What is the Diderot Effect? Well it was named after a man named, Denis Diderot, an eighteenth century philosopher because of his essay, “Regrets on Parting with My Old Dressing Gown”. Basically what had happened was that his old dressing gown was getting raggedy and a friend bought him a new one. It was scarlet and elegant and Diderot loved it. But then as he was sitting in his new dressing gown, he realized that the chair looked shabby in comparison so he bought a new one. And then the chair didn’t match the room and the old curtains weren’t good enough for the new wallpaper. And you can see where this is going.
He said, “I was absolute master of my old dressing gown, but I have become a slave to my new one.”
We have talked about Real Minimalism before. And this is a pitfall that I wanted to explain to you. If you go by societies terms for minimalism – it becomes a consumer nightmare, much like Diderot’s new dressing gown. But if you go by Jesus’ terms for minimalism you will not fall into this trap.
Let me give you a personal example. My shoes had seen better days and I needed to replace them. I looked around and I found this awesome pair of hiking boots. They were gorgeous – the first, last and only time I ever went girly about shoes. Well, I bought them and then… the Diderot effect came in. They just didn’t go with my raggedy jeans. They didn’t go with my rash guards. I started looking for new jeans and then stopped and checked myself. I didn’t need new jeans, or new shirts or any of it! What I needed was a pair of shoes that match me, not the other way around. I gave the boots to my sister and she loves them, wears them a lot, and I bought a pair of plain ol’ sneakers like always.
Enjoy the hiking boots you see in the store. They are pretty. That doesn’t mean you have to have them. I love crystal chandeliers – I would never own one. You can like something, that doesn’t mean you have to have it. There is a difference between like, and want. There is a difference between want and need. There is an almost evil spirit in possession doesn’t allow you the pleasure of anything unless they own it and no one else. We don’t need that. Don’t get caught up in the materialism – it will all pass away.
Beware the Diderot Effect!
Peace be with you.