Is a stratified society necessary for the few (artist-philosophers) to thrive?
Where I’m coming from
Growing up I’ve always despised the notions of “haves” and “have nots”. Generally this came from the fact I grew up poor.
But now that I’m rich and effectively retired, I’m at a place in society which is foreign and new to me. I no longer need to “work for a living”; my entrepreneurial goals are more existential (I only work on projects which I truly care for). Even with workshops where I make most of my money; I only do workshops which are fun for me, and I do them according to the following metric:
If I did this workshop and didn’t get paid; would I still do it?
Thoughts on Mexico and Vietnam
Two of my favorite countries and places to live, travel, and work include Vietnam and Mexico. And this is the great privilege:
My dollar goes 5-10x further in these countries when compared to back home in the states.
This includes services, hotels, food, coffee, and almost everything. When I’m in these two countries, I have the realization:
No matter how hard I tried to spend my money, I can never run out of money (I earn “passive income” faster than I can spend it).
My investments back home accrue more interest than living costs (hotel/apartment and food) in Vietnam/Mexico. Which is weird; isn’t this the dream?
Where stratified societies are good (for the rich)
America is interesting and weird; we generally hate notions of aristocracy and royalty, yet we still fight for distinction and rank.
Also, even if you’re rich in America, your dollar doesn’t really go that far.
For example I know in Indonesia, you can have a live-in maid which only will cost you ~$100 USD a month (full time, for the whole month!!!) who will cook for you, clean for you, take out the trash, walk the dog, take the kids to school, etc. In America, generally speaking, it is frowned upon to have a full-time servant or maid. But in most non western countries (Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Mexico) to have (several) servants is the norm even for the middle class and upper middle class.
What are your life goals?
Now this is what I find very interesting:
You can free up all this time and effort; but towards what end?
It seems ultimately there is nothing better than creative leisure: to have the mental capacity, zen, and focus to work on creative things. To not have to worry about work or other petty duties.
Why were the ancient Greeks so productive?
Perhaps the ancient Greeks were so productive because of their army of slaves. Even Plato and Aristotle recommended that the ideal polis (city) or household economy would have several and many slaves.
And I believe all these philosophers (even the most poor philosopher Diogenes the Cynic) had 1 slave (who eventually ran away from Diogenes). Perhaps it is necessary to have servants, or other people doing the “dirty work” in order for us (rich) to maximally thrive artistically and philosophically.
Living back in the states
After around 2-3 years of living nomadically, Cindy and I are quasi-settled in Providence, Rhode Island. And we have been living a great life without any “servants” or extra labor.
What has been helpful?
- Living in a “minimalist apartment” (tiny apartment where we have been able to maximally simplify our life)
- Cooking meat in slow-cooker crockpot ($20 from Walmart). Toss the meat in the morning, and by dinner it is ready!
- Cheap grocery stores: We can buy meat for 99 cents a pound (pork shoulder) or cuts of beef loin for around $1.99-2USD a pound.
- Not owning a car: Providence is all walkable. No need to own a car — living a life WITHOUT a car as a 10x better life.
What has brought me the most joy
The greatest joy back in the states:
- Powerlifting at the local gym (easy 15 minute walk). Making friends at the gym– my primary social outlet.
- Ability to walk everywhere (at least 1 hour a day). I agree with Nassim Taleb: perhaps walking is as important as sleep.
- Simplified lifestyle which allows me to be less distracted in order to think deeper philosophical and artistic ideas.
- Ability to have access to fast wifi (at home) in order to produce much digital information (photos, text, videos) and to share quickly.
My simple conclusion so-far:
The best life is the maximally simple, in which you don’t even NEED extra “help” or servants. The best life allows you to focus on artistic production and philosophical thinking.
Dictate your meaning and purpose in your life with ZEN OF ERIC:
- Do You Love or Hate Reality?
- On the Brian, Body and Mind
- I’m Maximally Happy, Now What?
- Care over Fame
- ACTIVE NIHILISM
- Never Stop Subtracting
- How to Live a Happier and More Epic Life
- A Risker Life is a Better Life
- Only Work on Things You Can Imagine Doing for Eternity
- How to Maximize Your Happiness
- The Gladiator Makes His Plans once He Enters the Ring
- Meditations on Meaning in Life
- There is Nothing More Interesting than Human Beings
- Is Hope a Vice?
- Why Be Unique?
- Happiness is Metabolism Health and Strength
- You’re the Hero
- Is Productivity a Virtue or Vice?
- Why Do We Prize the Rare?
- The Joy of Uncertainty
- How Should I Best Use My Time and Life?
- A Life Without Pain or Suffering Isn’t a Life Worth Living
- Free or Unfree?
- What Do You Really Care For in Life?
- Anti-Satisfaction in Life
- Why Think?
- The Eternal Return
- Only Do What is Best for You!
- Why Be Happy?
- Permissionless Living
- In Praise of Unconventional Wisdom
- Become the Change Which You Wish to See in the World
- Beyond Freedom
- Idolize People, Not Stuff
- What Makes You Stronger? What Makes You Weaker?
- Why Hate?
- The Secret of Happiness
- You’re Constantly in a State of Becoming
- Life is about Choices, Not Obligations
- 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 >
Respark your passion for photography:
- SF BAY AREA STREET PHOTO ADVANCED WORKSHOP (November 13, Saturday 2021)
- LEARN FROM MASTERS ONLINE WORKSHOP (December 11, Saturday, 2021)
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