My personal critique of living and life in America:



Too many distractions

I feel like when it comes to life in America, 99.9% of the time we are thinking about buying a new car, getting that dream car, upgrading your car, upgrading your Apple devices, or iPhone, getting the new Tesla, or other random consumerist things.

Why is this? My theory is that consumerism, capitalism, marketing, and advertising is so advanced in America, and we have access to too many choices and options. For example, toothpaste. As a kid growing up, I just knew one. Now as adult, I’m learning about all these new strange hippie toothpastes, without fluoride, as fluoride is supposed to somehow control your brain or whatever. Having to decide what type of toothpaste to buy is another distraction in my life.

What do I desire?

For myself, the thing I desire, the most, is philosophical introspection, focus on building my physical and muscular strength, my photography and art, writing, blogging and thinking. And also my health.

The difficult thing is that in America, it is very difficult to be healthy. Why is this? There is no really good city which allows you to walk around a lot, and live without a car. Even San Francisco is not really that walkable. Even in New York City, you’re stuck in the subway 90% of time. And no, I don’t like Brooklyn. It is essentially a suburb, and you have to still take the subway to get into the city. My thought is either you live on the island or off.

I don’t like being stuck a car

Europeans love to comment, and critique Americans for being so fat, lazy, and just driving their car everywhere. But have you ever tried to live in Orange County, Southern California, where there are literally no sidewalks?

My thought is this: if I had the option of having the worlds most expensive hyper sports car, the most exotic Lamborghini or McLaren, or a Tesla model S plaid, or having the freedom to just walk around everywhere, I would choose the latter.

Why? Even if you’re in a Rolls-Royce, Bentley or a Hyundai genesis, etc., you’re just sitting on your butt all the time. No matter how comfortable the seat is or the car is, it is not good for your back or your health. Cars weaken you. And anything which weakens you is bad.

How have I been able to be so much more powerful in Phnom Penh Cambodia?

For me, the only real power is physiological power, physiological strength, and physiological well-being. For me power and strength is for the sake of lofty thoughts, thoughts, and a zest for a living, walking, playing with your kid, shooting photography and street photography, and attempting your one rep max in your deadlift and squat.

For me, power is not money, power is not territory, power is not political, power is not economic, nor social. For me, pure power is freedom to do what you want, when you want, and how you want.

Think about your digestion

A funny thing is that in traditional Korean, you don’t ask people just “how are you“. You ask them how their digestion is. This might sound very strange to an American or westerner but Asians are all about digestion. In fact, health is to abstract of a notion. Digestion is concrete. in Asia and in the east, traditionally, digestion is health.

Something I’ve noticed is that whenever I eat something country to my digestion, whether pork, Indian food, dairy products, coconut products, etc., it negatively affects my sleep, and my mood and well-being for the next day. When I have poor digestion, and I don’t sleep well, I feel a lot more weak the next day, with less power and physiological zest.

I have a theory: poor digestion, poor mood.

Therefore health should be this: simply get rid of things in your diet which runs contrary to your own personal digestion.

And this is different for everybody, depending on your genetics or personal ancestry. For example, I’m Korean, and being of east Asian descent, historically there has not really been much dairy products, or wheat products in our diet. Even all of the alcohol is fermented from rice. And all of the Korean sweets are rice-based, no bread, gluten, wheat, etc.

For cooking, it seems that sesame oil is preferred. I wonder even if east Asians shouldn’t be consuming so much olive oil, which is more hereditary to Mediterranean areas.

Also, a random suspicion; Asians haven’t been drinking coffee for a very long, however we have been drinking tea, and green tea forever. One of the theories is that the synergy between the L THEANINE and caffeine present in green tea is superior to that of coffee alone.

So essentially what I say is this:

be very very strict about what you consume, whether drinks or food, and consider your personal ancestry.

Also, what others may digest well, may not digest well with you. We all agree that “everyone is different“, yet we seem to try to prescribe the same rules for everybody?

For example, the Vietnamese notion that this is difficult to digest. For me it is not. My suspicion is that Vietnamese people only say that, because traditionally Vietnamese peasants have been too poor to afford beef, and thus, instead of just indulging on delicious beef belly, poor peasants will say rice is better for you.

So what should I do about this?

Spend some time living abroad if possible.

My friend Timothy Flanagan has spent some great time abroad (he is the ORIGINAL GANGSTER of nomadic living and taking the “alternate route” in life). He just took on an early retirement and wrote a great essay on “Go for broke”— Japanese racism in America.

So what inspired me about Tim –

He had a “standard” job as a schoolteacher, yet opted to take an early retirement (early 50s) in order to live a life of freedom, travel, photo, and writing and learning.

And congrats Tim on trading in your Fujifilm X100T for the RICOH GR III (new RICOH MAFIA inductee).

So my thought:

Whatever your situation in life is, opt for the “alternative” route in life — to maximize your own personal living and what you care for.



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Other random things

  1. Columbia Supremo coffee is insanely good
  2. If you want to become happy, move to Phnom Penh.
  3. Buddhism works for happiness — but is happiness the goal?

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