Another perspective on simplifying and minimalism

Information is a way to create order out of disorder by using energy. All life can be seen as information. The ability to process more information can result in better effectiveness in creating order (living).

The reason that every organism does not just evolve towards more intelligence into infinity is that increasing information-processing capabilities and complexity extracts a cost. There comes a point where increasing your intelligence and/or complexity actually yields worse results than the current level of intelligence and/or complexity.

This is true whether you are talking about single-celled vs multi-celled organisms or organs in your body or whole societies as a result of the holarchical nature of reality (information). A cell that tries to do too many processes or follows a strategy that is too complicated gets outcompeted by simpler, more primitive cells. An animal with a brain that is too large will need more food than it can find and be outcompeted by an animal with a smaller brain. A person who tries to use needlessly complicated processes will use more energy than someone with a simple method. A company that employs too many specialized workers will make less money than one with fewer workers and more basic processes. A country with too many bureaucrats and too many laws will lose people to a country with less tax and a less complex legal system.

If it is easy and cheap to change your level of complexity than it is a good idea to experiment with different levels. Simplifying is usually easy to reverse. There are potentially great benefits to simplifying. In most cases you can return to previous high-complexity habits if you find that less complexity leads to poorer results.

Minimalism is the ideology that says more stuff does not make you happier, but rather decreases your happiness. By having few possessions minimalists free up their time and energy for other pursuits. The one that is usually chosen is relationships, but some people choose to have more adventures or spend more time on their career.

Other people and companies have a vested interest in making your life complicated to serve their agendas. They will make more money if you buy products that needlessly comlicate your life or use services that you do not want. Sometimes complexity is a result of a blind process of accumulation that was set in motion when more stuff increased your happiness. You forgot about it and your subconscious kept buying even when it was no longer useful. Do not underestimate the influence on our subconscious of the constant barrage of advertising that encourages us to “Spend! Spend! Spend!”

Since minimalism is yet a subculture and only practiced by a minority of people, if you are getting into minimalism you are probably someone who does not just blindly follow the herd but deliberately and consciously choose your own life scripts. Minimalism is only of these scripts, but to truly find happiness you need to follow a script that aligns with who you are and want to be. As a meta-script minimalism is awesome as it allows you to try many other scripts without being highly commited to your current script. It forces you to decide what is valuable for you, instead of just being flotsam in other people’s values.

In most cases you have nothing to lose and much to gain by experimenting with minimalism.

To happiness, and beyond!



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