cindy wedding dress look back eric kim self portrait flash trix kodak leica mp 35mm
Cindy trying on her wedding dress for the first time. Garden Grove, Orange County, 2015

Is immortality desired?

I think not.

1. Death makes life sweet

Me and Cindy doing a selfie in our apartment in Berkeley, before heading out. 2015
Me and Cindy doing a selfie in our apartment in Berkeley, before heading out. 2015

Death is what makes life sweet.

If we never got hungry; would we savor the taste of food?

If we never felt pain; could we feel pleasure?

If we never felt sorrow; could we feel joy?

If death didn’t exist; could we appreciate life?

2. Death is the ultimate equalizer

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Me and Cindy in Aix En Provence, 2015

We are all equal at birth, and at death.

Some of us might be born with a purple blanket. Others of us are born with dirty, brown blankets.

Yet, when we all die, we are all put in the same casket. Some of our caskets might be made of gold. Others; we might just have a wooden casket. Yet no matter the material of the casket; death is the same to all mortals.

3. We enjoy fleeting pleasures

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Buying groceries with Cindy. Berkeley, 2015

If there were no ‘decisive moments’ in photography, and life went on in an endless loop — photography would be no fun.

4. Immortality in video games

eric kim black and white street photography door silhouette hanoi

I remember when I was a kid, I was addicted to the gun-shooting game ‘Time Crisis.’ 3 lives cost $1 dollar. That was a lot of money for me as a kid.

I remember, I would not eat lunch, so I could save up money to play the game at the arcade.

It was a thrill. The chance of dying is what gave me zeal and fun in the game. I worked hard to avoid the bullets, and to avoid dying.

5. There is no ‘insert coin to continue’ in life

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I remember for my birthday, I was able to play unlimited at the arcade. The machines were set, so we could have infinite lives.

I played Time Crisis– thinking it would be fun.

But alas, it was boring.


I didn’t have to work hard to prevent dying. I knew if I just died, I could press ‘Continue’ without any consequences. No more frantically trying to pull out 4 quarters from my pocket.

I think life is the same. If life were forever, we would get bored of it. Why work hard? We will live forever anyways.

6. What gets me up in the morning?

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At my friend Yves house with Cindy and my mom // lovely dinner. Marseille, 2015

So what is the point of life?

I think to know that life is limited, is to savor it.

I think about death a lot. Daily, in-fact. Even as I am writing these words, I have ‘Memento Mori’ (remember that you must die in Latin) as my laptop wallpaper.

This makes me not waste my life. To not waste a precious moment.

I feel the purpose of my life is to help empower others. To help others fulfill their creative souls. To help others find possibility, when they feel like they are trapped. I know when I was working a 9-5 job; I felt like a cubicle slave. Nothing is worse than slavery.

I have found (some) remedies which have helped (partially) for myself. And like a good doctor, I want to share some of these remedies with my friends and patients.

7. Infinite time = boredom

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I feel if we were immortal, we would just be bored all the time. Kind of how bored I was, just playing video games, during summer vacations. Having some busyness and a schedule in life was actually quite nice. Because I had all this time I had to ‘waste’ in class, I savored my freedom after school was done. But with unlimited time on my hands, video games were no fun.

I also think that boredom is worse than death.

8. You don’t want no magic pill

I know for powerlifting, the fun is to see your maximum strength go up. And it is fun because it is hard. If I could just take a miracle pill and suddenly deadlift 600 pounds, I would have no interest.

If photography were easy and not challenging, I would not dare hit the shutter.

9. Difficulty is what wakes up the genius inside

Difficulty is what makes life worth it.

And a limited life is what makes life worth it.

10. I love you Cindy.

Photo by Brandon Phan

In-fact, I think death is the best thing that has ever been invented.

Without death, the earth would become over-populated and we would all live horrible lives.

Without death, we would not appreciate the beautiful colors of the autumn — falling leaves.

Without death, I would never cherish my time with my loved ones. In-fact, each night, I kiss Cindy good night like we will (both) not wake up the next morning.

11. Use death in a positive way

Use death in a positive way. The grim reaper is your life-coach. The grim reaper is sitting behind you, watching you, and asking you:

“I’m going to take you to Hades one way. Maybe today, tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, or 50 years from now. But you don’t know. So don’t waste your life. Don’t waste today.”

So if today were your last day on earth, what would you do, and what would you not do?

Be strong,

Cindy trying on a new dress. Paris, 2015
Cindy trying on a new dress. Paris, 2015

Stoicism >

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Become invincible against fate:

Learn From the Masters of Stoicism

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Learn from the master stoics:

See all philosophy >

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