On Monday, the BBC published the article “Cult of less: Living out of a hard drive” about a group of 20-something hipsters who claim digital technologies have replaced all but a few of their possessions.
One of the men interviewed for the article says he only owns “his laptop, an iPad, an Amazon Kindle, two external hard drives, a ‘few’ articles of clothing and bed sheets.” Another says he only has “a backpack full of designer clothing, a laptop, an external hard drive, a small piano keyboard and a bicycle – an armful of goods that totals over $3,000 (£1,890) in value.”
Owning just a few electronics and pieces of fabric is an interesting take on extreme minimalism. In contrast to most ascetics who eschew the conveniences of the modern world, it’s current technologies that make these hyper-digital ascetics’ lifestyles possible.
[Kelly Sutton of Brooklyn, New York] … says he got rid of much of his clutter because he felt the ever-increasing number of available digital goods have provided adequate replacements for his former physical possessions.
“I think cutting down on physical commodities in general might be a trend of my generation – cutting down on physical commodities that can be replaced by digital counterparts will be a fact,” said Mr Sutton.
The tech-savvy Los Angeles “transplant” credits his external hard drives and online services like iTunes, Hulu, Flickr, Facebook, Skype and Google Maps for allowing him to lead a minimalist life.
However, the tech-savvy minimalists are quick to point out that their decisions have made some aspects of their lives difficult:
Mr Klein says the lifestyle can become loathsome because “you never know where you will sleep”. And Mr Yurista says he frequently worries he may lose his new digital life to a hard drive crash or downed server.
What do you think of these modern minimalists? Discuss your reactions in the comments.