Why? I think in the realm of philosophy, stoicism may be the only school of thought which actually is useful in every day living. For example, conquering fear doubt and hesitation, how to advance through setbacks, how to deal with other people etc.
Conquer it all:
I think ever since Nassim Taleb, stoicism has gained a new renaissance. Stoicism is now quite mainstream, and interesting to a lot of people.
First and foremost, we must interact with other people. No no no, even if you were a monk in the mountains, you will still make friends with villagers etc. No man has his own island.
I think it is a good idea to be honest here — and we love people. Everybody loves people. The new ones is which types of people we like and we don’t like.
Having the courage to ask why I can be one of the most courageous things we can ask in modern day times. Why? I think in modern-day times, to ask people why is seen as a threat. Or like you’re being critical or judging them in a negative way.
However for me, I am simply curious. I’m curious why people engage in certain behaviors and activities, and it really isn’t from a space of judging, it is more my personal curiosity about human nature, society, sociology etc.
Even in Vietnamese, one thing I learned which was insightful was that the question, “Tại sao?“, (在牢?) is seen as an affront.
tại (“because of; for; to blame”) + sao (“why; how”)
Therefore, when you ask somebody “Why?” You’re seeking someone to blame?
Also in Korean, the funny thing, when a parent calls upon their child, and the kid is slightly annoyed, they respond by saying, “왜?” Weh (왜) means “why?” or “what do you want?” When I was in college, and I would teach English to kids in Korea over the summer, I remember finding it so striking that when I will try to call the attention of a Korean kid, they would respond by saying, “Why?” Instead of the standard English, “What?”
Tai can also mean “…because”.
Why is to exist?
I think sooner or later, a lot of people, once they retire, achieve all these accolades in life, etc., will often meditate on the meaning of their existence, why they exist, the purpose of their life, etc.
However, to meditate on the purpose of your life is simply a steppingstone. It is not the final goal. The final goal is to gain some sort of deeper clarity about the purpose and why of your life, and then, dedicating all of your strength, balls, chutzpah, audacity and courage to attain those goals.
“For the man who knows the why of his life, he will easily discover the how.” – Nietzsche
Being disliked or hated?
The funny thing is in life, it seems that everyone desires to be liked. Yet, what if actually, the opposite word to be desired? To become more heated, fear, or disliked?
For example, I might be one of the most hated photographers, street photographers, or photography personalities on the internet. Why? People are befuddled by me. People ask me, “what is up with all of these flexing videos?”
The funny thing is people become indignant when you publish things which are not to their liking. However, this is a funny thing,
It is all free. Also, you have the power to unsubscribe, or just not click on it or look at it.
This is this bizarre sense of entitlement people have with the internet:
“How dare you do things which are against my own personal interests!”
The simple strategy is to stoutly proceed, and keep marching on, just imagine like juggernaut from the X-Men movie, busting through the walls.
Why is this all so critical?
A lot of people follow me and look up to me. A lot of creators look up to me. I feel like it is my duty, my mission, my missionary duty to empower other people and creators.
I was randomly musing this morning, currently I am 35 years old, born in 1988. When I started traveling the world and doing all this street photography stuff, back in 2010, 2011, I was only 21/22 years old. This means if I do the math, I’ve been in the game for almost 14 or 15 years. Soon this will be 20 years plus.
Also funny enough, I am lucky enough to see the Internet change and evolve. For example when I was just in high school, a sophomore junior in high school, it was all about Xanga in my space. Then I saw the rise and fall of Flickr, and now, The Fall of Facebook, and the overshadowing of TikTok over Instagram.
I was in the car with Cindy, and I was randomly thinking, besides Facebook and Instagram, where else can people share their photos?
arsbeta.com was my first grand mission—
Creating a proof of concept, a double blind experiment in the realm of photography, that is, if the poster of the photo is anonymous, and the commentator is also anonymous, what type of behavior will this facilitate?
What I discovered is that it actually promotes good behavior. Why? People are more genuine and honest.
WHY BECOME A MISSIONARY?
One of the great ideas that I got from Peter Thiel from “zero to one” — this notion, missionary or mercenary?
A mercenary mean somebody who works, fights, or labors for some sort of market-determined price for labor. A missionary is somebody who is on a mission, it doesn’t have to be religious. And you don’t have to be some sort of Friar monk with a bald shaved head.
One of the things which is really inspiring of watching Sergey Nazarov when it comes to his lectures and interviews and presentations is he really doesn’t seem to care for money, he really does care to create something that will change the world for the better.
Compare Sergey with a lot of these other fake entrepreneurs, who simply want to cash out, buy a Lamborghini, and retire on some sort of desert island.
Life goals I have had, and done did —
- My curiosity ever since I was a teenage kid, not to “work for the man“, become “my own boss“, and earn $100 an hour… and just work a few hours a week (my desire as a 16 year old kid)
- When I was around 20, 21 years old: would it even be possible for me to transform my passion, street photography, into a living?
- Gain financial independence — FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE RETIRE EARLY, also, gain location independence, becoming a digital nomad. Traveling the world, becoming famous, having solo exhibitions and books etc. Purchasing your freedom. Life post-retirement?
- Make money through bitcoin and crypto — three Lamborghinis in the bank.
- Have a kid
- Atlas lift 935 pounds — 9 plates and a 35 on each side, and rack pull 815 pounds — eight plates and two tens. For reference, I am certain within a short period of time I shall be able to atlas lift at least 10 plates. Can you imagine seeing somebody on the squat rack, getting ready to squat 10 plates on each side? Also, my mythical rack pool; can you imagine seeing somebody about to deadlift eight plates, and 210s on each side of the barbell? I am certain within a year, I will be able to successfully rock pull over nine plates.
- Now what?
WHAT CAN YOU BECOME?
- DOWNTOWN LA — CONQUER YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY AND LIFE
- CONQUER SAIGON VIETNAM
- CONQUER STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN PHILLY
- For the next month, only take icy cold showers. The best way to do this is start off by taking a really really hot shower, until you get really really hot, and then finish cold. Slowly overtime adjust the duration and tempo, until you go only go cold full-time. I’ve been doing this religiously for the last seven or eight years, ever since the cold Michigan winters in East Lansing.
- Whenever something bad happens to you in life or you gaining some sort of setback, just say to yourself, “Fuck it!”, then hit the gym, and churn out a new one rep max for your atlas lift or rack pull
- For an entire month, whenever you randomly cross paths with somebody in the street or sidewalk, make eye contact, smile and just wave at them.
- Don’t use headphones, AirPods, air buds for a month. This includes the gym.
- Practice driving without any music, radio, podcast, on. Drive mute.
- As a nighttime routine, don’t read nothing but stoic philosophy. Read the meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and also the letters of Seneca.
Email eric [at] erickim.com
- HENRI NECK MARK IV: DOMINATE.
- EK NECK STRAP MARK II: KILL IT
- ERIC KIM WRIST STRAP MARK II: BECOME THE NEW RULER OF THE STREETS
A stoic platform?
Perhaps my next enterprise.
In the meanwhile, Stoicism 101 >
Thoughts, ideas, random stuff on my mind
- What does it mean to gain more power? Is feeling more powerful the same as actually being more powerful?
- How to deal with bullshit: just ignore?
- The market is stupid. Otherwise, how does Pepsi sell Mountain Dew?
- To improve your website, disable bullshit
- An upgrade means having less
- Don’t do anything to “benefit others“, rather, only do things to benefit yourself.
- People want to murder out their cars, but instead, better to just murder out yourself.
- Real masculinity versus fake masculinity?
- Just do as you please, deal with the consequences later.
- Just buy a cop car: for example, the Ford explorer ST?
- A good reason to wear all black clothing; let’s distracting to yourself when you drive?
- Visibility is critical in cars
- Always anticipate the worst case scenario traffic.
Always new thoughts on the EK BLOG >
ERIC KIM MIRRORS
Forward the power
Feeling a little bit more stoic and motivated? If so, feel free to forward this to a philosophical friend!
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