" democratic capitalist society. The leftist British economist/historian Mary Kaldor calls capitalism and its foundation of rapidly expanding high-growth "survival of the fastest." But the real reason that the leftist nirvana of "steady-state" "sustainable" (to us the au courrant Agenda21 greenie terminology) has never appealed to the masses is the "cruel neutrality" it demands of its participants. Think the plains of Africa prior to the white man. "Steady-State" societies absolutely demand that the ruthless application of the principle of "survival of the fittest"reign supreme if a given population is to exist within a bounded economic/social universe of finite resources..

William said...

And the Dali Lama told me that, "when you die, on your deathbed you will receive total consciousness, so I got that going for me" Caddy Shack.

I guess that is what happens when you move into a 420 square apartment.

tiger said...

Where did my post go?!?!?!?!?

I pointed out that it always seems to be rich people who are telling us to get rid of our stuff.

elkh1 said...

If the filthy rich don't consume, the worker who needs to earn a living will be broke. Big Govt. can tax the rich and give to the unemployed worker taking away his self worth and self esteem, making him dependent on Big Govt.

If the filthy rich Hill didn't buy the million dollars home in Seattle, Seven would not have a job to buy things for the filthy rich Hill, those who make furniture and stuffs to stuff the filthy rich's home would not have a job, those who sell things to Hill via Seven would not make a commission to raise their families.

The filthy rich are doing quite a bit of service to rescue fellow human beings from a life of poverty. They are doing more for humanity than Big Govt which fosters dependency.

A dollar Big Govt gives to the poor is welfare, a dollar earned by the poor providing service to the filthy rich is income.

GrandpaMark said...

"Nomennovum, methinks you doth protest too much."

"The world may owe Shakespeare a great debt for his works, but he also owes us for all for having to endure the dimwits who o'er-use ye olde cliche."

NOW, that's funny


Mick Havoc said...

I am chagrined that this navel-gazing douchebag shares his name with one of the greatest men to ever hold a steering wheel.

Dante said...

Enormous consumption has global, environmental and social consequences. For at least 335 consecutive months, the average temperature of the globe has exceeded the average for the 20th century

Here's where I had to stop. Why do people who made money always think they can dictate to others how to live? Perhaps he has the guilt of helping more people to become wealthier. Now he has to consider perhaps that was a bad idea.

The guy could help by traveling less, and giving the money to Solyndra and other solar companies.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Enormous consumption has global, environmental and social consequences. For at least 335 consecutive months, the average temperature of the globe has exceeded the average for the 20th century

I read it up until he started blathering on about global warming......pfffft. After that is is all wah wah wah sounds like in the Charlie Brown cartoon.

The problem with people like this is that they have no roots or real connections to anything so they try to fill up their empty lives with meaningless stuff.

Having possessions isn't the problem. It is not having any memories or connections to the things that fill up your space. I can look at 75% of the items in my house, and they mean something to me. Family heirlooms that remind me of my parents. Stories connected to the Seth Thomas clock that was my Great Great Grandmother's wedding clock in 1857 and that soothed my Grandmother when she was a child in 1896. Items that my husband and I discovered in cute out of the way antique shops that evoke fond memories of the hunt for treasures. Things that I made or were made by someone that means something to me.

The other 25% of stuff...utilitarian thingies.....who cares.

People do tend to live in larger spaces than in the past, but to go the opposite direction and become a self flagellating hermit living in a self imposed cell, isn't buying you any brownie points or paving a pathway to heaven either. Self congratulatory deprivation is not a virtue. It is a vice and a sin. Pride goeth before a fall.

phx said...

For me, it took 15 years, a great love and a lot of travel to get rid of all the intestinal things I had collected...

ampersand said...

Not to worry Graham. When Olga finds a good Palimony attorney you'll be doing with even less.

Nini said...

Wealth is a tool. It's how you use it.

Freeman Hunt said...

Olga is thinking, "I hope no one I know recognizes that this Olga is me..."

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Money may not guarantee happiness, but it makes it more likely.

Someone's ripping your ass off on the generic Prozac they're selling you. Must be one happy pharmacist you're getting your stuff from.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

I read it up until he started blathering on about global warming......pfffft.

To Dust Bunny it's either one hot molten ball of fire or it's just not dramatic enough!

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Capitalism as a system collapses if we are frugal and don't buy things all the time.

Well, growth certainly does.

The problem with endless growth is that it requires ever-increasing demand. And the only way for demand to constantly increase is to never be satisfied.

I conclude that Nomennovum is a woman.

Inga said...

NoNoNovum is bitter.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

That is true, Inga. Some women actually do experience satisfaction in their lifetimes.

And as for Nomennovum, he/she/it is apparently not one of them.

Scott said...

You never realize how much crap you have accumulated until you move to another house..

Scott said...

You never realize how much crap you have accumulated until you move to another house..