Why are people obsessed with material possessions

Why we after Minimalism strive

Living consciously and parting with unimportant things is the trend. But what significance does minimalism really have for us and are we even made for it?

Why can it make us happy to have less?
“Because we have more things than we can psychologically call our own. People feel a satisfying kind of possession for things to which they also have a relationship and which they can appreciate accordingly. It takes time and experience with objects. That can only be done for a limited number of things. Possessions that go beyond that can keep us from what is essential - and become a burden. "

People have a satisfying kind of possession for things with which they are also related.

Minimalism is growing in importance. What is the social development behind it?
“The general rule is: What only a few achieve of their own free will, will be admired. For centuries, only a few could have much - a visible signal that someone has made it to the top of the social hierarchy. Today it is possible for almost everyone to own a lot. The contrast we admire now lies in living consciously and getting along with less without having to. "

Maybe we just need less? Instead of owning a DVD collection, I can also use digital offers ...
“Yes, due to the increasing digitalization of society, the importance of material goods has decreased. To be digital means to be flexible anywhere, anytime. Material possessions are tied to one place and need space and strength to be moved - and responsibility. This is increasingly perceived as a burden. In contrast to digital flexibility, material possessions tend to fix us and are increasingly felt - in contrast to sharing offers - as a loss of freedom and choice. "

Possessions beyond that can hold us back from what really matters - and become a burden.

Is possession really that burdensome?
“Possession is important to people. One of the reasons people are at the top of the food chain is because they own things and know how to use them. Our possessions allow us to do things that are far beyond our own sphere of influence. Having tools enables us to cut trees and split stones - impossible if we only had our bare hands. In short: Man strives for possessions because possessions give us security and can dramatically expand our possibilities. And it helps to express our own identity. The trend towards minimalism is therefore always only a desire for reduction, not a desire for complete renunciation. "

People are collectors - how does reduction fit in here as a life motto?
“Collecting is a very special phenomenon that has very little in common with simply having a lot. People who collect almost always have a relationship with every element of their collection. Collections are really psychologically obsessed and valued and are therefore too meaningful to be perceived as ballast. "

Bernadette Kamleitner is head of the Institute for Marketing and Consumer Research at the Vienna University of Economics and Business.