Minimalism begins with emotional and functional strategies for coping with the things in affluent society and shaping the daily lives of a growing number of people.
Today it is closely linked to issues such as sustainability, climate protection and solidarity with the underprivileged. The average European has about 10,000 pieces. It is doubtful whether they are all really necessary. So for many people, less is more. They are rethinking their consumption habits and want to live a more mindful life. And so they pay more specific attention to what they buy, how and where it’s made, and the consequences of everyday use,” says Claudia Silber, head of company communications in an online environmental ordering company memo. The fact that people own so many things has been under-reported for many years. and documentaries about messie syndrome and in the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
Those who organize their lives in a simple way live with as little consumption as possible and rely on second-hand, repair and borrowing rather than buying.
Another reason for this is that most people today want to be as mobile, flexible, and agile as possible. Americans Joshua Fields Melbourne and Ryan Nicodemus stripped themselves of nearly all of their possessions in order to live a simpler life. They documented their experiences in their film “Minimalism,” which won the Best Independent Film award in 2016. The feature film “100 Dinge” (2018) by director and actor Florian David Fitz is also dedicated to this topic: Matthias Schweigover plays two entrepreneurs and friends from Berlin They embark on a financial bet with their employees: they want 100 to carry out their days without “all that stuff”. Their apartments are cleared by colleagues and their belongings are moved to a self-storage room. Every day you can restore one item. They begin to ask themselves and their relationship to their things and consumption: “If I buy things to be happy, what does it mean on the contrary?” – “You are not happy. Otherwise, you will just stop.” The film is based on the Finnish documentary My Stuff. What do you really need? (2015), where I conducted the experiment for over a year. Again, it’s about knowing what’s really important. For many people today, minimalism is an opportunity to take back control of their lives and gain an overview and control over them.
For the younger generations, minimalism is emerging as a new phenomenon that is changing culture in Germany.
However, the debate over wealth, property, and basic human needs has a long, unseen tradition in popular discourse. So the reader of Minimalism opens up the complexity of the phenomenon for the first time through various scholarly perspectives from cultural anthropology, sociology, ethnology, cultural psychology, Catholic theology, East Asian art history, and design history. It also shows that the religious texts and texts of Greek philosophy are powerful historical sources discussing temperance. In the Christian tradition, minimalism is derived from following Jesus who was born in poverty according to Luke 2:1-8. Efforts to achieve a simple and sustainable lifestyle are in keeping with Christian traditions. Avoiding false dependencies and attachment to material goods is also the theme of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:19-20). In Luke’s gospel, this is related to the issue of proper care (Luke 12:22-23, 30b-33a).
Unfortunately, current debates rarely indicate that the poor are more dependent on techniques such as barter, sharing, and reform than the rich. For the war and post-war generation – but also for many people in poor conditions today – these were not and are not considered “lifestyle decisions”, but necessary survival strategies. Editor Heik Derwans is a Junior Professor of Culture at Karl von Ossetsky University in Oldenburg. Since 2018, she has been conducting research in the DFG-funded “Textile Minimalism” project. Pioneers of sustainable practice? “Everyday Practices of German-speaking Minimalists. As a result of a workshop on Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Minimalism, the volume is part of the research project “Minimalist Textiles – Pioneers of Sustainable Practice?” (2018-2021).