Blank slate life: Imagine having nothing to do

[…] This whole idea of minimalism, this whole movement, is about simplifying our lives by removing some of that stuff.
But there’s just so much stuff, and it seems like most people, they can’t even list all the things that are filling their lives.
Can you make a list of everything in your life? It seems like that could be a valuable thing to do, to really know what is filling up all the time.
Because there’s just so many things, and it’s hard to know where to start to simplify them, there’s sort of an opposite approach that I like to consider.
Imagine this thought experiment Imagine your life had absolutely nothing in it.
Instead of thinking about taking things away one by one, “What can I declutter?”, “What can I remove?”, imagine just removing everything.
There’s absolutely nothing in your life at all. […]
Start with a blank slate.
Start with nothing.
And then think: what do I need to add to this life to make it better, to make it a good life? So, starting from the very beginning, we would have something like I think it would be great to be able to eat.
OK, so we need to eat to restore our strength, and maybe also the food taste good.
Isn’t that great? As soon as we add the very first thing, there’s suddenly a whole world developed around it because we need to get the food, we need to cook the food, store the food, a place to eat the food, and all these things sort of come up around it.
But just imagine that being added as an ingredient to life, and now the whole world of “What do I need to have food in my life?” And then that becomes its whole system.
A big one that I would love to have is to have a comfortable place to sleep.
Having some shelter, having a nice bed where I can have good rest: that would be wonderful.
And of course, proper plumbing facilities to have a clean place to live is a wonderful thing to have.
Don’t usually think about it unless we don’t have it.
Just starting with those basic necessities, that becomes a new blank slate.
So you can imagine the total blank slate, nothing, and then just imagine just basic necessities.
Imagine a life where you simply sleep and eat and take care of basic bodily functions.
And the rest of the time, you do absolutely nothing.
Maybe you can sit and look at the sky, observe nature.
Maybe you can meditate.
Maybe you can really just actually do nothing at all.
What would your life be missing? Maybe each of us has a different answer to that question, but it seems like one of the most basic things that perhaps for all of us would be that we would want some kind of companionship, some kind of love.
We would not want to live this way entirely alone.
So imagine you are with people you love, maybe a partner, maybe with your friends, family.
Maybe everybody could imagine this in different details.
Maybe somebody wants to live alone with a romantic partner, and that’s ideal.
Maybe a large family. Maybe living with a group of friends.
However you imagine it, I would bet that everybody, almost everybody, would want to add some kind of love and companionship to this basic picture.
So now, let’s add that to the blank slate.
So now you have your basic bodily functions plus love, companionship.
Imagine that as being all you have in your life.
And of course, they go very well together.
If you have eating, eating is a wonderful thing to do with loved ones.
Sleeping with your romantic partner.
And this is living together and doing basic things.
This seems like a wonderful life.
What would be missing from this life? […]
I mean, each of us might have a few things that we would really want to add.
But how much do we really need to add to this basic picture? I wonder.
I wonder how much happiness could be possible in such a simple picture.
If we could live this way, live at such a level of simplicity, and do so in a place that is itself very pleasant and wonderful, with nature, and to have a good environment, good place to live, good people to live with, and just basic living.
It almost seems too simple.
Do I want to forget about all civilization and all the details and everything else going on? I’m not sure that I would want to completely throw everything else away and just forget about it.
But at the same time, I don’t know what specifically I would absolutely need to add to this basic picture.
If we can take care of our basic bodily functions and love and companionship, these things, do they make a complete life? Or is something else missing? It seems like we can learn a lot just by wiping everything that’s filling our lives and imagine building it up from this blank slate.
What would we be missing if our lives were that simple?

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