Why Be Unique?

It seems one of the American dreams is to cultivate uniqueness. This is what fuels a lot of our consumerism:

The desire to purchase something which exhibits our personal vanity of our own personal uniqueness.

But the philosophical question:

Why be unique?


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We want to mirror reality

Perhaps the first goal:

We want our exterior appearance to mirror our internal reality.

If we truly believe we are unique, then we want our possessions and external avatar to also reflect our inner-uniqueness.

I don’t want to be alike.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a big ego. I’ve seen myself as stronger, smarter, and more keen than my friends.

The truth is I see myself larger (in my mind) than I am in reality.

For example:

I can only squat 350 pounds, but in my mind I can squat 405 pounds.

My mind is more powerful than my body.

I disdain the idea of being similar to others

Tokyo flash, RICOH GR II. Escalator.
Tokyo flash, RICOH GR II. Escalator.

Part of my personal pride is this:

I don’t believe I am alike anyone else, nor do I think anyone else is like me.

This is my personal pride. This is why with my clothing, possessions, and lifestyle, I HATE it when I see someone who looks like a clone of me. Why? Because I realize I am a clone of a certain ideal. This is one of the reasons I don’t like to wear ‘all black everything’– I am simply another clone of this ‘minimalist’ aesthetic.

What is the best way to distinguish ourselves?

People in elevator. Japan
People in elevator. Japan

It seems a bit basic to distinguish yourself with consumer products.

For example:

  • I don’t want to own a Leica M10, because everyone already has it. I prefer my (more rare) black-paint film Leica MP.
  • I don’t like having straps made by others; this is why I design my own products (HAPTIC INDUSTRIES).
  • I don’t want to be another photographer on Instagram. This is why I deleted Instagram and started ARS instead.

But the problem is this:

I am an American at heart, and consumerism and materialism/capitalism runs deep in my roots.

To be frank, I will always be who I am. I will always have some consumerist desires for X, Y, Z, but at least I am honest about it. I don’t want to fake virtue signal that I’m somehow ‘superior’ to others.

Unique individuals succeed more, and are happier


I think this is WHY you should strive to be more unique:

The more unique you are, the more interesting you are, and the more you will ‘succeed’ in modern society.

It is easy to become a clone– a basic replica of all the other stereotypes in society. More fun to avoid ALL BOXES, and become a ‘cult of yourself‘.

Layered Tokyo street photograph
Layered Tokyo street photograph

What is your personal aesthetics and philosophy?

To be unique is to be YOU.

Cultivate your own aesthetics, your own taste, and share your own personal philosophy with others.



Philosophy by KIM

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