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Category Archives: min-spiration

Minimalist Insight from Jacobean Drama

For my tutorial this week I wrote a paper on inheritance and legacy in Ben Jonson’s play Volpone, which is basically about a greedy guy called Volpone (Italian for “sly fox”) who takes advantage of other greedy guys by pretending to be on his death bed, accepting gifts from those hopeful to be written into his will. Writing my paper felt like a blog post on minimalism (with slightly more academic and slightly less conversational phrases)!

In conjunction with the play I read Isabella Whitney’s poem Will and Testament, a highly entertaining satire of the detailed lists of random stuff people leave behind. She chooses to leave behind things like the buildings in London and her portion of meat from the butcher’s shop every day. A recommended read for a minimalist chuckle.

The characters in Volpone seem to do nothing but chase after money and status, neglecting and even sacrificing their friends and loved ones. Their focus on obtaining stuff dominates their lives to the extent that they cannot be identified in any other way.

Don’t be a one-dimensional medieval man. Think about the value of stuff and the value of things like the literature that makes us think about the value of stuff.

Robert Herrick puts it best in his Lyric for Legacies:

GOLD I’ve none, for use or show,
Neither silver to bestow
At my death ; but this much know,
That each lyric here shall be
Of my love a legacy,
Left to all posterity.
Gentle friends, then do but please
To accept such coins as these
As my last remembrances.

a song for calming down

watch. listen. feel the calm sink in.

a minimalist song and animation

kate nash’s music is so honest, stripped back to how people think. and in this video, musicANDmuffins illustrates the song with some simple drawings 🙂

my june resolution

this will be simple. i will be brief. my resolution for june is to focus. i’m reading leo babauta’s book. while i love the ideas, i could have come up with most of them on my own. but that’s not the point – the point is that he took the time to write it down, to state the obvious instead of just assuming the obvious, and by stating it, by suggesting it, made me realize that knowing is different from doing.

focus is about single-tasking. it’s about living efficiently and deliberately. it’s about appreciating each moment and thinking carefully about how to spend time. it’s about slowing down and loving and living life more.

tiny transformer apartment in hong kong

i can’t get enough of this video. i would choose to live in a space of this style in heartbeat.

is it possible? muji the minimalist store

i was wandering around london when i came across MUJI. i was drawn to its clean calming storefront, and inside its doors i was greeted by sleek and simple stationery sets, travel containers, clothing in soft yet sophisticated fabrics…

i left the shop empty-handed and with a clear head – being in the store was zen – the only exception being a copy of their catalog, which i keep by my bed. i want to live inside that catalog. the opening pages confirm my assessment that MUJI is a minimalist store.

click on the image to read the whole thing, but here’s a textual sample:

Muji products came into being in the early 1980’s as a result of a new mood, calling for a return to simplicity in daily life. Our aim was – and still is – to provide our customers all over the world with the fundamental things they need to live a busy, modern, urban lifestyle.

while the opening pages are convincing enough, the visuals of some ideal rooms are what inspire me: