View onlineLetter Nº7

Obsolete Things

by The Minimalists

There are many things that once brought joy to our lives but no longer serve a purpose in today's world.

Fax machines.
Pleated khakis.
Mail-order catalogs.
Palm Pilots.
The Furby.

But most of us clung to these artifacts well into their obsolescence, often out of a pious sense of nostalgia. The hallmarks of the past have a strange way of leaving claw marks on the present.

We hold deathgrips on our VHS collections, our unused flip phones, our oversized Bugle Boy jeans—not repairing or recycling these items, but storing them with the rest of our untouched hoard. As our collections grow, our basements, closets, and attics become purgatories of stuff, our lives overflowing with unemployed miscellanea. Your life is likely still filled with things that’ve fallen into disuse, and this lack of use is the final sign that you should let go.

You see, as our needs, desires, and technologies change, so does the world around us. The objects that add value today may not add value tomorrow, which means we must be willing to let go of everything, even the tools that serve a purpose today. For if we let go, we can find temporary new homes for our neglected belongings and allow them to serve a purpose in someone else’s life, if only for a while, instead of collecting dust in our homegrown mausoleums.

On a long enough timeline, everything becomes obsolete. A hundred years from now the world will be filled with new humans, and they'll've abandoned their USB cables, iPhones, and flatscreen televisions, letting go of the past to make room for the future.

This means we must be responsible about the new bits and pieces we bring into our lives today, and we must be equally sensible when those things become obsolete. A willingness to let go is life's most mature virtue.


Minimalism in the Long Run

by Dominic DiMaria

The encompassing question of the dregs of the rampant removal and/or replacement of my belongings is this: what shall I commit to permanence and what shall I not?

Certainly there are things I need.

Certainly there are things I do not.

Certainly there are things that, should I wish to enjoy owning, I must upgrade—as long as this status change does not lead to stress.

Minimalism does not have to be modernism. In fact, I see it in greater alignment with the philosophy of Wabi-Sabi. There is beauty in used things. In old things. In worn things. In scars.

Should I need to replace something, I look to the future and think forward. Is this something I want to grow old with?

That is the question.

And perhaps this philosophy applies also to things that aren’t things at all.

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