VictoriaF wrote:I've been thinking that the concept of minimalism contains an internal contradiction. Keeping everything at the minimum requires nontrivial effort. But nontrivial effort is non-minimal effort, and thus to be a minimalist one can't behave minimally.
Now, a maximalist is a different story: maximum effort for maximum everything.
But if a minimalist can't behave minimally, how is it that you, a minimalist I think, could produce the most minimalistic post on this thread: a period? Just one beautiful little .
My point (smile) was that creating one beautiful minimalist point took non-minimal amount of thinking and experimentation.
Fallible wrote:Even if minimalism takes some effort, what a delightful effort it is to recognize true essence and strip away the nonessentials. I also suspect true minimalists are born to prefer the least, though they may have to learn to recognize true essence in all things. Can you remember as a child saying or thinking something like, "This is all I need to do that. I don't need all that other stuff"? (This of course usually requires that you have a goal and know the best way to get there.) Or did you enjoy learning what nonessentials were and then almost gleefully stripping them away? Or sometimes knowing essence is intuitive, you just sense it, or at least you can see what is nonessential, allowing you to get to the essential.
The minimal outcome can be quite elegant, even beautiful. Stripping stuff away is a liberating experience. But a liberating or rewarding experience is not necessarily a minimal experience, in fact, it seldom is. And why would we want to shortcut pleasurable experiences?
Fallible wrote:And yet you're right about the nontrivial (not the math/engineering kind, right?) effort If you apply minimalism to writing, in which case you would write concisely, succinctly, making every word count. You would, as Will Strunk said in The Elements of Style, "Omit needless words." Experienced writers know that writing long is often easier, lazy writing; writing tight takes more mental effort. But isn't it worth it?
You hit the nail on the head! Writing is the best example I know where less is more, but getting to less takes more work, much much more work.
Do you remember Ariely's examples of the endowment effect where students valued their
mugs more than identical mugs at the university shop (test and control groups of students, respectively)? I think we also experience a strong endowment effect with the words we put on the page
. As soon as we have thought of something, as soon as we have written or typed it, it becomes ours and thus very difficult to let go. Someone should write a dissertation about it.
Few understand that procrastination is our natural defense, letting things take care of themselves and exercise their antifragility (Nassim Taleb).