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PUA and Minimalism (also about attitudes to other areas of our lives)

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  • PUA and Minimalism (also about attitudes to other areas of our lives)

    After an interesting little chat in the chatroom, I thought I'd create this as a topic for discussion - a few of us all came to realise as we talked that we all were quite minimalist in out outlooks, namely that we didn't really value "possessions" for their own sake, but rather tended to own only things that we really needed or gave real value to our lives in some ways.

    For those of you who aren't sure, minimalism is not necessarily about living like a monk and having no possessions, nor is it about being cheap. It's simply about only owning stuff that has real value in your life. So I have a laptop, a tablet and a good smartphone (all the latest model when I bought them except the smartphone which was the latest model minus one - but none of them upgraded even though newer models have come out) because I use it all for work and I get a lot of value out of it personally (Netflix instead of having a TV, Kindle instead of buying books etc) and although they're expensive products, I use them a lot and they provide a lot to my life. On the other hand, I don't own many clothes and I'm actually looking to get rid of some clothes rather than buy more - once again I'm keeping the stuff that looks really good on me and throwing the rest out. Although I love reading, I'm actually getting rid of all of my books (already gone down from over a thousand to about 100) - books that I really want to keep I'm rebuying on Kindle, since I still love reading, I just don't want to have to carry around hundreds of books in my life.

    The point I raised in chat, which the two people agreed with, was that in this community one of the things we do is question the social explanations we're given - e.g. conventional wisdom suggests buying dinners, taking women on dates etc as a means to getting laid/starting a relationship. On this forum we test these assumptions and find that there are much better ways of doing things. This means that we're actually fairly unique in the world, because there are people who follow all sorts of social conventions without ever questioning them. I believe that by questioning and achieving in one area of our lives, we tend to question in others as well (either getting good at PUA makes us question other stuff OR by being a questioning type we find PUA). The rampant consumerism that affects a lot our world pushes a STUFF = HAPPINESS mindset which is obviously designed to make more money for corporations and the people who own them. But is it necessarily best for us?

    One interesting exercise is to make a list of the ten most expensive things you own, then make a list of the ten things you own that give you the most joy in your life. Then check how many things are on both lists. The idea is that the unexamined life will have little-to-no crossover between those lists. I.E. that expensive car you just bought gives you a temporary boost in happiness but then as you get used to it, it fades until you're at your original level of happiness.

    Here's a little comedy bit by George Carlin about stuff, which some of you may have seen before, but I really enjoy:

    Anyone else a minimalist or at least in some way opposed to consumerism (and by opposed I don't mean just says it, but actually lives it)? I'm not trying to convert anyone here, by the way, I just found it interesting that this subject, to the best of my knowledge, has never been discussed here, yet three different members of this community (which as previously stated is about questioning assumptions) have questioned assumptions in other areas of their lives and come to the same conclusions. Is there a certain type of person here (someone who values happiness and/or freedom more than anything else, perhaps?) that you just don't get in 'normal' society - someone who wants demonstrable results rather than useless, but feel-good, advice?

    What other ways are people examining their lives and coming to radically different conclusions? Although I didn't really talk about this much, I read - the guy who writes there, Ramit Sethi, is essentially the PUA of the personal finance world - shuns the traditional feel-good advice and gets to the real results through merciless testing of empirical data - which sounds exactly like what Blackdragon did with his online dating stuff. It seems that questioning one set of assumptions (e.g. women) also leads to questioning others (e.g. money, possession, happiness). I guess I'm trying to work out if it's a) the sort of person you are or b) getting results in one area sparks you to try others.


  • #2
    I've always questioned everything everyone ever told me. That's probably why I ended up here. And stayed.

    edit: oh and I'm a cheap bastard too
    "I'm the kind of guy you don't want to bring home to mom. Cuz I'd fuck your mom."

    "I don't have a dirty mind, I have a sexy imagination"


    • #3
      I tend to spend very little in terms of actual things in my life, but I do tend to spend a lot of money on experiences. I don't know if it's right, I don't know if it's wrong, but it's how I live my life. I can't justify spending money on a new watch or a new car, but I have no problem with spending a ton of money to travel to awesome locations and do things that I can't do in Boston. The only point of making money is to spend it to improve your life. Once I get past the essentials (housing, food, transportation), the main things that I spend money on are trying to provide awesome experiences for myself, my friends, and people who are unable to have those things on their own. One of my main goals over the next 2-3 years is being more charitable with what I make, since once thing that eats at me is the fact that I have the ability to do all kinds of awesome things but there are so many people who are unable to do so.
      We're here. The rest is bullshit.


      • #4
        Minimalist here.. I love space, it's one of the first things I learned about when I was studying design. I hate clutter and noise and you can apply that to everything in life from conversation to interior design. Quality > Quantity = minimalism, e.g. few good things vs many bad things. Even when I go backpacking, I carry only 5x of each item and maximize space and low weight. 80/20 = a minimalist strategy. Zen = a minimalist religion/psychology.
        The Qlue, simple perspectives on life.


        • #5
          Ive adopted the view that you have to test a few things to find something great. So I have a very low 'buy' threshold, but also a very low 'trash it' threshold. Especially shoes and clothing, but also tools/electrics. (I routinely trash things I didnt wear even once.)

          I especially HATE books. (For me personally - not the general idea of the item.)


          • #6
            Yes, I'm absolutely positive, that matrix isn't only about its approach to sexuality and that on some level PU and minimalism are deeply related.

            And I live the minimalistic lifestyle for so long that I no longer can extract what in my life is "minimalistic" unless I compare specific things with others. But definitely, societal norm about possessing/buying is a kind of craze, if you ask me.

            I'm particularly minimalist as for what I allow to get to me from media - I don't read newspapers, or even internet (with the exception of work related stuff, mailbox and this forum), I don't have facebook account, I don't watch TV for years, don't know a shit about politics, economy, sports, etc... Should I add that I'm happy and don't think I'm missing anything important?; )

            My weakness is still food (I believe we are massively brainwashed as for how much we really need to eat). Just these days I'm gonna reduce the amount of food I eat - to a bare minimum. But, I believe it can be off topic for many, so treat it as such if it goes too far for you.

            But, yes, going back to the main thing, social norms surely include what we "need" to possess/buy. Guys who value their own freedom will easily intuitively sense the potential of "neediness imposing" here...

            Don't know what more to write, actually just wanted to make some addition to what is said here, but I'm totally not used to talk about it, so maybe it sounds somewhat out of place, forgive me then; ) Anyway, yes, another positive response here..

            (I still have a stable job, mainly to pay alimony and have cash & position to spend maximum possible time with my son. Hence I choose not to be even more free for now, what also teaches me patience and the art of mimicry in the matrix; ))

            Thanks for the video btw. It was fun to watch.


            • #7
              For many years I have tended to focus on "investment"-like purchases and refused to make "waste"-like purchases.

              Exemples of "investments": education, going out, travel, clothes, gym... These have value to me in terms of experience and social, career and personal development.

              Exemples of "wastes": video games, tv, weed (at least in my personal case), going to ridiculously expensive posh clubs when I'm having much more fun at a cheap hipster bar, etc. I'm not saying I don't play games or watch TV shows... I do. I just never, ever pay for them.
              "I'm the kind of guy you don't want to bring home to mom. Cuz I'd fuck your mom."

              "I don't have a dirty mind, I have a sexy imagination"


              • #8
                Originally posted by xy View Post
                Yes, I'm absolutely positive, that matrix isn't only about its approach to sexuality
                Matrix = keeping you a slave by telling you how to live your life.


                and also

                "Music and life"
                The Qlue, simple perspectives on life.


                • #9
                  Everything I own fits in my sedan.


                  • #10
                    I dont have many things, but all I have is of high quality.

                    Most of my money goes into my hobby which is mountain biking and stuff related to it (clothing, protection, components). I have 3 bikes at the moment and I use one one of them daily (rotating depending on the type of riding I do) and all of them provide me immense pleasure.

                    I also love clothes, but I have plenty of those (usually but 1 or 2 items each month).

                    The only thing that I could reduce is eating out, I eat out alot because I don't have time/dont want to cook, but I usually stick to 99% of the time stick to cheap stuff like sandwiches when buying food outside.

                    I could probably fit all my stuff inside my car (with the bikes attached outside).

                    Sometimes I get an urge to get a manly SUV truck, but so far I have been holding off since I have a decent car already which does the job perfectly.


                    • #11
                      I came to the city I live in while on a backpacking trip. So I had 4 t-shirts, 4 shirts (knowing I'd have to work), 3 muscle shirts, 2 jeans, 2 shorts and some underwear with me.

                      I've been here for 3 months and I haven't bought a single piece of clothing to add to that.

                      The shit I own isn't even high-quality. It all just barely suits my needs. Like my phone is an absolute piece of crap.

                      Only thing I spend a lot on is guitars.
                      0---: "Oh! He's dashing!"


                      • #12
                        The funny thing about minimalism is that it grows your limits of freedom in multiple ways. With the amount of things you buy drops the amount of money you have to earn. The less money you have to earn to get by, the more freedom you have in taking on the work you love to do anyway. I've been working for 800 Euros for the last two months, which is basically what you call survival minimum in my country, but I could survive on it and it enabled me to dive in the work I always wanted to do when I was older - years before I thought I could.

                        The other, non-money-related thing about minimalism is that it helps reduce the bonds you have with things (and maybe even people, but I am not sure yet if this is a good or a bad thing) and thus the power these things have over you. The less things you own, the more free you are in leaving them behind, for example if you plan to travel. My brother spent about 350000 Euros on a house and had only like 100000 at this point. So for the next decade or so he will be paying back to the bank for this house, not being able to switch to another job he enjoys more but pays less, probably also not being able to move out of it too fast because he sacrificed so much of his time to pay it.

                        I don't plan to ever go into debt or buy stuff this expensive. To own might just be the other side of the coin of which the first side is being owned.
                        Bunterrichten - Alternativen zum Unter-richten:


                        • #13
                          And I wasn't the only slave to my nesting instinct. The people I know who used to sit in the bathroom with pornography, now they sit in the bathroom with their IKEA furniture catalogue. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 5

                          You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 5

                          "If you don't know what you want," the doorman said, "you end up with a lot you don't." ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 5

                          May I never be complete. May I never be content. May I never be perfect. Deliver me, Tyler, from being perfect and complete. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 5

                          It used to be enough that when I came home angry and knowing that my life wasn't toeing my five-year plan, I could clean my condominium or detail my car. Someday I'd be dead without a scar and there would be a really nice condo and car. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 6

                          Maybe self-improvement isn't the answer.... Maybe self-destruction is the answer. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 6

                're not how much money you've got in the bank. You're not your job. You're not your family, and you're not who you tell yourself.... You're not your name.... You're not your problems.... You're not your age.... You are not your hopes. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 18

                          All a gun does is focus an explosion in one direction. You have a class of young strong men and women, and they want to give their lives to something. Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don't need. Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they don't really need. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 19

                          I've met God across his long walnut desk with his diplomas hanging on the wall behind him, and God asks me, "Why?" Why did I cause so much pain? Didn't I realize that each of us is a sacred, unique snowflake of special unique specialness? Can't I see how we're all manifestations of love? I look at God behind his desk, taking notes on a pad, but God's got this all wrong. We are not special. We are not crap or trash, either. We just are. We just are, and what happens just happens. And God says, "No, that's not right." Yeah. Well. Whatever. You can't teach God anything. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 30

                          Best book ever
                          The Qlue, simple perspectives on life.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Qlue View Post
                            Best book ever
                            It's one of my fabourites too, but check out other Palahniuk books, I'd say Fight club is my favourite together with Invisible monsters.

                            “Experts in ancient Greek culture say that people back then didn't see their thoughts as belonging to them. When ancient Greeks had a thought, it occurred to them as a god or goddess giving an order. Apollo was telling them to be brave. Athena was telling them to fall in love.

                            Now people hear a commercial for sour cream potato chips and rush out to buy, but now they call this free will.
                            At least the ancient Greeks were being honest.” - Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby, I think it's chapter 3 (all the chapter 3 of Lullaby would be a huge quote, pure genius)

                            “No one wants to admit we’re addicted to music. That’s just not possible. No one’s addicted to music and television and radio. We just need more of it, more channels, a larger screen, more volume. We can’t bear to be without it, but no, nobody’s addicted. We could turn it off anytime we wanted.” - Again 3rd chapter of lullaby.

                            “When you understand that what you're telling is just a story. It isn't happening anymore. When you realize the story you're telling is just words, when you can just crumble it up and throw your past in the trashcan, then we'll figure out who you're going to be.” -Chuck Palahniuk, invisible monsters

                            "You know how you look at ugly hunchback girls, and they are so lucky. Nobody drags them out at night so they can't finish their doctorate thesis papers. They don't get yelled at by fashion photographers if they get infected ingrown bikini hairs. You look at burn victims and think how much time they save no looking in mirrors to check their skin for sun damage."- Invisible monsters

                            "I'm only doing this because it's just the biggest mistake I can think to make."- Invisible monsters

                            “Anything you can aquire is only another thing you'll lose.”- Choke

                            “At some point, your memories, your stories, your adventures, will be the only things you'll have left.” - Choke

                            I have not read all of his books, but the only one I didn't enjoy was Pygmy, it still has good quotes:
                            "Real smarts begin when you quit quoting other people"


                            • #15
                              While on the subject of Figth Club.. here is some gold from masf anno 2005. This is about a slightly different type of minimalism:

                              Originally posted by TylerDurden;
                              Replying to long emails... NO.
                              Answering long phone calls... NO.
                              Dealing with drama... NO.
                              Gossiping... NO.
                              Dwelling on stuff that I logically know is dumb... NO.
                              Watching any TV or movie that isn't highly creative and perspective altering... NO.
                              Living in cities that aren't world class calibre... No.
                              Time wasting... NO FUCKING WAY.
                              People who aren't living at a standard that I respect... CUT OFF.
                              Guys who waste my time... BYE BYE.
                              This stuff is ALL cut out of my life.
                              If I sense this kind of thing going on, I feel a wretching feeling in my gut and cut it off ASAP.
                              I wake up every morning ready to work. Another 16 hour work day... I'm all for it.
                              To me, this is a RACE... A race against time... While the world is choding around, I'm living my life.
                              On a related note, GF can be a huge time waster ime. Especially if you allow her to visit you often. Best to stick to ca once pr week, and preferably meeting her late in the evening.

                              Foruming can be a time waster too.. Make sure you dont develop bad habits like reading _everything_..