Minimalism: A Response to Modern-Day Materialism

| December 28, 2016

While so many have been busy purchasing, giving, and returning presents this holiday season, the new film Minimalism reminds us that there is another way to live. This film chronicles the evolution of the American Dream, which began as the desire to create a life in the United States, has become the empty desire to purchase and consume as much as possible. The alternative to this is known as minimalism, which is the theory that the most important things in life are not things at all.

Throughout the documentary, you meet several young people who have each had their own experiences living as avid consumers. One of these minimalists is Joshua Fields Millburn, whose life revolved around the cycle of working at a job he disliked and then spending his money on meaningless material possessions in an effort to feel as though his hard work was worthwhile. Joshua lived in this circular trap until his mother died and his marriage collapsed in the same month. It was not until his life reached this tragedy that he finally took an introspective look at his life and realized that material possessions never satisfied him.

My response to this film is critical adulation. Possessions often distract from what is important in life. However, the sheer absence of belongings does not give life meaning, which the film does not address. A relationship with God, family, and friends are what makes life meaningful, which freedom from belongings can, of course, help facilitate.