As a child, I was utterly captivated by my Dad's study room. I marvelled at how he could pick up those colourful, rectangular things on the shelf and disappear into that room for an entire day. Despite my attempts to imitate his behaviour, I couldn't make sense of the dense accounting, economy, and management books he studied.
One day, however, I stumbled upon a treasure:The Life of Friedrich Nietzsche by Daniel Halévy. The Chinese translation of the book, titled Friedrich Nietzsche: I am the Sun, caught my eye because those were the only few words I could recognize at such a young age. My excitement was palpable, and I felt like Archimedes bursting out of his bath, yelling, "Eureka! Eureka!" I was convinced that I had discovered the universal truth: the Sun was a bearded, strange-looking guy!
I soon learned, however, that my family found my claim ridiculous, and I became the subject of their mockery. I secretly told everyone, "Do you know the Sun has a name called Ni Cai (Nietzsche's pronunciation in Chinese)?" and fancied myself a detective scientist who had uncovered the identity of the Sun. Looking back, I know it was silly, but that childhood mystery stayed with me for years until I learned about the concept of metaphor and who Nietzsche really was.
Despite my initial misunderstanding, my fascination with Nietzsche and other philosophers never waned. Nietzsche's assertion that "he who has a why to live can bear almost any how" stayed with me and guided me through my teenage years. Like many rebellious and self-centred adolescents, I blamed my parents for everything, believing that "I did not choose to be born." In my early twenties, I experienced enormous self-doubt and struggled to find my purpose.
I wrote countless suicide notes in my diaries but never acted on them. I lived with a constant existential crisis but never spiralled into mental illness. I'm still not sure if I'm a coward or a survivor in this life game.
Now, I want to share my journey of discovering my WHY, or my personal philosophy. This article serves as a guiding principle for my brief time on earth, and I hope it inspires you to find your own path and live life on your own terms.