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Published onFeb 18, 2018


They say you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Every friend is remembered by becoming a part of me. I am fortunate to learn and borrow from all of my friends.

The little habits and thoughts and tastes that I took note of (and often imitate) from some of them:

  • Watching cigarette smoke, blue stars, friendly honorifics, tolerance and understanding towards those who hurt you

  • Viennese art nouveau, laborious art, how to listen affectionately and not condescendingly, natto-don

  • Note-taking, assigning roles, how to be both loving and courteous with family

  • Sharing, patient questioning, nitro milk stout

  • Tobacco, self-confident manners, owning nice things, how to be supportive without pitying

  • Spicy, almost blunt directness, feeding people, menthols

  • Roasts, dinner parties, connecting friends with friends, music from composers around me, pinot noirs, second-hand shopping, coconut oil, gold paint

  • Accepting mistakes, questioning how, old belongings, organizing, invitations

  • Life-Work-Life balance, self-perfectionism and benevolence to others, cheap & high quality, infinite bisous, Chris Garneau, cheeky, London

  • Nina Simone - Feelings, Montreux Festival, 1976; Mexican tiles

  • Sparkly/metallic textures, Nicolas Jaar, piscola, electro-pop, how to live philosophies


Am I here because of choice or inertia?

A better question may be whether I would say no if I reconsidered some of the things I were in. Another question is whether I am asking all of this because I am so used to moving and starting all over again.

Maybe unquestioning comfort is a virtue in itself.

A stretch on John Cage’s philosophy of “there is no such thing as silence”:

Absence is often considered a lack. How can I make it an existence?

How can I notice space without filling it?
How can I feel quietness?
How can I celebrate being alone?
How can I do nothing?
How can I vacate my mind?

On a more practical note:

I have been regimenting intake, exercise, and somewhat sleep for a silly ambition.

Often, the peace of mind comes from physical restrictions.


Humans are so fragile yet unaware of our own fragilities. Maybe it is a chosen ignorance.

I choose to ignore many vulnerabilities. My physical fragilities; I broke my leg recently, yet I am slowly starting to ignore that I broke a leg, that I am breakable; I smoke once in a while vaguely knowing how terrible it is for my lungs. Anxiety and stress; I know they exist, yet I always avoid confrontation, somewhat in hopes of them becoming naturally diluted with time.


I want intellectual freedom for the rest of my life—

that is the one definable life goal I have held for a while.

It includes:
freedom (and non-inhibition) of thought
freedom of access to information, knowledge, and thoughts
freedom to converse
freedom to question
freedom of speech in academic discourse
freedom of application

All is starting from privilege of a wealthy, advanced academic environment. I am at a good starting place at the moment. It is the first time I have been able to sustain such intertwined bodies of thoughts. My journal no longer has isolated pages of unexecuted thought.

I do wish to know more precisely where it came from. As far as I know, it is the only thing that I have consistently wanted and found interesting. The farthest I have traced it back to is my parents, both scholars from poor families, who always joked, “We don’t have money or property. The only property we can pass onto you is our knowledge. It is our valuable.”

As much as I would love to live forever and ever in the dream of a thought world (and I probably could), I quote Wittgenstein to myself: “don’t think, but look!”

Hopefully, I will make closer to average.


Most of what I own is contained within my body. I do not need to own much else. The more contained my possessions are, the more free I am.

Would I be happier if money and title were my objectives?

This question of course comes from the privilege of having both.

It is unfortunate that my environment lends to titles before existence. It is difficult to be nonjudgmental when a conversation is primed with words of status and authority. They are the first things to be said, yet I am contented from a conversation when I have shed most of them by the end of it. It is easier to deliberately close my eyes and ears; ignorance is bliss.

I want to admire people because I admire them, not because they are admirable.

Strangers are often easier to love.

Anna WB:

I spent the past few months stressing out about whether staying on for a PhD was the right choice, or whether I was falling into inertia because I mostly like it here. I like your framing of this concept; I think I’d have been happier just being comfortable with my decision/non-decision.

Sara Falcone:


Hane Lee:

1. When I have all the life cycles on a strict schedule: eating (healthily), sleep, exercise

2. When I am in an extreme state regarding one of the above: hungry, sleep deprived, running completely out of breath or lifting the heaviest weight I can lift, etc.

Sara Falcone:

Do you really believe this? How do you internalize your minimalism? Minimalism has been so popularized it seems like people are actually preaching that they are happier for owning fewer shirts and not using shampoo but create youtube channels describing their work around. If obsession with possessions is transferred to another anxiety the core ailment is still there, just manifested differently. I’m not saying you do, just curious about your thoughts, just a note.

Hane Lee: