How to Become a Philosopher

eric kim street photography - tokyo-0000358

Anyone can be a philosopher — you just need to have a love for wisdom.

Philosopher definition

A philosopher isn’t having a white beard, discarded all your material things, and meditating in a cave.

It just means “lover of wisdom.”

That means that you are seeking after wisdom — to find the truth in life. To give your life more purpose and direction.

Unfortunately to call yourself a philosopher nowadays is pretentious. So you don’t need to call yourself a philosopher to your friends and family; just keep the definition in your heart.

Just treat yourself as a curious child, trying to get rid of bullshit in your life; and finding more truth which works for you.

Nobody has the answers

eric kim street photography tokyo-0000545 eye depth

Nobody has the answers— only you.

To find ‘truth’ and enlightenment in life is nothing but finding what is important to you. And it is following your own gut, following your own conscience, and living a life morally correct to you.

I myself am promiscuous. I learn from Buddhists, Zen monks, Taoists, Stoic philosophers, Epicurean philosophers, Christians, Muslim people, Jesus, Judaism, and all the great prophets from the past.

I think that ultimately ‘God’ is love— embodied in the hearts and souls of everyone on planet earth. I believe in religious understanding, equality, and equal love of all of human kind.

I have a unique set of beliefs, even though I self-identify as Catholic. I think that atheists, agnostic people, and everyone deserves compassion and understanding. We are all just trying to find purpose, meaning, love, and happiness in our lives.

Some things which have worked well for me:

1. Start by asking ‘why?’

eric kim street photography hanoi-5

Studying sociology was my first step in philosophic inquiry.

I had questions when I studied sociology, such as:

  • Why is it that men are expected to work and women are expected to take care of kids at home?
  • Why do people think that money will bring them happiness?
  • Why are different cultures, different?
  • Why does religion exist?
  • Why is society the way it is?
  • Why do people have certain beliefs?

Studying sociology was great. Most of our classes were just philosophical debates and discussions. Thank you to Terri Anderson and Mark Jepson for opening up my mind.

Be like an annoying kid, always asking ‘Why?’ whenever possible.

Also, ask “Why?” more than once in a conversation. I think you need to ask “Why?” at least 5 times before you really find any truth.

2. Study the master philosophers

eric kim street photography hanoi-0003676

Study master philosophers from the past, to derive a foundation of their answers on life.

But treat them not as masters; but as guides. They have spent their entire lives thinking about love, truth, and wisdom — why not borrow their ideas?

As my buddy Seneca says, “All ideas are common property.”

Steal liberally from any thinker— either living, or from the past.

Then once you have some wisdom from the past teachers; learn how to kill them. To see the fork in the road, and just drive straight and go off-roading. To create your own path.

3. Never be satisfied

eric kim photography black and white hanoi-0009560

Once you think you know something; you know nothing (as Socrates said).

Try everyday to be a little less ignorant; and to find a closer truth.

That means to stay hungry, stay thirsty, and don’t ever think you have found the ‘true’ answer.

We can just spend our lives trying to become less ignorant. At least that is my goal.


eric kim photography black and white hanoi-0009910

Honestly if you’re reading this; you are probably already a philosopher. Someone who is hungry to learn, and to dispel illusions from life.

Be down to earth, and be a practical philosopher. Try to figure out how to make your life a little less stressful, and more meaningful.

To get started, check out some of my philosophy articles >

Also if you are interested in stoic philosophy, here are the guys I recommend you to read first:

  1. Seneca
  2. Marcus Aurelius
  3. Epictetus

Be strong,