Life without the iPhone

Day 0 (5.26.13)

  • It’s something I already thought through about a month ago. At that point, I thought about all the different things I have to give up and I decided that there’s nothing really that I would be missing out on. Everything I can do on the iPhone, I can do on my computer. The only thing is convenience.

Day 1 (5.27.13)

  • It’s nice knowing that my phone only receives texts and calls. I don’t have to put any special restrictions not to check email or other stuff. I don’t feel bad that “I’m not taking full advantage of the functions of the phone.” My phone now is just something through which people can reach me.
  • It didn’t take long for me to figure out how to operate the dumb phone. There is part of me that is relearning the technology. But as I’ve thought through already, this inconvenience is nothing compared to peace of mind I can get through having a limited device.
  • I am much more willing to call someone rather than text because texting is so cumbersome.
  • I am also feeling like there is some kind of comparison that goes on. People are judged by what kind of phone they have. I feel just a little of that.

Continue reading Life without the iPhone

An Unusual Request

Two weeks ago, I went into the Verizon store at Harvard Square, and I asked a sales person to help me downgrade to a dumb phone. I had an iPhone 5 at the time, and I asked if I could trade it in for a flip phone. The sales person told me to buy a used phone and said that if I sold my iPhone, I could easily make $500+. After presenting what seemed to her a compelling case, I insisted that I do the trade in, and to do it then and there. She explained to me again, as if I didn’t understand the first time. I repeated my decision. Looking frustrated, she handed me off to another sales person. I repeated to him what I wanted, and he said, “You know, this is an unusual request. But you’re the boss. So we’ll do what you want.”

Why did I get rid of my iPhone 5? I have been a loyal iPhone user since 2009. The iPhone was the first and only smartphone I’ve owned. I really like the iPhone. So what happened? In very condensed form, there were two reasons: 1) to simplify my life; 2) in seeking sexual integrity, to block access to internet pornography. I will focus only on reason 2 in this post, and I hope to explain in more depth how I got here. To visualize my thoughts, below is a diagram.decision diagram Continue reading An Unusual Request


oblivion-tom-cruiseThe plot is very much identical to Moon. So nothing new there. The graphics and technology design was pretty impressive and innovative. The drones looked both good and evil at the same time. The landscape was not as apocalyptic compared to other movies, and it doesn’t show the city being destroyed, like The Day After Tomorrow. It was more sad and forlorn. Tired and weighty. Most of the structures were covered under sand and soil of some sort. And it doesn’t feel creepy like zombie movies. A little detail, the boundaries set up for radiation zones that keeps Jack inside his area, reminded me of a similar concept in the movie Gamer. [spoilers coming up]

What is interesting is that half way through the movie, it forces you the completely change your view. At first you think the drones and the repair team are working for the humans. Then you learn that they are working for the alien force. In terms of meta-narrative, what I found most striking is that it combines a Christ figure who sacrifices himself for the sake of humanity, but at the same time puts it right next to a pseudo-reincarnation theme moderated through clones and a hint of new age spirituality, with a spark of humanity in all of us. And this all comes together at the last minute of the move. Let me explain. Continue reading Oblivion

Thoughts on the movie “Departures”


I watched this movie with a few friends last week when everyone was snowed in during Storm Nemo. I really enjoyed the movie not only because I learned something new about Japanese culture and society and enjoyed the performances of the cast, but also because it brought up a topic that I haven’t spent very much time thinking about: death and the mortality of man.

Daigo is the protagonist who loses his job as a cellist in an orchestra. He and his wife, Mika, move to small town where Daigo finds a job preparing the dead for funerals. The first job he does involves carrying out the corpse of an old woman who had been dead for 2 weeks. He reacts so strongly to the smell and to the whole situation that the viewer can’t help but laugh. The viewer also can’t help but laugh because it breaks the discomfort: we realize that we would have reacted in the same way as Daigo. But after he sees his boss perform a few ceremonies, Daigo sees the power that preparing the dead has on the grieving family and he is captivated by this job.
Continue reading Thoughts on the movie “Departures”

Word, Demons, and the Internet

I’ve been reading a book titled, The Shallows: What the internet is doing to our brains. It speaks about how technology shapes the way we think and how it can actually change our neurophysiology. In college, I didn’t study neuro, psych, linguistics, or sociology. The book touches on these disciplines and many more. I find it to be fascinating. While reading, it reminded me of a devotional that I wrote in the summer. So i want to share that journal entry with you.

Below is my journal entry from 22 July 2011. It’s more like a flow of thoughts than an essay. i would appreciate any feedback.


Luke 4:31-37

Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.

In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!’

‘Be quiet!’ Jesus said sternly. ‘Come out of him!’ Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

All the people were amazed and said to each other, ‘What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!’ And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.

I remember a friend asking me if I actually believed in demons. I thought for a bit, and I said, “Yes.” In the 5 years of being Christian, I haven’t encountered a demon, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Yet demons knew and know Jesus to be God. Maybe spiritual beings know what we fleshly beings cannot immediately discern. So again, in this passage, Jesus is teaching in the synagogue, and people are amazed by the authority he has. People are amazed, but from the commentary I read yesterday, people aren’t believing. So even with authority and Jesus’ performing of miracles, there is disbelief. But coming back to this idea of authority, what would it look like to live my life with authority? Not my own, but Christ in me?

Interestingly, the people were amazed by the power of his words.

Words. Words are powerful. I’m trying to figure out what it means to have Jesus be the word, the logos. In fact, words are what separate us from other creatures. Words are the means of communication. Jesus as the word is the means that God communicates to us. And from the beginning, God spoke things into existence. And as we try to figure out our existence and origins, how much of it actually is just an investigation of God?

And how different would we live if we know and act like we were and are created? If not by God, at least by our parents? We had no choice in our existence. We enter into a system, a space, a structure. What would it look like to live knowing that we are limited? Knowing that there are things beyond our comprehension?

The power of the word is the breaking forth of intention and will. It is the entrance of something new. It is an act of creation. From nothing comes forth sound, meaning, and power. The invisible made audible. The invisible made temporal. The invisible brought into existence. And the unknown is made knowable. It is the formation of reality. And it is our most ready and powerful form of creation. It actually is creation. From the invisible to the visible. From thought to spoken word. From thought to words on paper. There’s nothing else that we do that is like this. We all make something out of something else, but nothing like the ease and readiness of speech.

We inherently create. Yet it is for the sake of communication we create. Or is it the other way around? Could it be that creation inherently operates to become knowable?

Words have power because it is our creation. It is an extension of who we are. It is the means by which we are knowable. What an interesting connection between creation and knowability. Then there is the question of why are we like this? Through evolution? Through God? Which is the more satisfying?

In God’s creation, he makes himself knowable to the other. That is the basic nature of creation. If we use the word example, we speak; we create words; and in that process, we are making ourselves knowable to the other. But whether or not the other will understand, we cannot control. The burden then falls on the speaker. How far, to what lengths will he or she go to communicate clearly, such that the other will know fully? That is why Jesus is the word. He is God’s full communication. He is God’s most exact and clearest articulation of himself, of course, by and through himself. This is not to say that Jesus was created. But rather, he is like the word before it is spoken. The image of what is to be, through which things are created. So John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”