I’ve been meditating lately, trying to fight the parts of me that aren’t in equilibrium. After starting my full time job my way of life shaped to fit the situation. Beyond the changes, those inner thoughts kept surfacing telling me to stay true to myself.
I am far from an hypocrite, but society brainwash system is strong and if you find yourself in a weak corner it’ll strike hard.
In this article I’ll refresh the essence of my being.
I stand for
Life is enjoyable and simple.
The motto of my whole life is simplicity. Consequently, I adhere well with the minimalist and stoicism philosophies.
The minimalist way of life states that by letting go of anything that doesn’t have a real purpose or that lost its purpose, the individual frees himself from unneeded burdens. The sense of freedom comes from the liberation of a huge wagon of things that society makes you think you need. If you are minimalist you can take a bare minimum and try new experiences anywhere in the world at any time. It liberates you from today’s tempting capitalist world. Consequently, minimalists are usually very calm and don’t feel pressured.
Minimalism values experiences and knowledge instead of materials, and relationships. It repels the gatherer in oneself.
A good start for anyone who wants to switch to a minimalist lifestyle is the 90 day rules.
Consider anything around you, if you didn’t need it the last 90 days and can’t see yourself needing it in the next 90 days then, following the rule, you can throw it away. 90 days can be shorten as you get to be less needy. Read more about it here
One of the reason I am vegetarian is minimalism. Human beings living in today’s environment don’t need meat. If I was living in the South pole or in any harsh land, I’ll certainly have to hunt wild animals to feed myself. However, we fell into abundance and instant gratification.
As a minimalist, I noticed that I am less satisfied by instant gratification and tend to prefer long term ones. The reason might be that most instant gratifications are related to materialistic instincts and long term ones to better being as an individual.
Stoicism philosophy, blatantly explained, rotates around the thought that correctly understanding the world minimizes negative emotions.
I am formed by nature for my own good: I am not formed for my own evil.
Once you have an overview of how everything falls in place it becomes clear that there isn’t anything bad. I don’t believe in a binomial categorization, I’m opposed to it. The world isn’t salt and sugar, it’s a whole panoply of savors which cannot be said to be good or bad. Binomial categorizations are all subjectives.
What could strike you when you become stoic:
- You’ll try to maximize your positive emotions by doing things you know make you happy
- You’ll accept what cannot be changed
- From time to time you’ll get yourself into harsh situations to better understand why other people think the way they do
- You’ll have more control over yourself and your life
- You’ll understand that if you are unhappy, it is your fault
- You’ll have nothing you are not prepared to lose
- You’ll live simply because you’ll know that everything is temporary
- You’ll resist materialism
- You’ll refuse to consider yourself a victim
- You’ll live in accordance with human nature (because it cannot be changed)
- You’ll understand that we are social beings with a social duty
Those go along really well with minimalism.
NB: I used to laugh about it and call it the IDGAF (I don’t give a fuck) mentality but stoicism is more than that.
My interests in sociology and evolution guided me in becoming a stoic person and my interest in Unix and programming helped me through my minimalist journey.
I stand for a lot of other things like privacy, environmentalism, and freedom but I won’t mention them in this article.
The vices of society
Work & Time
I started a full time job around 5 months ago and it drastically changed my days. When I was in university I had plenty of free time that I filled with cool programming projects. Computing is my hobby, I find it fun, it’s my job, and I’m very well paid for it!
The drawback is that to get there I have to take a daily commute that average to at least 4 hours. I wake up at 5:45am, leave at 6am, and get back home between 8:15pm and 9pm depending on how lucky I was. All and all, when I get home I also have to cook and clean.
This reduced the time that I have for myself. It was pretty harsh in the beginning, I felt like I was throwing away a huge part of my day.
I had to reconsider how I managed my schedule otherwise I would have lost what brought me where I am (my sanity Ψ(｀▽´)Ψ).
Thus, I implemented a strict schedule. I made it up by inserting activities from multiple categories, introducing some I had left behind or wanted to do. Surprisingly it didn’t turn out to be monotonic. A schedule doesn’t necessarily mean a routine.
As far as the commute is concerned, it’s now dedicated to reading, watching hacking/security conferences, and listening to music.
I am now pleased with my time management, it has brought me new perspectives.
Everyday is an adventure, and it has become a truth since I started working.
I’ve experienced so many strange things.
From the days where I was down to days where I was up, days where I wanted to kill everyone, days where I wanted to marry everyone. The world is a vast place.
My feelings for humanity have been shattered and reconstructed over and over again. When you get used to life in a castle you forget what’s the value of your meal. I can’t take all the different kinds of people out of my mind now.
My stoic self has learned a lot these last few month.
You’ll live in accordance with human nature
You’ll understand that we are social beings with a social duty
I started enjoying small talks with strangers, the unexpected events that happen on my daily trips, and the life lessons I get from strangers.
As social beings we should help each others and it hits me deep when I see people acting contrarily to this even though I can still understand why they act the way they do. Thanks to all the fabulous strangers I shared precious minutes with, I’ve learned so much.
The Fine line
When time runs low you get to feel like you shouldn’t waste the free time you’ve got.
I’ve realized that a new attitude is building up in me. It’s similar to the God of the old testament, or you gain my love or you’ll suffer my wrath. I feel ten folds more irritated when there’s something I don’t like and ten folds happier in the other case.
The food has never tasted better…it has so much flavors! My hangouts with friends have never been funnier! However, I got nerve recked at smaller stuffs and it builds up bit by bit. I release the flow by doing sport when I get home and by running at 6am for one hour on my days off.
The same is happening with relationships, I ain’t got time for new friendships. If I have the chance to do something I’ll do it with my long time friends.
For the new ones, I’ve got no time to play around or you stick or you leave me alone.
It incorporated in me a kind of “don’t wait anymore” mentality. I want to maximize enjoyable activities and new knowledge while minimizing material irritations. I’m already investing in too many long term activities.
I also became totally inhibited of others’ opinions.
Overall, I’m a bit more harsh and less likely to let things pass but if you’re inside my circle you get to gain everything from me. Until now, I quite like what outputs it’s giving. No one fucks around with me anymore.
I try to go on my quest for discoveries, thrills, and risks. Risks but not dangers. Those kind of activities give some excitement in my life and they fit well with my non-materialistic Views. I still mitigate them a bit and do them occasionally because they’re way too gratifying.
Let’s name some reasons why I love it:
- The unknown factor
Sometimes an individual may conduct an experiment in an unknown field that society may have deemed impossible or unachievable and labeled as a ‘high-risk activity’ due to unknown or unforeseeable outcomes. A good example is the Wright brothers who are credited with making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight.
The unknown frightens the poor souls it shakes them up. To become stronger you have to be used to deal with the unusual, you need to expect the unexpected. It’s a preparation for new events.
- The thrill of discovery
Men are hunters that are hungry. They chase things and find ingenuous ways to reach their goals. Most of the time it’s by taking risks that we get to them. Opportunities don’t show themselves twice at the same place and the thrill of having to chase it when it shows up is extremely addictive.
- Self affirmation
Being able to control yourself in situations that you aren’t used to is an amazing skill. To be the master of your own body, to know that you can go over the limits. It gives confidence and strengthen you on a social standpoint. Gaining that, your posture will instantly affirms itself in front of others.
What differentiate a leader from the pack is the ability to take risky but decisive actions and the ability to keep a culture alive.
Let’s start this paragraph with a quote:
What my hypothesis leads to is that there are two behavioral types: consumer-driven and producer-led. Doing things that are consumer-driven are typically hedonist and thrill-seeking, whereas doing things that are producer-led are typically laborious or profit-seeking. The latter appears to be much healthier for my brain and my frame. I have lowered rewards across the board, and instead of living the thrill-depression roller coaster, I am “contented” 24/7. Happiness is a consumer product, contentedness is a masculine goal trait.
Society pressures and tempts you into spending into temporary rewards. The last few month I’ve felt it deeply.
Being brainwashed everyday by publicities I’ve been lead to crave for owning my own car. I suddenly felt burdened by materialistic things but then I asked myself “do I really need one at this exact moment, can’t I wait”.
The answer is that I can already go wherever I want and when I want. Consequently, I can wait until my financial situation is more stable to buy any means of transportation I’ll want.
In fact, it becomes evident how hard it is to fight society once you get the monetary power to buy the things you see. It instantly tries to turn you into a slave of consumerism. It confuses you to the point where you really want a master to tell you about all the unnecessary objects you need to buy.
It makes you think that if you are missing those things you are lower, that you can’t elevate yourself. Acquisition isn’t the way to go! Collectors are not sane individuals. Capitalism makes you want to show off to others by being a collector, it gives you a false sense of affirmation.
Become your own master!
To mentally liberate yourself you need to keep saying: “Do I really need that thing”. Or you can refer to the 90 days rule I mentioned earlier.
When you are finally about to choose the things you need, the things you are going to really invest in, now it’s time to upgrade your life. Not by wasting everything on temporary temptations, even if they might be cheaper.
When it’s time to live the good life it’s time to live the good life.
If you enjoyed reading this buzz me and we’ll have a beer together someday.