“Of a great metaphysician
He looked at his own Soul with a Telescope
What seemed all irregular, he saw and
shewed to be beautiful
Constellations and he added to the Consciousness hidden
Worlds within worlds.”
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Notebooks
A rationalist and romantic in equal parts, trying to demystify the exploding cosmos in his own head. From star to solitary star, he joins the celestial dots in the dark canvas above, like an ancient astronomer trying to make sense of the universe, searching for secret signs in the sky.
His favourite pastime is meaning-making.
When he isn’t absentmindedly engaged in dialogue with his metaphysical doppelgänger, you’ll usually find him flinging spells in World of Warcraft, doing some frivolous writing, reading something literary or philosophical, or taking a quick dip in the pool (even though he secretly hates exercise). His less noble guilty pleasures include browsing Reddit and Tumblr on autopilot and romanticising the past.
A bit of an old fogey where regards literature, he may come across to some as hopelessly archaic, if not obtusely pretentious (he prefers to think that he couldn’t be farther from either). He finds most intellectual and emotional resonance in the literature of the English Renaissance, 18th-century and Victorian England—and often risks lapsing into romantic daydreams of those unlived, bygone epochs. To compensate for this neurotic fixation while keeping up with the times, he has lately wandered into contemporary fiction by the likes of Kazuo Ishiguro and Umberto Eco. In spite of his rather prehistoric interests, he has a rather incongruous investment in works of recent popular culture (music/art) that are often dismissed as frivolous and unedifying. He firmly believes that literary value is an emergent quality of literary pursuit—one will find it where one begins the search.
His favourite fictional works include John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667), William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (1597), Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus (1592), Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day (1989), Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose (1980), and the lyrics of an occasional Taylor Swift number.
A once avid student of science who sorely misses wrestling with abstract systems, he also enjoys wading (sometimes flailing and losing himself) in the dark but inviting waters of critical theory, in particular psychoanalysis and (post)structuralism. Lacan, Freud, Saussure, and Derrida are some of the theorists whose work he greatly admires. Analytical philosophy is his second love, and his interests include metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of death. He is still trying to come to terms with the fact that an objective third-person perspective is impossible due to the inextricable relationship between consciousness and perspective. Sometimes in his moments of agnostic quiet, he wonders if there is a God—he doesn’t know anymore. A firm advocate of humanism, he sincerely believes in the power of human agency and intellect in the actualisation of self and society.
In the real world, he is a budding educator with dreams that he sometimes feels are too big for him; he relishes in sharing his epistemic spoils with those who care to listen, hoping to recreate in others similar moments of enlightenment and awe that have captivated the roving learner in him. Against his practical judgment—Fortune (in both the material and cosmic sense) allowing—he one day hopes to scale the Everest of literary study, notwithstanding the knowing that
“Long is the way
And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.”
— John Milton, Paradise Lost (II.432-33)