The Louisville Cardinal

‘Minimalism’ documentary questions modern values

By Roya Fathalizadeh–

The world is growing increasingly materialistic, but a documentary is hoping to change to that.

“Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” is a thought-provoking and engaging documentary that follows Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus and their mission to examine the changes in what a majority of society deems valuable.

The concept of the project is simple: do more with less. The idea aims at making decisions more consciously and asking yourself, “Do I really need this?” Millburn and Nicodemus saw the overrated value the world assigns to possessions.

“For a long time, when people were trying to buy their first house, they looked at their budget and said, ‘I have $500,000, what can I buy for this amount?’” Tiny House designer Jay Austin said in the documentary.

“The problem here was that these individuals didn’t have that $500,000. They had a loan that guaranteed them $500,000 and they weren’t actually buying the houses, they were just hoping to buy them some day.”

After years of this mistake, the housing market crashed.

The recession that followed involved many other factors that led to the decline of America’s obsession with materialistic value that left many in debt and depressed. This cycle of consumerism is what many minimalists aim to reduce.

Minimalism does not only focus on material things. It aims at steering away from anything that diverts us from the ideas that really matter. Millburn and Nicodemus urge others to put “our relationships, passions and personal growth first and increase our desire to contribute beyond ourselves.”

In this documentary, Millburn and Nicodemus share inspirational and virtuous stories and ideals. At 27, Millburn gave up his six-figure salary and title as the youngest director of operations of a telecom company in the Midwest to embrace a life of minimalism.

They explain the sociology behind what the world has become and what it could be like in the future. Through interviews with experts and everyday people, they explain the cycle of consumerism and the reality of always wanting more.

Millburn, Nicodemus and minimalism movement followers urge eliminating the perception of success and glamour that is subconsciously embedded in our minds through advertisements and unintentional endorsements from people on social media.

The documentary is available on Netflix.