Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

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Minimalistic

Mandalay Beach, Oxnard Shores, Ventura County, California, USA

August 28, 2020

"Just like the front and the back of the hand, being and action are distinct yet inseparable." ... 
"Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it." ... Joshua Becker

"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail." ... Henry David Thoreau
This essay, Minimalistic, is the sixteenth entry in The Laurence Platt Dictionary:


For me, "minimalistic" (both the adjective and the noun from which it derives, "minimalism") pertains to more than art, design, interior design, furnishing, style, or even lifestyle. To be sure, all forms of minimalistic ways / minimalism, are attractive to me. They all resonate with me. They designate the antithesis of excess, the simplicity of functionality, the pragmatism of pure utility. So I'm not about to decry minimalistic ways or (in totality) minimalism, nor am I about to decry living minimalistically.

What I'm going to do instead is extend the idea of being minimalistic as a genre of art, and as a way of style and lifestyle, to include a way of being  - in other words, I assert minimalism includes the possibility of being  minimalistic. And I'm entering this essay in the Laurence Platt Dictionary because others such as the Cambridge International Dictionary peg "minimalistic" to a genre of art, style, and lifestyle without including in its definition a distinction of the possibility of being  minimalistic.

Here's the Cambridge International Dictionary's definition of "minimalistic":

<quote>
Definition
minimalistic


adjective
using the smallest range of materials and colors possible, and only very simple shapes or forms
<unquote>

That's "minimalistic" pertaining to a genre of art, and to a way of style and lifestyle. What then can be said to distinguish "minimalistic" pertaining to a way of being?

To be minimalistic as a way of being, is to live the possibility of simply being  being enough (my doubled "being" is not a typo). That's my first cut at this. Oh? Why only the first  cut? Because spoken that way, it's still dichotomous  - which means there are still two components: there's (one) being, and there's (two) simply being being enough. Therefore I propose the second (non-dichotomous) cut as: to be minimalistic as a way of being, is to be. Period. That's all. Nothing more, nothing less.

"Wait!" you say, "What about what there is to do?  What about action?". I know this may be counter-intuitive, but action isn't separate from being. "Oh yes it is!"  you avow. No, it isn't. Werner distinguishes "Just like the front and the back of the hand, being and action are distinct yet inseparable.". "OK I can get that" you concede after consideration, "but what about doing what I want  to do? Isn't that separate from just being?". Try this on for size: you actually never do what you want to do. All bravado aside ("I do whatever I want to do  ..."), when you're being minimalistic as a way of being, you do what you do  (whatever that is) and you don't do what you don't do. That's the truth, yes? It's got nothing to do with what you want  to do. And if what you do happens to be what you want to do, it's just a co-incidence.

With all that said, here's my entry for "minimalistic" in the Laurence Platt Dictionary. Try it on for size. It's:

<quote>
Definition
minimalistic


adjective
(pertaining to art, style, lifestyle): using the smallest range of materials and colors possible, and only very simple shapes or forms;
(pertaining to a way of being): living the possibility of simply being being enough, without requiring distraction, amassing, adding on etc
<unquote>

rather than solely "using the smallest range of materials and colors possible, and only very simple shapes or forms".



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