Lagom- The Swedish Principle of ‘Enough’

Another term I heard on TV this week (I forget where), is the Swedish word ‘Lagom’. This is a uniquely Swedish term for ‘enough’, ‘just the right amount’, ‘in moderation’, appropriate’, ‘not too much, not too little’, ‘adequate’ or ‘sufficient’. I was immediately intrigued and turned to Google to find out more.

They general school of thought is that this word originates circa the Viking era, from the word ‘laget om’ meaning ‘around the team’. The Vikings used to share around a horn filled with wine, for drinking and every had to take just the right amount, so that it could go round everyone.

This word is apparently ingrained into Swedish culture and guides everything they do- from eating and drinking, to their homes and environment. I wonder what we can learn from the Swedes? Would we have a more egalitarian society where we shared the wealth and stopped trying to compete with each other?

Surely there are two-sides to every thing- lagom could be viewed as a positive concept, an embodiment of fairness. But viewed negatively, lagom could be seen to encourage conformity or mediocrity. I think it is quite an affront to our Western, individualistic cultures- particularly those in Britain and America. One might even go as far to say that the idea of lagom is the antithesis of the ‘American Dream’.

I don’t know enough about Nordic culture to comment on how differently they view life. But I do wonder if this is why they seem to have fairer societies, cleaner countries, countries where child care is paid for, parental leave is the norm for both parents and they have a greater focus on green technologies.

I’d encourage you to have a read around the topic if you want a little more depth. Let me know your thoughts!

Minimalist bloggers pushing the same old consumerist culture

I’m always keen to follow bloggers whose content I enjoy reading and find helpful. However, I’ve recently become really disillusioned with a whole bunch of them. It seems like every single post they make is all about self-promotion and pushing their latest wares- be it book, film, DVD or e-book. It all amounts to the same for me- namely visual and mental clutter!

I think I feel disheartened because the whole idea of being Minimalist or Zero Waste, to me- is about being counter-cultural. That means going against the flow, the norms and what society expects of us. It’s one thing getting the message out there and it’s quite another pushing product, that ultimately has one purpose- to make people money. I understand that everyone has to make a living, but I’ve always thought that the most humble and honest way to do that is through living out that lifestyle whilst living a ‘normal’ life, holding down a ‘normal’ job.

The internet has brought about the rise of blogging, social media and things like Facebook or Instagram. Whilst these can be useful tools, they are also now pillars of Western consumerist culture. Tonnes of brands use them to make more money and we have witnessed the rise of bloggers and vloggers as celebrities. As I write this, I am preparing to go and ‘unlike’ a bunch of formerly helpful and informative bloggers. Sadly they have succumbed to the lure of cash and our consumerist culture. I will be a lot less irritated without these surreptitious adverts creeping into my inbox or newsfeed.

I hope this blog is an honest and personal exploration of the concepts of Minimalism and Zero Waste- advert free! I sincerely wish never to go down that consumerist path.