Philosophy of haircut

Cutting all my hair away has become a regular practice during the lockdown.

The practical reasons include hygiene and convenience. Long hair takes a long time to groom. The whole process of delicate grooming as the first thing in the morning takes away too much willpower and decision-making capacity that could have been better spent elsewhere.

There are also schools of philosophy that I am constantly reminded of by this new haircut.

By Buddhism, I was encouraged to search for myself behind everything external: achievements, possessions, and even my own physical body. Looking at my hair provokes an existential question: these were once part of me, but they are all lost now. What is it in me that cannot be taken away by the environment? Who am I? What does self-identity even mean? (Admittedly, I have not thought about the idea of “non-identity” much, but just trying to cut the ties between external appearance and internal self has been really helpful).

From Stoicism, I learned that we should be used to be ridiculed for things that are non-essential to us. This allows us to stand up even when we are going to be laughed at and that we are not constantly seeking compliance and outside approval. I have not been ridiculed, but the haircut is somewhat unconventional for someone in civil society (i.e. non-military) at my age. The experience teaches me to become comfortable with being different.

The above are the reasons why I kept my current haircut.

I feel it is also appropriate to record down an anecdote of getting a haircut before COVID-19. In the middle of the last haircut I had, because I told the barber that his masterpiece was somewhat asymmetrical, he became angry at me and was holding a few of my hair at one time and asked me how much I wanted it to be cut. This was a bit traumatizing: just imagine your brain surgeon holding your brain scan and ask you which part to be cut away after he has already opened your skull; this was the low-key version of that 😂. There are occasions where the customers should only have expectations for the results and not involved in the execution process. So who knows, perhaps I am just philosophizing over my Freudian trauma 😜.


Personalizing medicine