I’m sure that most of us had art class at school when we were young. For many (like me) it was a fun class, where you could put your young creative mind to work. There were also some who disliked this class. Some people find art tedious because they say they aren’t creative or they say they are just “really bad at it”.
Many of us resort to watching TV or surfing the web when we get back from work or school. I know very few people who just take out a sketchbook and doodle or write a haiku just for the fun of it. I also don’t know many people who go out and look at art on a regular basis. In my city, the main art gallery is never very busy when I go.
But what if I told you that if you dabble with any form of art or even just contemplate a piece of art for a few seconds, you can free your desires and your daily worries?
For Schopenhauer (a German philosopher), the essence of the human life is to desire aimlessly. He talks about the “Will” and how we are in a cycle, stuck between boredom and desire. Even though he can have some very pessimist ideas at times, I find that his vision of life being an endless cycle where we go back and forth between boredom and desire to be quite accurate in many regards. We see it in our consumerist society every day, especially with electronics, where we desire a product months before it comes out and when we finally have our hands on it, we get bored with it in about a week. Schopenhauer believes that art is a temporary escape from this painful cycle of willing. He thought that if our mind was completely absorbed by a painless representation or image, we could almost forget who we are and lose ourselves in the contemplation of art which sounds quite sublime if you ask me. He calls this “aesthetics”.
You’re probably wondering: “What does art have to do with minimalism?” Other than the fact that the minimalist lifestyle could have partly been inspired by minimal art, art and minimalism don’t have too much in common.
However, by being immersed in the creation or contemplation of something we find interesting or beautiful, we almost forget who we are and even find some sort of inner peace. Through art we gain a new perspective on life. In this moment of contemplation, we lose our attachment to our material possessions. By feeling less attached to material objects you can start to build your minimalist mindset and free yourself from the chains of consumerism.
If art is something might interest you, why not try your hand at it? By producing something you find aesthetically pleasing, you will also feel proud of what you accomplished and value your work. If you just like to look at art, that is fine too. What matters is that you gain a new perspective on life through art and start to realize that many things that we own or do are unessential.
You don’t need much to create art and you can find art almost anywhere around you. Just take a moment today and doodle on a piece of paper or contemplate a poster, a painting or a picture that you saw online. You will temporarily free yourself from your desires that you have at the moment (i-e wanting a new phone, or a muffin etc.) and find a moment of tranquility and inner peace.