I’ve had to make a lot of really hard ethical decisions lately at work and it has got me thinking about how ethics and minimalism intertwine. Working at trying to create an ethical work environment is daunting and intimidating. You can be going up against such strong forces of the status quo and severe unaccountability for how the decisions of a few impact real lives in such a dramatic way.
While brainstorming the shared themes between minimalism and ethics, I came up with the following points and after-school-special notes for myself. Minimalism and ethics both involve on some scale:
1. Only taking what you need and leaving the excess behind for others that need.
2. Trying to see the bigger long term picture of community and experience being more meaningful in contrast with consumerism and selfish motives.
3. Giving better than getting (This is huge around Christmas time, bonus points!)
4. Inner creativity and richness building as opposed to building up of material items
5. Relationships, autonomy and courage to make the right ethical decisions in the face of real and imagined fear centered around losing material security blankets.
That last one is huge for me. Fear is a huge enemy of ethics in my life. It hinders me from making truly ethical courageous decisions as I’m scared of inciting the big monster of the status quo and letting insecurities take over my personal ethics.
Minimalism is one of the tools that helps me combat destructive fear patterns in my life. It helps me face and eliminate fear by helping me realize these truths:
– Material items and money while deceptively claiming to add security will never keep you immune to harm, devastation, rough times and mean people.
-Inner security can’t come from other people and money
– In a direct way, fear and dependency can be averted by minimalism in how you buy less, want less and create financial independence from the things that make you reliant on systems of consumerism and insecurity.
– Minimalism reduces what you need so that you can be freed up to focus on things that add real memories and ethical value to your life instead of staying in a cycle of fear.