The Philosophy of John Wick

Keanu Reeves: my favorite actor. JOHN WICK series: my favorite movie series.

I find the philosophy underlying the JOHN WICK universe absolutely fascinating. Let me share some basic ideas:

1. A world beyond money

Watching JOHN WICK has changed my personal thoughts and beliefs on money.

For example in the JW universe, those living in the ‘underworld’ use ‘coins’ (gold coins) as a mode of transaction. However ultimately, money (gold coins) in the JW world is simplified — it is simply used as a tool of human-labor exchange.

Does John Wick care for money? Not really. He seems to care more about love (for his deceased wife). He also prefers to live in solitude (privacy) in (very boring) New Jersey.

2. On fame

The world of JOHN WICK (underworld) is only known to those of the night. They are not part of the ‘mainstream’ world. And they prefer it this way.

My thought as a spectator of the film:

“Would I rather live in the JOHN WICK underworld, or live in the (boring) mainstream world?”

As an audience member, of course we would prefer to be part of the underworld. Why? It is darker, more interesting, sexier, more dangerous, and more epic! Which makes me wonder:

Would anyone ever watch a boring film? No. We love the extreme, dangerous, uncertain, action-filled, and epic.

What if we lived our real lives in the spirit of an action film?

3. A mercurial world

I personally love the mercurial (ruthless) world of JOHN WICK. There is no remorse for killing. There is no political correctness, yet there are still rules, boundaries, and respect (professional courtesy).

To be frank, the real world is actually quite mercurial. There isn’t real ‘equality’ in the real world. Tolerance is weakly enforced in America, people don’t care that much about their neighbors, and injustice runs rampart in the streets (and offices, and institutions).

The real world is unfair. JOHN WICK shows this in raw detail.

Of course, the real world isn’t like JOHN WICK. But I think the JW films are a metaphor of the real world — stylized, intensified, and made more extreme.

4. John Wick as the ultimate stoic

John Wick/Keanu Reeves to me is one of my (bi-heroes). John Wick’s loquacity (not speaking much, like a Spartan of Plutarch’s histories) reflects that of a Spartan soldier, and his courage and grit is insanely motivational. You can withstand insane amounts of pain (not die), and still carry out your passions.

I think modern day living has made us soft and afraid of pain. Any small bit of discomfort seems unbearable to us. Watching John Wick reminds me:

When life gets tough, grit your teeth, smile, and enjoy the (fun and painful) ride.

John Wick fortune favors the brave
John Wick fortune favors the brave

5. The man who sits ABOVE the high table

The ‘high table’ is the fictitious group of oligarchs in power. But an interesting idea in John Wick 3: “The man who sits ABOVE the high table.”

Which is fascinating to me, because in the John Wick universe, all the individuals are bound by the rules of the high table. Apparently ‘nobody is above the high table’ — except one individual. This individual lives in the desert, in secret. Shouldn’t we aspire to become this individual — someone who is NOT bound by the rules and restrictions of society (the high table), and is free to live however we want?

Once again — the goal is to be OUTSIDE of the rules, or better yet– ABOVE the rules of society!



Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top