Why I Love Death

Hanoi, 2017

Without death, we would not appreciate life.

Ok, so a lot of folks want to “cure aging” and live forever.

Let me share why this is silly.

To start, death is what makes life sweet.

If we never felt hunger, food would not taste good.

If we never got bored, we wouldn’t know what it felt to be excited.

If we did not sleep, we could not live or be awake.

Death is life’s primary agent of creation.

If our ancestors were immortal, we would have never evolved.


Our early ancestors might have only had one eye. Maybe no 5 fingers. Whatever they looked like, it was our genetic mutations and “survival of the fittest” is what made the best versions of Homo Sapiens live on.

ERIC KIM. Photo by Cindy.

For me, death is a good motivator. Why? Because if I don’t have a phone charger with me, I don’t waste my phone battery. If you went out without a phone charger, you don’t waste your battery playing dumb games or wasting time on social media. No, you use your phone for important stuff: making phone calls, texting, making photos, finding directions, and calling an Uber home in the evening.

For myself, I make it a practice not to bring my charger with me. Why? When I see my battery draining, I panic a bit. Therefore, it reminds me,

Eric, your life is like your phone. You start with 100% charge, but you will one day die. How do you not know that your battery (life) is only at 10%?

If I knew I only had 1 year left to live, I’d work harder. I’d write more, shoot more, and not waste time on accruing more money, answering email, or entertaining “meetings.” I’d maximize my time with Cindy, my friends, family, and loved ones. And I’d keep working on things which matter to me– empowerment through photography, and my life philosophy of appreciation, joy, and love.

Too much free time is bad for us

Hanoi, 2017

To be honest, most of us (myself included) squander our free time. Too much free time is bad. We don’t have focus, because we think time is unlimited.

An aphorism I made:

Nothing unlimited is good; nothing good is unlimited.

The concept is when our time is limited, we don’t waste it. Even my friend Charlie Kirk made some of his best street photos in Tokyo after hours from his stressful lawyer job. Because he had limited free time, he focused in Street Photography. He told me that after he stopped working, he found himself wasting more time.

For me, I try to live like today were my last. Even now, I’m at 10% on my iPad, trying not to waste any time to finish this essay.

Practical tips:

  1. To be more productive, use the “Pomodoro Technique”– work in 25 minute intervals, and set a LIMIT on how much you can work in a day. Also try out the “Pomodoro Photography Technique”.
  2. Don’t bring chargers or external battery packs with you on a daily basis. This will remind you NOT to waste your time on your phone, or not to waste your life. Just consider your life is an iphone battery at 5%.
  3. Don’t aim for perfection. Publish things in progress. Publish things that you consider 80% “good enough”. Perfection is our enemy as creatives.
True story.

I ultimately love death because it helps me love life. It helps me NOT to take this sacred life for granted. Thank you Cindy for teaching me that LIFE IS FLEETING.

Cindy: to the Eric I Know Film

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