Heart tattoo. Downtown La, 2011

The Purpose of Human Life

downtown la hearts

Let me give you some thoughts on what I think is the purpose of human life:

  1. There is no reason why we are on planet Earth. The universe was born (perhaps created by GOD), and through randomness and chaos, life was created. Through all this messiness, human beings were created.
  2. As human beings, we evolved to have consciousness and a sense of ‘self’ in order to interact and collaborate with other human beings, to survive, and become more powerful.
  3. Humans are weak. We are fleshy pieces, soft, without hard claws, teeth, and we are slow. We learned to co-evolve with other humans, to work together, to build tools, to help one another rear our children, to build homes, to build communities, and to build technologies to make us more powerful.
  4. First proposition: To be free of mental disease or disorders, we need to be SOCIAL. The more isolated we are, the crazier we get. Consider that solitary confinement is probably the worst torture. Also consider Tom Hanks on ‘Cast Away’ — where he makes ‘Wilson’ (volleyball) his friend, because to be human is to be SOCIAL, to have FRIENDS, and to INTERACT with other human beings. If we have nobody to interact with, we invent friends — perhaps this is where ‘imaginary friends’ comes from when we are kids, because we have nobody to interact with?
  5. To be happier, and more joyful — be more social. Talk to more people, strangers, friends, family, etc.
  6. The purpose of having a brain and consciousness is to INTERACT with other humans. So in your life, whenever you do anything– ask yourself, ‘Is this activity bringing me CLOSER or FURTHER away from other humans?’
  7. Second proposition: Human beings are the best drugs. We do (almost) everything to be more social. We go to parties to be social. We go on ‘social’ media to interact with other humans. We watch films, because we live vicariously through the ‘exciting’ lives of those on the silver screen. We make art, to please ourselves– but also to share them with others. Consider, ‘Would I make photos, if I could never share the photos with others?’ For me, I would not shoot photos if I couldn’t share them with anybody else.

Practical insights

OK, so we know that to be human is to be more social. Some ideas to be more joyful as a human being:

  1. Be more social: Don’t sit at home and watch Netflix by yourself. Rather, message your friend and ask them to have dinner. Surprise your friend by paying for the bill. You will be happy, your friend will be happy. Then let your friend ‘repay’ the favor.
  2. Share your art: When you make photos or art, share it with your friends. Don’t be afraid of being ‘judged.’ It is better to be judged than ignored.
  3. Join a local community (in real life): Join a local photo club, and if it doesn’t exist, make it yourself. A club only needs 2 people. So invite your friends to meet once a week (maybe on Sundays) to go on ‘photo walks’ together, to shoot together, and to share your best photos with each other.
  4. Join an online community: If you’re in the middle of nowhere, join the second best thing– online community. Join ERIC KIM FORUM for supportive community.
  5. Know that the quality of your social interactions depends on how much effort you put into it. For example, the more helpful and constructive you are to others — the more others will reciprocate in a positive way, and also help you. Therefore, treat others how you would want to be treated (GOLDEN RULE). Also, don’t do onto others as you don’t like others doing unto you (SILVER RULE).

More thoughts to come.



Philosophy: love of wisdom.


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