Abstract art: how one lives, with just 50 things
He lives on a pension, owns 50 things, maintains a blog about it and lecturing about the refusal of the excess. Meet Joachim klöckner, author of “the Little minimalist”. Lives in Berlin and tells the “Daily Poster” on the philosophy of conscious consumption.
68 years old, retired.
“For the first time optimization is needed came to me in 1986. It was early may when I saw the flakes of snow on the streets of his native Kassel: it was not a late snowfall, and the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.
I didn’t want to stay on the sidelines, was trained energy consultant and began to help companies to conserve energy.
The work was a pleasure — especially knowing that I contribute to the care for the environment. Against this background, I started to optimize his own life: he began to make furniture with his own hands — for themselves and for friends.
Another step towards minimalism was a breakup with a girl. When I left the house where we lived for about two years, I sold and gave away almost all his possessions. Then he got in his car and saw that the only bulk item I will take with me is the snorkeling equipment. I felt a huge relief in my life as if the space for the imagination, thoughts about themselves, the world and happiness.
In 2008 I moved to Berlin. A friend invited me to the opening of the first in the city of coworking, and I’ve enjoyed it so much that I didn’t want to. Coworking, startups, open and progressive people — I felt that the future for Berlin and settled there. Every move I took less things. Gradually my wardrobe was reduced to two pairs of underpants, socks and shoes. Still have two shirts and two overalls summer short-sleeve winter long — plaid and backpack. Here, perhaps, and all. Things I buy at the store clothing, so it is white and yellow is, by the way, very practical. I can wash everything together: the colors do not fade, and I save energy. I usually sleep on an inflatable mattress. Even now, being the owner of plus or minus fifty things I regularly ask myself — I need this blanket or can I do without it? And often from something to refuse. My process of getting rid of excess lasts for more than twenty years.
The only thing I don’t want to speak to it from my tablet.
I use it to read books, listen to music, run my blog about minimalism, respond to emails. To do without a phone I can’t either. And recently purchased the Apple Watch to keep the health under control: my father died of a heart attack, so I want to keep track of your heart rate. These three things are hard for me to find a replacement. Another thing you can consider my home: I rent a room in the artist’s Studio and feel very happy. My main source of income is a pension and fees for workshops for minimalism: Yes
my lifestyle is of particular interest in Switzerland, Austria and Germany, and I go to lectures about it.
As a technician, at first I wondered why, as getting rid of excess, I feel happier? To find the answer, I began to study neuroscience. So, our internal motivation system consists of three neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin — the so-called hormones of happiness. Dopamine is produced when a person experiences positive experiences — for example, experiencing a pleasant taste or physical sensation. Serotonin increases when a successful social life and cooperation with others. And oxytocin — love, harmonious interaction with others. Depression is, first and foremost, no happy hormones for a long time.
Everyday life of modern man is occupied with thoughts about taxes, the house, upcoming expenses, and other material things. In this hectic lifestyle, there is very little time and space for the cultivation of happiness hormones through communication with loved ones and close people, travel. The art of organizing one’s own life is a white canvas. Everyone can paint it as you wish: someone who can fill in his thoughts on what furniture to buy, and someone to ask how to become happier. The thought of furniture are not a necessity. They are a conscious choice, which, unfortunately, does not invest in the happiness hormones. The joy of buying will evaporate after a few seconds: according to research, a sense of satisfaction from gaining something new lasts approximately eight seconds. And the more things a person buys, the more space and thoughts they will have is a maintenance of apartments, houses, cars, taxes on all these accessories. Getting rid of excess, I bought the time life and the people: cooperation (serotonin) and communication (oxytocin).
My idea is not original: humanity for many centuries, striving for harmony of all three hormones of happiness. A famous slogan of the French revolution: liberty, equality, fraternity. The motto of the “Arab spring”: unity, dignity, work. Freedom is the opportunity to be themselves, the brotherhood is a way of interacting with others, equality and dignity — it’s about cooperation.
More recently, a religion, and somewhere — the ideology, decides over the person how to live. In some parts of the world it still is.
But in the Western world in place of religion comes individualism. This means that now the man must fill his life.
Twenty years, after finishing school, man left to himself can do with your life what you want. How to deal with this independence? We are not taught. Therefore, the change of totalitarian regimes and the Church came consumerism, which puts the space “helps” a person to do to fill the void. Consumption creates the illusion of fullness and satisfaction is a simplified method of filling one’s life, because high-quality content requires a lot of effort, time and imagination.
Is now in Vogue to teach children from a young age to occupy themselves. But it will take generations before people will learn to efficiently fill their space. Minimalism is just one of the tools which helps to approach the script of your life individually and free up space for creativity. In addition to the happy side of minimalism, I’m happy with my lifestyle to make a small contribution to the preservation of the world’s resources: energy and materials involved in the production of clothing and other things. In German the environment is Umwelt (preposition um means “outside”, “outside”, the failure to include; Welt — world environment. — Approx. of the author), but I insist on using the term Mitwelt, where the preposition mit (German for “with”, “together”. — Approx. ed.) symbolizes the participation of the human world.
Friends and relatives reacted to the changes in my life with curiosity. Some with incomprehension. My mom said, “Yes, a person is able to live like you. After the war, we were all forced to live. But free choice in favor of such a lifestyle I don’t understand.” One more story: after moving to Berlin, I met a woman with whom I began a relationship. We decided to move in together: settled in the same apartment but in different rooms. Somehow she came to see me, looked at the hammock in which I slept then, and shook his head — had to buy a mattress. But otherwise, I am tolerant to other people’s choices, and they will do the same. Maybe it is because I am not doing missionary work.
The Studio where I rent a room, belongs to my friend — artist. He has a few apartments, a lot of property, but we all find a common language. My 32-year-old son also lives very differently — he’s got a lot of things, and I’m, frankly, happy. So he chose their own path, free from my influence.
Despite the lack of need for missionary work, I am often invited to seminars and lectures as a speaker. After one such seminar I was called by the listener, and told the story. He and his wife were in IKEA, scored two carts “necessary” things, and then his wife turned to him and said, “Remember you told me about Mr. Kleckner? Are you sure all of these things we really need?” They left both the truck and went home happy. In a sense, I involuntarily retrained consultant energy consultant lifestyle.
And if you want advice from me, here it is: start your failure small.
Many have things that they have enjoyed for years. So, get rid of them. Sell them on eBay, bring in second-hand or just give to others — they will be happy.