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Podcast: Kyle Chayka

Interviews
Author and journalist Kyle Chayka

In this thought-provoking conversation, journalist and art expert Kyle Chayka talks with Rabbi Rami on what living in a minimalist way can mean from a spiritual perspective.

Rabbi Rami’s guest this episode is Kyle Chayka. He is a weekly columnist for Pacific Standard. As a writer and critic, his work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, and Rolling Stone, among many others. He began his career as an art critic, and his new book, The Longing for Less: Living with Minimalism, is more in that vein than offering methods for organizing your spice rack.

So how does Chayka define minimalism? “I think you can separate minimalism into two things. There is the trendy minimalism that exists today with Marie Kondo and the like, and there is the more formal minimalism that started in the 1960s in New York as an art movement,” he says. “But for me, the core idea is not about objects or trying to own more or less possessions. It is about experiencing the world more directly, in an unmediated way, and that is what I tried to explore in the book.”

Cultivating a deep sense of self is possible through minimalism, and Chayka and Rabbi Rami discuss minimalist artists like Agnes Martin, who explored minimalism as a way to find transcendence, or Donald Judd, who used box forms to find the essence of itself, something that was true in and of itself, which has relevance in spirituality. They also discuss how living in a minimalist way can mean allowing something to be exactly what it is, without putting our own story upon it. This can be a challenge when it comes to allowing other people to live their own lives.

For more of this inspiring and enlightening conversation about minimalism and how it relates to art, Buddhism, reality, and dealing with other humans, listen to the whole episode.

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