Minimalism

Minimalism {review} – is it way TOO extreme?

[411 Note: Below is a documentary review about two schlubs who had enough and tried doing the extreme opposite. I like the concept, but these dopes took it too far. Just because you don’t like where you’ve been, does not mean you need to do the opposite. Perhaps for a brief period to put things into perspective. But not long term. Unless you want to become a monk.]

minimalism documentary

Minimalists

American men are figuring out “stuff” isn’t making them happy

Minimalism, A Documentary About The Important Things
Relampago’s Rating: Star16Star16Star16Star16StarBW16

Minimalism is a frequent topic here at TNMM. In fact, as we shout our countercultural messages from figurative rooftops, the minimalist philosophy is one of the foundational building blocks of this humble abode. It goes hand in hand with the revolution in male thinking and behavior we are helping to bring about.

How convenient for those interested in financial and lifestyle freedom that a film about two corporate drones turned minimalists has been released. And, it doesn’t suck. The film is actually quite good. 87% of Google users liked it, it has a 4/5 star rating on Amazon, and a 6.7 out of 10 rating on IMDB.

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things introduces us to Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn. Fed up with empty and unhappy lives spent working and consuming, they chart a new course in life. Their goal: Make more of their lives by living with less. After deciding their new lives are more fulfilling than their old lives of consumerism, the newly minted minimalists leave their jobs, create a blog, get rid of most of their stuff, and embark on a coast to coast tour spreading the evangel of minimalism.

The two decide (just like your host here at TNMM) there are more important things in life than making money and spinning like a rat in a wheel trapped in the insidious sleep-work-spend cycle. Naturally, a film documenting their journey arises out of the venture.

So, does the film both entertain and inform? In short, yes, it does. It does drag in a few places. Perhaps a “road trip” plot device would have been more fun. The “rags to riches” plot device of the duo, no doubt contrived by consultants and producers to sex up the film, does work but falls somewhat flat in that the Minimalists’ eventual, lukewarm embrace by those who inhabit the swampy vortex of consumerism, the mainstream media, is an odd, shotgun marriage.

The irony is we have two very smart guys preaching minimalism to vacuous talking heads at various local television stations, and the pseudo-glamorous but brain-dead harridans at the Today show. At least old media helped spread their message to the masses. Other than that odd juxtaposition, and some formulaic, emotional tugging at the heartstrings as Ryan tells a story of how his mom became a typical “empowered” Anglobitch who destroyed her family and her life after she left his father (no surprise to TNMM readers she behaved this way), and Josh tells us about his mom being abused by his dad, the expose on minimalism actually works quite well.

Naturally, it took two men to come up with a film about minimalism. Women, who make or directly influence 4 out of 5 purchasing decisions, will largely be alienated by such a film. The film is especially refreshing in that the gynocentric, extravagant culture in which we live squelches most questioning, or dissent of the religion of consumerism in America. Yet, in this film we have two 30-something men finally taking charge of their lives and their own happiness after boldly walking off the corporate plantation, saying to hell with the shopping mall, and setting off to try something new. It’s a film that challenges conventional wisdom.

Rolling the dice is the most effective part of their message, because that’s really what it takes to change a man’s life. When a man finally throws up his hands and cries out, “I’m not living like this, ANYMORE!” only then will he change his life. Although Nicodemus and Millburn are much more milquetoast about their message than anything you’ll find on TNMM, the spirit is the same.

They’re likable guys.

Nicodemus says he had his fed-up moment when the company he worked for pushed him to devise new ways to sell smartphones to 5-year olds. He’s right that it sucks living in a sellout culture. My fed-up moment was when the pencil-neck geek of a boss at the television station I worked for boldly proclaimed our college degrees and experience didn’t matter to the suits in the boardroom, anymore. I later ended up here writing for you guys rather than selling myself out on the idiot box.

Nicodemus and Millburn finally get their message out, sell some books, and realize some success saving people from the cesspool of consumerism in their noble and worthwhile pursuit. The film wraps up with timeless wisdom “Love people, and use things. Because the opposite never works.” Indeed, that is a message that’s so against the mainstream of this sick and decadent culture it will fall on deaf ears when it comes to most of the indoctrinated American populace. But for those of us who get it, regaining control of our lives, our time, and our freedom will be our reward.

Best of all, sentiment like this is arising naturally as men tire of being expected to service the bottom line at any cost. Hopefully, The Minimalists film and blog are only the beginning of the resistance to living lives as useful idiots for the corporate-government complex and its moneymaking schemes.

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