What is the worst malady in the modern world? Nihilism (the pathetic philosophy that says life isn’t worth living).
What is nihilism?
‘Nihil’ in Latin means “nothing”. Thus nihilism is the philosophy of ‘nothingness’. The idea that because there is no God– what is the purpose of being alive?
Nihilists will often say:
I wish I were never born.
I wish I were dead (yet I don’t quite want to commit suicide).
Nation of sedation
Thus what happens? Most of us sedate ourselves with drugs, entertainment, alcohol, social media, on the (slow) march towards death.
Most nihilists try to live life like this:
To keep living with the least amount of pain until they die.
Where does nihilism come from?
A lot of people look at pain, suffering, and ‘evil’ in the world, and ask themselves:
Why does pain, suffering, and evil exist in the world?
Many people who were raised Christian, then start to question their belief in god by thinking to themselves:
If God truly existed, why would he allow pain, suffering, death, and injustice to exist in the world?
Most Christians have the faulty notion that God is some Zeus-like character with a white beard, chilling in a cloud somewhere, governing the world’s affairs. And that he somehow ‘allows’ pain, destruction, death, and injustice to happen in the world.
What does a God-less world look like?
Now, let us imagine that you don’t believe in a “God” anthropomorphized as a wise man, who controls and governs the affairs of human beings. If so, how do you live your life?
A lot of people get very very afraid of this notion: because it means that the world is cruel, unjust, and dangerous. It means that you are 100% responsible for your own life.
Many of us Christians like to ‘outsource’ our concerns and worries to God. We pray for our conditions to improve, and we hope in a better future.
Belief in God(s) isn’t bad.
I think that for most people, belief in God(s) isn’t a bad thing necessarily. Belief in religion and superstition allows most people go on with their everyday lives, with joy, self-confidence, and faith in themselves.
Yet, if you consider yourself ‘agnostic’, ‘atheist’, or whatever– how do you live in this world?
And this is the problem: a lot of ‘atheists’ end up becoming nihilists. Why? The mentality that, “You’re going to die anyways– what is the point of life?”
Why I am anti-nihilist
Full disclosure: I was born and baptized Catholic, and am still a practicing Catholic-Christian (yes, Catholics are christian).
Yet, I don’t believe in a lot of religious superstition associated with the Christian faith, or notions of ‘God’ as many other Christians understand.
For myself, the reason why I am a Catholic is because I believe in (most) of the beliefs of the Catholic church, and I admire the courage of Jesus Christ (and his teachings).
But with my personal philosophy, I don’t think the ultimate purpose of life is to ‘spread the good news of God’, nor is it to convert the whole globe to become practicing Christians. Furthermore, I don’t believe there is an ultimate ‘purpose’ of life; I believe that it is our duty to create our own purpose(s) in life — we are the ultimate judges and creators of our own (new) table of values.
It don’t matter if you believe in “God” or not; the fact and truth is that you’re alive, breathing, and life is the ultimate.
You will die.
The only truth is that one day you’re going to die (maximum lifespan of humans is ~120 years).
If you’re reading this, you’re alive and breathing. So the question is this:
In a world where it is uncertain when I will die, how should I live my life?
You must decide for yourself how to live your own life.
If you know that you have 100% control over how to live your own life; is this an empowering thought, or a depressing thought?
Do you like having the option of living life according to your own standards? Do you have enough courage to create your own table of morals and ethics for yourself, and to obey yourself?
My personal take
I cannot speak for you, but I can speak for myself.
For myself, being alive is the greatest fucking blessing ever conceivable. You can technically do anything you desire, and there are no limits to your activity (except yourself).
I personally treat reality as my own personal playground; for me to have fun, for me to discover new truths, and to share these ideas with others.
We desire control.
Every morning when I wake up, I ask myself: “What should I do today?”
I almost never plan a day before, besides things like teaching workshops and certain travel obligations (aligning to Cindy’s schedule). I got no boss to answer to, I don’t check email, and I don’t check social media. So what do I do with my day? Whatever I desire!
The ideal day for me.
What do I desire?
- Go to the gym and do deadlifts, squats, dumbbell press, chinups, listen to music, think, zen out, enjoy the sauna and go home.
- Come up with spirited and ‘turbo thoughts’ which interests me intellectually. Then to put these thoughts into words (blogging) or in video format (vlogging).
- To make artwork: Make artwork with my photos, with my beats, to make poetry, make illustrations, make sketches, etc.
- To walk around, and think.
- To publish information and knowledge I’m proud of.
- To keep pushing my personal limits, and enjoy some nice coffee (preferably visit a coffee shop during the day).
- Going to sleep, feeling triumphant, like I squeezed out all the maximum productivity I was possible of; going to sleep with a clear mind that if I died tonight, I would be happy with what I did with my life.
In praise of individualism
The antidote to nihilism (the idea that the world sucks, and thus being alive sucks) is this:
Become the ultimate individual in yourself.
- Become ‘financially independent‘ by taking on a more ascetic lifestyle, reducing your expenses to the bare minimum, engaging in the least amount of business, emails, and other things which distract you.
- Determine your own personal code of ethics, and sticking to them. Not desiring to emulate the virtues of others (Nietzsche).
- Don’t seek personal happiness via others; seeking happiness purely by your own actions. This means, seek happiness by getting stronger at the gym, by producing more ideas which you are proud of, and making more photos that causes your heart to sing.
- Ignore the rest of the world: Ignore current events, politics, and things which don’t directly affect you. Taking a stoic approach and only focusing on the things which you directly have control of (your own life), and disregarding others, and certainly ignoring the ‘advice‘ from others.
- Never blame anyone else; never blame society– also not to blame yourself. Just focus on action and your own personal productivity, and just keep doing epic work.
Develop your own personal intellect
We philosophers must strive to continue to cultivate and develop our intellect and bodies.
What makes a human being unique from other animals? We are a trillion times smarter than any other animal on planet earth.
How to develop your personal intellect
Practical tips on developing your own intellect:
- Lift something heavy at least once a day: I find that the stronger I get (physically at lifting weights), I get more epic ideas.
- Dare to challenge conventional wisdom: Don’t just swallow the wisdom of others; always challenge it. Follow your own gut, and whenever you smell something that you determine is bullshit, break it apart. Figure out why you think what you think; and why others are probably mis-led or wrong.
- Read other philosophers or thinkers who you like: There aren’t any “right” or “wrong” philosophers. I think it all comes down to personal taste. Just keep reading thinkers and philosophers, until you find a few philosophers or thinkers who you truly admire. For myself, my personal favorites include Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Nassim Taleb, Nietzsche, Epictetus, and modern thinkers such as JAY Z, Kanye West, Peter Thiel, Steve Jobs. Also as a practical tip: Better to re-read the words of the same thinker several times (who you like), than to always search for “new” thinkers.
Conclusion: LIFE IS DOPE.
Life is dope; it is something worth relishing, not to merely cope with.
When life seems tough, bounce back and get back on track.
There ain’t nothing you lack, stay focused with your black eyes, and ignore society’s lies.
Your heart is pure gold, your muscles are swole — what are you capable of? You can’t be told; you must discover it for yourself — within yourself, regardless of the hand you’ve been dealt.
You’re a heavy-weight, scale higher and fly further. Make your own culture in yourself; hustle hard, and get that championship belt!
Dictate your meaning and purpose in your life with ZEN OF ERIC:
- First, Do What is Best for You.
- Live Dynamic
- How to Prosper
- Is the Point of Life to Be Satisfied?
- SUPREME EFFORT OF WILL.
- How to Become more Idealistic
- Thrivival 101
- Create Yourself
- How to Live a Heroic Life: Dare the Heights!
- Human Augmentation
- Happiness: Do What You Want to Do (And Don’t Do What You Don’t Want to Do)
- Avoid Vain (Empty) Pursuits in Life
- Modern Slavery
- Kill the Leeches
- Wisdom Augmentation
- Why We Need Friction in Life
- Straight Line Philosophy
- What’s Your End-Game in Life?
- Create Your Own Happiness Today
- Desire Both Pain and Pleasure in Life
- Try the Impossible
- Anti-Social Extrovert
- Never Blame Anybody But Yourself
- Human Flourishing
- Simpler, Not Better.
- How to be Free
- Embrace the Extremes
- Cultivate Your Own Culture
- Inner Power
- How to Live a Purposeful Life
- My Definition of Happiness
- Why Change is Good
- Why Work?
- How to Live the Happiest Possible Life
- The Two-Pronged Approach to Maximize Joy in Your Life
- You Always Have Another Option!
- Never Stop!
- What is Your Self-Directed Purpose in Life?
- Live Today Like it Were Your Last
- Do You Photograph to Live, or Live to Photograph?
- Live Life to the Fullest!
- In Praise of Selfishness
- Why You Must Be a YAY-SAYER to Succeed in Entrepreneurship and Life
- Why I Love Walking
- Live Life Like a Video Game!
- Simple Luxuries in Life
- Treat Your Life Like a Fun Experiment!
- Only Prove it to Yourself
- You Don’t Always Need to Feel Joyful to Live a Fulfilling and Meaningful Life
- Life is Too Short to Be Bored!
- Money Cannot Destroy Boredom
- How to Find Inspiration in Life
- Why You Must Ignore Haters to Succeed and Win in Life
- An Active Life is a Happy Life
- My Simple Joys in Life
- Never Stop Striving
- How to Motivate Yourself in Life
- How to Be Optimistic in Life
- How to Dictate Your Purpose in Life
- In Praise of a Dynamic Life
- How to Enjoy Life
- Photography Therapy
- How to Conquer Regret
- Take Your Play Very Seriously.
- How to Prosper
- Memento Vivere
- Destroy in Order to CREATE
- Trust Your Body More Than Your Mind
- Make Photos to Make Meaning in Your Life
- Seek Knowledge, Not Information
- The Purpose of Human Life
- How to Overcome Impedence
- Why I Love Death
- How to Be Centered in the Eternal Now
- How to Be Happy
- Why Do You Care What Others Think of You?
- Why I’m Happy
- Why I’m So Prolific
- How to Reduce LAG in Life
- How to Be a Stoic Street Photographer
- How to Use Photography as Self-Therapy
- How to Free Your Soul From Disturbance
- How to Be a Zen Street Photographer
- Zen in the Art of Street Photography
- How to Find Tranquility in Your Photography
Learn more: Start Here >
Unleash your creative potential:
- November 7th, 2020: ERIC KIM BLOGGING MASTER CLASS (Online, via Zoom). [Register Intent Here]
- April 10-11th, 2021: BOSTON / Discover Your Unique Voice in Photography Workshop [Register Intent Here]
- May 1-2nd, 2021: CHICAGO / Street Photography Composition Masterclass [Register Intent Here]
- May 22-22nd, 2021: NEW YORK CITY / STREET PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERCLASS by ERIC KIM [Register Intent Here]
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