Is it ironic, or rather unsurprising, that in the age of mass information people are being drawn to the concept of Lowsumerism? Less is more, living and yearning for only what is necessary, and trading, fixing or making things can make us more creative and conscious.
Like any philosophy, Lowsumerism has been brewing for some time. The English poet Robert Browning’s ‘less is more’ is expressed across various minimalist movements in architecture, film, comedy, and fashion. Style and solid construction can create focus not only for objects, but for our minds as well. Too many passwords and pins, to-do lists, and desires can distract us from ‘what is enough’.
According to Coco Chanel, ‘always remove one thing before you leave the house’, and more specifically attributed to the fashion icon is, ‘before you leave the house you should look in the mirror and take one accessory off’. Taking a brave and regular look into the mirror of our thoughts is an excellent mental hygiene practice, if we can remember Coco’s words often enough. Dropping some of our more destructive or addictive thoughts at the door could simplify many things.
The practice of Lowsumerism can bring joy by expanding our capacity for gratitude and giving. Perhaps each time we leave home, we can take a few things with us to pass on. In a brief sweep we can probably find a few unused items around the house which might make someone else’s life easier or more meaningful. And if we can also sweep away some of our own reactions and desires along the way, we can certainly make our own lives easier, and let go of first world problems or preoccupations.
Many people are quietly living in sustainable and inspiring ways all around us, particularly in coastal and regional centres. When we’re lucky enough to spend reflective moments in nature, and away from endless artificial adrenalin rushes, such spaces easily bring us home to ourselves. The rest of the time we can get caught up in excesses, whether thoughts or actions. Humans are geniuses at creating addiction and obsessions. Two of my recent ones were opportunity shopping and consuming any form of chips, hungry or not. These days I try to take something to the op shop on each less frequent visit. The other addiction I am still working on. We do what we can.
Lowsumerism is an essential way of taking care of ourselves and a planet that is becoming exhausted. We don’t have time to waste. Echoing Chanel, Australian model Emma Ishta warns that ‘unless you are Keith Richards, and can absolutely pull it off, less is more’.