I’ve been following several minimalist blogs for some months now. It seems that arguments have arisen about the “100 Thing Challenge”. Some think this is obsessing over counting possessions, while others insist that it’s meaningless unless one actually maintains the goal of 100 things or less. I think that reducing belongings is an important starting point (whether it results in owning 100 things or not), but it’s ultimately only a tool to transform one’s thinking. At first, you will focus on sorting and deciding, but hopefully that process gets you thinking differently about having and buying stuff, which then frees your attention to focus not on things but on doing and being. This is why some minimalists say that the number is not really important.
I have heard monks conducting services in which they periodically chant, “Let us be attentive.” This is an important spiritual concept, and it applies to minimalism as well: where is your attention and energy going? If a minimalist is agonizing over buying that 101st object, then his attention has now shifted back to things. If he doesn’t take up photography because it means owning a few more than 100 things, then minimalism has restricted him instead of freeing him up, and that’s missing the point.
As Bob Luman once sang, “Let’s think about living, let’s think about life”.