Minimalism

April 2024 Forums General discussion Minimalism

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 56 total)
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  • #88924
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Hud955 wrote:
    but kinda catchy.

     So is this and pleasing to the eye as well     Full screen and loud. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqYp1jpzKCk

    #88925
    HollyHead
    Participant
    Ozymandias wrote:
     Five Minimalist Masterworks…  Steve Reich:  “Music for a Large Ensemble”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96pj1SkFHsE John Adams: “The Chairman Dances”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Sde2s-tTOI Philip Glass: “Satyagraha”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHKUt5fDbH0 Meredith Monk: “The Dolmen Music”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7su7d76LhWg Terry Riley: ” In C”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjR4QYsa9nE Enjoy! Cheers Ray

     I prefer something with a good chune in it that seems to be going somewhere.. Most of this stuff sounds like the stylus is stuck in the LP groove.  :-( De gustibus non est disputandum.

    #88926
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Interesting though the above is, it seems a long way from the discussion I was hopng to have. Ah well, never mind…….

    #88928
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I know that minimalist art and minimalist music are strands of the minimalist movement, but I was referring in the OP specifically to the minimalist lifestyle and the strands of thought that reject consumerism, of pointless possession collecting, etc and how that chimes in with socialist though on producing for need and nessecity rather than  making stuff purely to sell.There are a LOT of people, working people, out there as a result of this recession completely re-evaluating their lives and working out what’s important to them – family, friends, experiences etc. It seems that many are drawing the conclusions that getting up, going to work, earning money to buy more stuff a) isn’t working anymore and b) isn’t fulfilling anymore and from these personal experiences, they are calling into question bigger issues. Minimalism, i.e. getting rid of un-needed posessions, cutting back on the rubbish we buy, cutting down the hours we work to earn the money to buy the crap and instead spending more time with people doing thins we love, can provide a platform for socialists to link the pointlessness of consumerism and the desire to change with our visions of a better world.The internet is alive with people who a) have grasped that the way things are is shit and doesn’t work and b) want a different lifestyle from the working 9-5, buying stuff culture we have developed. This is fertile ground I think for promoting a moneyless, classless society such as we envisage.

    #88927
    Hud955
    Participant
    SussexSocialist wrote:
    Interesting though the above is, it seems a long way from the discussion I was hopng to have. Ah well, never mind…….

    As I said, I’m not convinced that lifestyle choice within capitalism, however interesting they may be, have much to do with socialism.   The ball’s in your court, SS, if you want to get the thread back on track…

    #88929
    Hud955
    Participant

    I understand what you are referring to by minimalism, SS.  My problem with it is that far from encouraging a radically socialist understanding of working class interests such life-style choices, attitudes, philosophies, call them what you will, merely perpetuate the belief that if we just adjust our attitudes within capitalism, all will be well. 
    I think I can see where you are coming from on this.  But though there may seem to be a (purely intellectual) ‘chiming’ between producing for need and rejecting consumerism, in practical terms these things are opposite ends of the political  spectrum. Many attitudes within our present society are hostile to some aspect of capitalism, but do not reject capitalism itself. So, a socialist or anyone else might choose to behave like a minimalist while capitalism persists for personal life-style reasons, but a minimalist world view (rejecting consumerism) will not make socialists. The reason for this is that being anti-consumerist is only something that can be pursued within capitalism (consumerism just won’t exist within socialism so there will be no possibility of rejecting it).  These sorts of life-style attitudes, though they appear to reject some aspect of capitalism carry within them an acceptance of fundamental capitalist relations and capitalist values. The obvious political trajectory of a movement like minimalism is yet another reformist one.   

    #88930
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    To a degree yes, I agree. However, what I am suggesting is that if an individual has or is looking towards minimalism, they must have reached a point in their lives where they have decided the current ‘normal’ western way of doing things and accumulating goods is wrong or out of hand, and that rightly so there must be more to life. This I think can present an opportunity to put the cae for socialism whereby, as you point out, consumerism will cease to exist and the entire cycle of production and consumption will be based on a different footing. I think the fact that many people are tapping into the rejection of normal consumer patterns gives us a chance to put forward a different perspective.Of course personal rejection of the cult of more, more, more, is not an automatic step to socialist thinking, but for some it is a major shift in attitude to even a decade or two ago where to suggest that you only need to buy what you need and no more would have given rise to tolerance at best and derision at worse – not buying the latest crap – are you mad?!! But everyone else has one!! Etc.Of course, becoming a minimalist within capitalism is a reform or alternate path within the same basic system, but the fact that working people around the more advanced countries are even contemplating and questioning the consumer culture must be a good thing and something as socialist we can tap into?Seem we in the SPGB often seem to take the same well worn paths and try and convince those already convinced of socialism to change their ‘brand’ and join us from other parties, rather than take the harder but surely more productive route of convincing those aware of their own disaffection with the current way of things, that our alternative is genuine and better?

    #88931
    Hud955
    Participant

    OK, I see where you are coming from and don’t disagree.
     I can’t say, though, that trying to convince leftists to turn impossibilist is easy; personally, I’ve always found it particularly difficult as, apart from anything else, it requires a very comprehensive knowledge of their political history.  And Trots in particular seem to have a deeply ingrained inability to think about capitalism in any real way at all.  I think some SPGB members target leftists for similar reasons that you want to approach minimalists –  they share, at least, a common language of radical dissent.  And quite a number of our members come from a leftist background, so they are familiar with the territory.  But yes, anyone who is dissatisfied with capitalism offers a way into discussing a more radical solution.
    Personally, I’m not very selective.   I’ll talk to anyone about socialism (except perhaps a couple of members of the BNP who inhabit a pub up the road – common sense and self-preservation prevail there.)  Maybe that’s because of where I live.  The most exciting or radical folk you are likely to meet around here are Greens or Buddhists.  This is Tory heartland, so most of my neighbours would be surprised if they knew they lived next door to a Labour voter, let alone a socialist.  I meet a lot of lifetyle Tories and quite frankly I’ve had really good discussions with some of them. You never know what susceptibilities people might have (unless of course they are committed to an ideology like that of the BNP!)

    #88932
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    The motivation for revolution is to set free society’s productive powers that are being held back by the existing mode of production. Socialists believe, therefore,  that capitalism is holding back production and consumption, The motivation for socialism cannot simply be for a ‘better’ world. People have always wanted a better world. Socialism is the working class pursuing its own selfish economic interests which, coincidemtly, improves the lot of all humankind. 

    #88933
    Anonymous
    Inactive

     Clearly my long-standing minimalist approach to life also extends to my reading of threads in this forum, since, until today, I’d never seen this one! Just read through it, though, and I’ll tell you what I think about the subject.  I don’t know enough about ‘art’ to comment on that particular strand of minimalism, but I do know that my taste in music – both the music that I listen to and the music I play – is such that the simpler the music the more impact it has on me. ‘Three chords and the truth!’ is what appeals to me. As far as lifestyle is concerned I don’t pretend that my under-consumption in terms of market norms is in any way, in and of itself, revolutionary. It’s just the way that I choose to live and it makes me happy.  I have – at any given time – everything I need and I don’t have to work long hours to get it. (The fact that I do regularly work very long hours – over seventy last week – is neither here nor there. I didn’t have to!)First though, a bit of backstory that’ll put what I’m going to say about the accumulation of useless junk in our lives in some sort of context… I discovered climbing and mountaineering when I was thirteen.  The same year that I consciously became a socialist, interestingly enough.  I came from a very poor family – at least in material circumstances – and the school field club through which I was introduced to ‘the great outdoors’ was populated by the kids of affluent so-called middle-class workers who could easily afford to provide their offspring with all the latest equipment.  My climbing kit was always from the cheaper camping shops and ex-army surplus stores.  I was relentlessy ridiculed for my shortages in equipment, but respected – albeit grudgingly – for my ability to arrive at a summit feeling fresher than most.  Due in large part to the fact that my backpack weighed half as much as anyone elses.  My lack of privilege was a privilege in itself! My early lessons in what I actually needed to survive in hostile environments probably went a long way to shaping and informing the rest of my life.  At the age of forty-nine, when my slightly elder brother has accumulated so much wealth that he could very easily never need to work again, I own next to nothing.  And what I do own will fit in one rucksack and a guitar case.  I’ve just never felt the need to own a house and to fill it with things that I don’t need.  I think it was Erich Fromm who suggested that the less we own the more we are.  I don’t know about that, but it does have the ring of truth to it from where I stand. What I do know is that my slightly elder brother as a direct result of his lifestyle is very clearly residing in heart attack or stroke country, is too unfit to fully enjoy his life and is so bogged down in his accumulations of wealth that moving would be a major chore. Well, I have much more to say on this.  But the sun’s coming out and I’m off to the mountains for some climbing.  Most climbers would be sorting through their gear deciding what to put in their rucksack. Me? I’m not even taking a rucksack!  ‘Things’, you see – and this is what I’ll talk about later – have a way of detracting from experiences.

    #88934
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Eloquently put. I rest my case! Although having a family and a home and by default possessions that come with that including tools to maintain my home and work, etc, we have very little possession wise and a reducing this amount as time goes on.I too, many moons ago, lived out of a rucksack and guitar case for a long time. People saw me as odd, not having a TV or owning ‘stuff’. I didn’t consider myself a minimalist then and not sure I do now, but I understand where those that do are coming from and why.It is not a revolutionary act for sure, merely a choice within the system but its a choice that has far reaching personal effect and, if taken up in large numbers would have some impact on the current capitalist way of thinking. Capitalists need consumers to exist. We however, don’t need ‘stuff’ to live though and its a major difference….!

    #88935
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I guess noone was interested in the Marxist view of production and consumption. If your motivation is to have a revolution in order to reduce production and consuption it has nothing to do with marxist socialism

    #88936
    Anonymous
    Inactive

     Nobody has suggested that a socialist revolution will reduce either production or consumption.  Nor has anyone argued that consuming less will somehow speed up the transformation of society. On the contrary, both SS and myself have clearly indicated that a conscious choice to avoid accumulating the worthless crap that capitalism produces and markets is in any way a revolutionary act. On the subject of a Marxian analysis of production and consumption I think it’s important to remember that Marx was writing in the 1800s when the means of production were – compared to now – fragmentary and insufficient to meet human needs. This is why Marx suggested the need for a period post-capitalism when the means of production would be developed to the point where an abundance of wealth could be produced. That’s no longer the case, of course. But look. Are you suggesting that a socialist revolution necessarily entails an increase in productive powers? That seems like a preposterous claim to me.  Capitalism produces a whole raft of useless crap that it markets to people who don’t need it.  Needs are artificially created and junk is produced to meet those newly-created needs.  Socialism, I think, will rationalise production and that’s not necessarily the same thing as increasing production.

    #88937
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Capitalism has created POTENTIAL abundance but capitalist relations of production prevent this potential from being realised. . As Marx put it:”At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or — this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms — with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters”Are you saying that the marxist theory of revolution is no longer relevant because capitalsm already produces abundance? By the way what you think of as ‘junk’ is my motivation fror class struggle

    #88938
    Anonymous
    Inactive

     If I thought that Marx’s theory of revolution was no longer relevant I’d hardly be a member of the SPGB, would I? I’m not sure what you mean by the statement “By the way what you think of as ‘junk’ is my motivation fror class struggle”.  First of all, you have no choice about class struggle.  That the working-class has a set of economic interests that are diametrically opposed to the economic interests of the capitalist-class is inherent to the system. Being involved in the class struggle is a matter of fact and not a matter of motivation.  And why would the fact that capitalism produces a load of useless crap that nobody needs be a motivation for class struggle? I don’t get it. Quoting something that Marx wrote in 1859 boots nothing. 21st century capitalism overproduces as a matter of course. Food production, for example, already outstrips need and in most areas of production we are already producing enough to satisfy people’s needs.  The problem – as Marx points out in the passage you’ve quoted from Preface to a Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy – is not with how much we can produce given current technology but rather with the property relations that govern the mode of distribution.

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