The Peruvian restaurant on Avenue A and 4th Street, once lively and refreshing, died slowly by its own lack of passion after a brief period of success. It’s one thing to have a splashy opening, but entire another to keep it up. Read »

In the past several months, suddenly the name Leo Strauss has been all over the media. Before that, I had never heard of him. The media depicts a rather sinister picture of him being almost like the leader of a cult whose objective is clandestine domination of the world. This paper tries to demystify Leo Strauss. Read »

Winning is beautiful and ugly at the same time. How do we cope with this apparent contradiction? How can we benefit from it without getting hurt by it? Read »

It all started from talking about a film called “Half Cocked”. I described the film as a representation of the Grunge era. My co-worker, Steve, flatly rejected my claim and asserted that it was about “Indie Rock”, or “Indie” in general. Read »

“Live like there is no tomorrow” is a popular piece of wisdom. Most of us have tried to imagine what that is like, and have figured that it would not work. But, at the same time, the idea of it resonates in us in some way. How can we interpret the wisdom beyond the apparent logistical problems? Read »

The popular phenomenon on the Internet, weblog, has a deceptive purpose for the writer/publishers. It isn’t so much having something to say that drives them to create weblogs, but getting others to talk about them is the real incentive behind the effort. In this sense, weblog is passive entertainment like watching TV. Read »

American freedom is not the only kind of freedom that exists. American freedom is a very specific kind of freedom, and it is marketed fanatically in this country as if it is the only kind of freedom there is. It is overrated. This paper explores American freedom as a government-sponsored advertising campaign. Read »

When does art becomes art? These days, artists are not artists because they make art; they are “artists” before the fact, mainly so that what they make can be called “art”. The cause and effect have been reversed. Should one make art with the intent of making art? If so what does that mean? Could one make something without the intent, and could it later turn into art? Read »

If you are good at something, are you also passionate about it? If you are naturally talented with math, do you also love it? If you are a child prodigy of violin, does it mean you are passionate about music? I would say not necessarily; or at least there is no reason to believe that this is necessarily the case. Read »

About a month ago, a friend I hadn’t seen in years called me out of the blue. He explained to me that he was calling from Algonquin Hotel, and that he was with several of our mutual friends from our college days in the hotel bar. He told me to come up. It was around 10PM. I left my answer ambiguous, but decided to go with my girlfriend. Read »

What is happiness? This question is different from: What makes you happy? I have no interest in the latter, for it is entirely subjective. We can semantically and philosophically argue what constitutes happiness, but there is a certain amount of commonality in the way we use the word “happiness” in ordinary situations. This commonality, I simply pretend to be fixed in meaning in order to present the following arguments. When you see a friend whom you haven’t seen in a while, you might exchange a few pieces of information about the state of your lives. After that, you might ask, “Are you happy?” And, your friend replies, “Yes, I am.” Then you say, “Good, that’s what counts.” The happiness that I want to discuss is this particular one. Read »

Over-specialization can make an organization inefficient, as over-generalization would also. Where can we draw a line? What tasks can be specialized and what tasks should be generalized? Read »

To unite is to stabilize. To divide is to destabilize. But these forces are one and the same. Because every unity is artificial, it necessitates division whenever the artificial imposition of unity contradicts reality. Read »

As you get older, the nature of your relationships with others gradually changes. You do not relate to your friends in the same way you used to. On one hand, your friendships seem to get shallower because of the time you spend with your family or your significant other, but on the other, they become more enjoyable in many ways. In general, your relationships with others become more reasonable, natural, and sustainable. Read »

Yesterday I finally had a chance to see the first installment of “The Lord of the Rings”, “The Fellowship of the Ring.” I knew very little about the trilogy and about the writer J. R. R. Tolkien before I saw the movie. Afterwards, I did some research on the history and the background of the book and its author. In short, it was one of the most impressively produced films I’ve seen, and at the same time was one of the most thoroughly boring films I’ve ever sat through for over 3 hours. Read »

Wittgenstein wrote in Philosophical Investigation, “to say ‘If it did not exist, it could have no name’ is to say as much and as little as: if this thing did not exist, we could not use it in our language-game.—What looks as if it had to exist, is part of the language.” There is a danger in assuming existence of anything that is exterior and/or anterior to language. This is what happens in religion where people dedicate their lives to defining what God is. Likewise, fine arts is a discipline concerned with defining what “Art” is. Both are byproducts of our language where the mere effects of language compel them to dedicate their lives to reducing the meaning of the words. Their involvement far exceeds intellectual inquiries; it consumes them utterly and entirely. What they seek is “transcendental signified”, but no such thing exists. They feel that if the name exists, it must exist. Instead of simply living, the words dictate their living. Read »

These days, we are all keenly aware of the changing roles of genders. There were days when one had to take on, against one’s wish, a role assigned by one’s own gender because of material necessities. It made sense for men who were physically stronger to go hunting, and for women who were physically equipped to nurture children to stay home. Today, chiefly because of technological advancements, the differences between sexes became less relevant. We all therefore strive to evolve ourselves more ideologically. The question I want to address below is this: If technological advancement renders the differences between sexes irrelevant, then how about the concept of family? Read »

Last night, Steve and I went to the new Olive Garden on 22nd and 6th Avenue, in the same building where my gym is located. It was the opening night of this branch. I had been waiting for it for over a month. I imagined that it would be empty since this particular neighborhood is not popular among non-residents, tourists and suburbanites, which make up the majority of their clientele. When we arrived there around 7PM, the place was nearly full. The cherry wood decor is decidedly fancier than that of the Times Square branch. It is probably twice as large as the average restaurants in Manhattan, and the tables and the booths are generously spaced to meet the suburban standards. A host with a newly trained smile showed us to a booth for two. Read »

“Shallow Hal” is a movie about a man who was conditioned by his own father to believe that the ultimate goal in life is to score the best looking woman possible. Hal himself is a chubby, below-average looking man, but he tries in vain to seduce a series of impeccable bombshells. One day, he gets trapped in an elevator with the famous motivational speaker, Tony Robbins. While they are stuck in it, the latter gives him a lecture of his life. Hal is re-programmed to see the “inner beauty” reflected externally, but he is not aware of this perceptual change. He falls in love with a morbidly obese woman thinking that she is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Read »

Nietzsche thought music was the best form of art because it is the most abstract. Another form of art that is just as abstract, if not more, is dance. It is interesting to note that dancing is often perceived as a feminine form of art. There is even a stereotype which assumes that most male dancers are gay. Gene Kelly even had a propaganda to promote dancing as a manly thing to do. Read »

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