“waste not” and the blessed opportunity of minimalism


good art enters the soul, speaks to the heart, and makes new ideas plausible.

recently, i visited the “waste not” art exhibit by song dong at the museum of modern art in new york city.  in the exhibit, song dong displays the entire contents of his mother’s and father’s life work.  born and raised in china during periods of warfare, rationing, political unrest, threat of expulsion, and constant shortage of goods, a lifestyle of “waste not, want not” became the culture of the day.  song dong displays the extreme measures that his parents went to in their desire to find security.  see the commentary and photos here.

my emotional response to the art has evolved through many phases since the experience of the exhibit.  first, amazement (how did this stuff fit in the house/property?).  second, bewilderment (why did they keep all these things, empty tubes of toothpaste for example?).  third, disgust (what an awful way to live).  fourth, gratitude (how blessed am i that i feel confident enough to embrace minimalism). this fourth emotion, gratitude, is the one that i didn’t expect.  it became the new idea and eventually how “waste not” spoke to me.

only the man who does not live under fear of starvation can become minimalist.  only the man who does not live under fear of his government can become minimalist.  and only the man who does not live under fear of war can become minimalist.  the man who can choose and embrace minimalism is truly a blessed man.

minimalism and “waste not” has again reminded me that my life has been blessed… so much so, that i can choose minimalism as a way of life.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. di says

    Over-indulgence wastes time, money, resources. It causes society to be over-weight, out of touch, selfish.

    It’s illogical.

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