Sunday, July 18, 2010

Minimalism and freedom

In the last year my desire for material possessions has fallen. It began years ago when traveling with my buddy and he wanted to take pictures of a famous spot and I replied, "There are pictures of that on the internet." The next step was realizing that I do not have to own something to appreciate it. A small apartment fits me well. I am never to far from my laptop, my bed, or the kitchen. My laptop has a long cord that reaches essentially the entire apartment and with my external speakers plugged in I can hear This American Life, RadioLab, or Pandora from wherever I am without moving the laptop from wherever it is.

I also have no intention of buying real estate, neither to live in nor as an investment. I fully understand the tax advantages of owning ones own home, but I also understand that I can rent a new apartment or leave the current one without much more than loosing a months rent. This flexibilty is worth far more than the foregone capital gains. Plus, I don't have to worry about upkeep, taxes, gas, etc. Remodel? No way. Get a different apartment. But moving sucks! Not if you don't own much that weighs you down. Next move will either be into a furnished place or I will buy inflatable furniture. My greatest concern is whether an inflatable bed will be firm enough. By getting rid of most of my stuff and long term obligations I will be able to what I want, who I want, where I want, when I want (wyw^4. I will keep lower case and drop the "^" to save key strokes.)

The blog motivates post. I don't get simplicity for its own sake, though I appreciate when simplicity helps one accomplish their goals. I look as these recent posts picture and comparison. I understand they look simple, but do they help you do wyw^3?

I look at the picture and see a nicely appointed living room with clean lines, but a world of complications underlying it-mortgage, earing the money to pay for it, selecting the furniture or interior designer, worrying about keeping it spotless, washing the windows or hiring someone to do it, having to buy the place and then sell it, etc. The aesthetic simplicity is a facade. UWC is that living room simple? Only if you assume that all the complications I listed are avoidable. I'd prefer rent a place and leave. No hassles.

The comparison is odd to me because while one button is simple, the freedom it allows is very limited. I feel trapped by one button. I want to search freely. And the "Your company" option is ridiculous to compare because how else would one suggest entering this information? Does ITunes not have similar forms?

My point is that simplicity is more than skin deep and I am not sure that simplicity is a worthy end in itself, but rather a proximate end to some preference based form of efficiency that is significantly different from my goal of wyw4. How to live wyw4 will be explored. And yes, these theme is consistent with UWC, because what is wyw4 depends on may factors, such as whether one has kids, how much money they have, and their health.

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