Our sole purpose in life is to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. Any effort we make should serve that purpose; yet, any effort is a type of pain we should minimize too: it is only a medium, not an aim, to achieve pleasure with. No effort should be praised for its own sake, confusing aim with medium, and cause with effect (a common logical fallacy).

The best work is that done with pleasure, even a visualized pleasure to look forward to while working. Having no pleasure to enjoy or look forward to turns work into a burden, with poor work results. Breaks are thus needed intervals for maintaining motivation when work isn't motivating enough: to enjoy pleasures at break and "bring along" some to enjoy at work. Losing one's calm in the face of a stress during work or leisure spoils both (by insecurity, mindless competition, chaotic cooperation, etc.).

Life is better lived in relaxation, not tension, while tasting its pleasures or fulfilling its duties. Relaxed pleasures are more diverse, secure, and enduring than tense ones. The mere act of relaxing is not for recharging or pleasing the body or mind only; it's for creation too. Although both tension and pleasure inspired many great works in history, "minimal stress" allows more reasoning and foresight that tense genius sparks can't give. Minimalism is a broader concept with many applications in life:

The minimum effort principle is a well-known strategy used by many organisms, including humans, and applied in scientific, economic and social fields. It's based on the assumption that "minimum effort = maximum efficiency". In this context an effort could be pain, fatigue, stress, fear, boredom, uncertainty, etc. Pain is good sometimes, pleasure is good always, when available, as the latter gives purpose, coherence and duration to life.

Minimum Fight: Non-resistance is not only for body or mind, muscles or thoughts; it's a philosophy we use in social/political/economic relationships between people, or states. Gandhi, Tolstoy, and many famous gurus and Buddhist masters were non-resistance advocates, or pacifists. Non-resistance implies patience, resilience, open-mindedness and calmness (and sometimes partial on-demand temporary apathy). It's an energy-saving lifestyle that spares us much trouble our impetuous nature leads us into.

In nature, minimum friction helps reaching maximum speed: maximum distance traveled and targets reached, taking minimum time. Without oil,

  • a car won't stop,
  • a door won't open,
  • a body joint won't move,
  • a voice won't properly sing,
  • a food won't come in/out,
  • a child won't be conceived/born, etc.

Minimum Ideas: Ignoring one's dislikes is the only logical reaction to them, and the simplest natural medium of expressing dislike. It's ironic we forget how much time we devote to fighting things and people we don't love in the first place, to later discover we spent more time with them than with those we love ... living a lifelong battle, spending our years in the wrong place with the wrong people, and wasting the gift of life, that is only given once and could've and should've been lived for happiness, only.

If we own minimum possessions, we will have less insecurity about losing them, less time wasted on how to keep them, and more brain energy to think of other things.

If we enjoy simple minimum pleasures in life, we won't feel depressed for all the pleasures we can't have. Enjoying minimum pleasures doesn't contradict enjoying life to the fullest: happiness is about quality, not quantity; about "pleasure," not "pleasures."


Secular Asceticism             |             Physical Relaxation             |             Mind Relaxation