When most people think of minimalism, the Slow movement or living more simply, they tend to picture the life of an ascetic – living somewhere remote, off the grid, with the barest of essential possessions. That’s an impressive feat if you’ve managed it, but that level of minimalist living is a bit too extreme for me.
I think that what works and what is essential is completely dependent on the individual and where they are in their life, and for me that life includes technology. I grew up with computers, playing games and watching the Internet grow from local message boards into what it is now. I’ve made friends and formed real connections through social media, with people that I might never have come across in ‘real life’. I displayed and developed my art online and taught myself to code websites before even going to highschool. Those skills have led me to a career as a digital designer and to this blog, things which couldn’t happen by ignoring current technology. All this to say – I’m probably much more reliant on tech than your average person, and I don’t feel that’s necessarily a bad thing.
Of course tech isn’t all happy connectedness, it hasn’t led to such efficiencies that we can spend our time in leisure, and it doesn’t make life any less complicated without a fair bit of knowledge and discipline. At the end of the day technology is made up of tools, and like any tool it can be used for for good and bad (and just pure pointlessness). It can get in the way of relationships just as easily as it can build them, help you waste time as easily as saving it, and get you wrapped up in a cycle of wanting the hot new thing until the next hot new thing comes along.
There will always be a tension between the ideals of minimalism and the latest tech, so I wanted to start writing a series here about I’ve personally gone about navigating it. What works for me will of course not be a one-size-fits-all, but hopefully it will at least get you thinking about your own relationship with technology! More Minimalism vs. Tech coming up soon (hopefully).