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Whenever I hear about or read any theories of child-rearing or education, I feel confounded by their underlying assumptions. Unless we agree on some form of an ideal human being, how could we assert in general terms anything to be good or bad for kids? In most cases, if we question the existence of an ideal human being, the theories collapse. Read »

Being free of having a meaning of life is not as easy as commonly thought. It is analogous to racism; most people are quick to deny being a racist, when in fact they are. Just because they consciously negate it, does not mean that they have no racial prejudice in them. In fact, their conscious negation makes it difficult for them to address the problem, because they don’t even know that they have a problem. Read »

As I took a walk in the park this afternoon, I noticed a man with a sign in front of him that said, “Tell me a funny story about living in New York.” About a minute later, I remembered a story I could have told him. Instead of going back to him, I decided to write. It is something I should have written down while my memory was clearer, but I figured it’s still better to do so now than later. It’s a story of how I ended up spending one summer fishing for mice out of my window. Read »

The concept of ego as an image of oneself is incomplete and therefore misleading. One cannot form an image of oneself independent of the images of others one has. It is by creating contrast with others that one can form an image of oneself. When A speaks with B, the image of A’s self is created by contrasting himself with B. His ego, therefore, is a result of differentiating A and B. Then it follows that his ego between A and B is different from his ego between A and C. Read »

It’s been my dream to coin a word that gets used by the general populace, and today my dream came true. This morning, I woke up to my wife calling my name excitedly. A local TV news channel, NY1, was describing an article in New York Daily News called “Muffin-top mayhem!” I coined that word, “muffin-top”, back in May of 2003, and I submitted it to pseudodictionary.com. Read »

I’ve always been interested in reading the insiders’ views of the academia of philosophy. Philosophy has always been close to my heart, but I’ve always resisted entering the academia. I believe my ego has always wanted to, but my heart has always rejected it. Being Japanese with deeply ingrained Zen values, for me, an academic pursuit of philosophy was self-contradiction of sorts. When I read that Wittgenstein had always advised his students to leave the academic life and to get real jobs if they wanted to be a real philosopher, I felt vindicated (just another manifestation of my petty ego). Yet, my superficial ego has never been able to resist peeking into the academia every so often, and wondered what it’s like to be immersed in it. Read »

When my daughter was about two month old, she would cry from pulling her own hair. Apparently this is quite common. My parents told me that my sister did the same when she was a baby. A baby at that age is not aware of her own body. Her existence is strictly limited to the physical world, and there is nothing outside of her body that can see it objectively. Once we develop mental awareness of our own bodies, crying from pulling her own hair appears comical. We have transcended the physical world by developing intelligence that understands the causal relationship between pulling hair and feeling the pain. Read »

When you have a child, you are supposed become wiser and more mature. Not true. You will be surprised by how superficial you can be. Perhaps a child enhances everything good and bad in you, like what MSG does to food. If you have recently had a baby, you would know what Bugaboo is. It is an $800 stroller that is all the rage even among parents who are not so rich. If you are a superficial parent like me, and if you live in New York City, you would notice them everywhere. Read »

It’s the 21st Century. You now have a vast array of music channels to choose from, either from Satellite Radio, Internet Radio or Satellite and cable TV music channels. Read »

George W. Bush is arguably the most influential and controversial performance artist in the history of Western art. Born as the son of George HW Bush senior, he learned early on how politics works. After studying at Yale and Harvard, he chose politics as his medium for art. In the 80s, like many other artists of the time, he was influenced by the French postmodern theorist Jean Baudrillard. He was particularly interested in the following passage in the book “Simulacra and Simulation”: Read »

I attended a symposium at The Guggenheim Museum titled “Echoes of Art: Emulation As a Preservation Strategy.” The panel consisted of well-known figures of the digital art world, half of it being artists and the other half critics and curators. They shared their concerns about conservation of digital art. One of the most poignant “problems” discussed was the fate of hardware-dependent artworks. The artist John F. Simon, Jr. presented a slide of his work which was constructed from a laptop computer, and told us a story of one of his collectors asking him to fix the broken hard drive. He was able to fix it only because the replacement drive was still available. He was not sure what he would do in the future when the parts are no longer available. Read »

“Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization” by Alex Galloway is an excellent book for those who are interested in learning how the Internet works. Most books of this nature cover only technical aspects, but this book tells the story of the Internet from political, historical, economical, ideological, and commercial perspectives. The book is also helpful in learning about the subcultures formed around the technology, like hackers and digital artists. However, as you could probably tell from the title of the book, these are not the primary concerns of the author. And, this is where I must raise some issues with this book. Read »

Almost everything I thought was going to be was wrong. It’s rather pointless to make a long-term plan about having a child, because you change and so do your values and judgment. Before the birth of my baby girl, “child” meant “responsibility”, which in turn meant “compromise”, “self-sacrifice”, and “conservatism.” I figured I had to be ready to put my child before anything else. I prepared myself to work hard even if I hated my job. I accepted that my creative life would be substantially compromised, mainly because I would have no time, money, or energy to do anything else other than working and taking care of the child. Now, I realize that I need to behave exactly the opposite of what I expected. Read »

Five days ago, a baby girl came into my life through the process that now seems like a surreal dream. One learns extraordinary things through extraordinary experiences, and I certainly learned something extraordinary from it. Before the details of my memory fade out, I want to write them down. Read »

Shiina Ringo, a 25-year-old Japanese singer / guitarist / drummer / pianist, has been invaluable in suggesting a much-needed new direction for contemporary Japanese music in an age when modern Japanese culture in general is commonly (and almost reflexively) perceived if not as a direct imitation of Western culture, then as something that is and always has been derived from a limited understanding of the West (a perception over 100 years old). Read »

I used to think that having a child was an easy way out of the paradox of life. After all, what better way is there to give yourself a purpose in life than to have someone whose life depends on you. Even an utterly lost soul, like George W. Bush, can turn his life around by having a child. Believe it or not, now I too am an expectant father. Many of my friends did not see this coming; some even told me that I was the last person they expected to have a child. Admittedly the idea still feels rather foreign to me. It was a result of my recent take on life; to let life happen, and to experience whatever happens in full. Read »

Our world functions like a gigantic brain. In this analogy, each of us is a brain cell. There is no scientific evidence that we ever forget anything; we just lose access to the cell that contains a specific piece of information. Once the connection is lost, that cell is useless even if it contains a valuable piece of information. Likewise, no matter how intelligent, talented, and skilled you are, if you have no connections to anyone else, you are useless. In many cases, it is better to be connected with less to offer, than to have a lot to offer but no connections. We humans are designed to accomplish great things by connecting and collaborating with one another, just like our brains do. Read »

If you know something about writing music, you know how useful musical theories can be. If you are an intuitive type who never studied theories, you are likely to keep on writing the same kind of music forever. And, eventually you will feel like a one-trick pony. Read »

I recently came across an anthology of writing on “New Media”, and was struck by how the editor explained the conceptual basis of the content through references to Western philosophers, namely Socrates, Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Adorno. To readers schooled in Western philosophy, this sounds quite reasonable. But given the nature of the topic, i.e. “New Media”, why should he assume that his audience is Western? Read »

For me, graphic design is not about personal expression. (I do that elsewhere.) It’s not about scoring high on some standard of aesthetics either. (High aesthetics is not always appropriate.) It’s about solving communication problems. My creativity lies in how I solve them. Read »

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