Politic Quizzes Reflection

Politics—the allocation of power in parties and communities. I didn’t considered myself to be political because politics is not a big part of my day-to-day life since I am from a country where there is no elections; thus, because of this, I thought that I didn’t need to think about politics as a big part of my life. However, in TOK class, I learned that being political does not merely refer to the direct ability to vote and influence the dynamics of power, but instead being political refers to an individual’s impact on the outcome of power whether the individual acknowledge it or not. Therefore, in a sense, everything we do is political, affecting the spheres of interactions and power by either indirect or direct influence. Hence, to understand the world and it’s dynamics, as well as people’s interactions with each other, we should be aware of what is going on in politics. With this knowledge, we will be better able to understand the consequences of our actions and choose wisely. For example, the current circumstances regarding COVID-19 have affected the power dynamics between different countries and races and is therefore closely related to politics. Thus, it is important to understand the current situation to better protect ourselves. From taking the politic quizzes, the results indicates that I am more libertarian which means that I believe the government has a limited role and put freedom before both economic and social terms. However, from the political knowledge quiz, I can see that my results are quite low, showing how I need to expand my knowledge and become more aware of politics in the future.

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The Social Dilemma

The Social Dilemma presents the dangers of the progression of technology, specifically social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and how they manipulate human psychology to spread false information increasing biases that can have severe real-life impacts. Social media is created as pathways to gain knowledge, to spread love and positive messages on a global scale—the development of technology is seemingly a progression of humanity and knowledge. However, this development of technology does not bring linear benefits on humanity as the increasing access to the internet allows manipulation and conspiracy theories to thrive, disrupting the harmony. Therefore, we should be mindful of the ways in which the progression of technology may indicate the retrogression of social order. For example, the recommendations people get are calculated by statistics inferencing what they like. This decreases the exposure to content from different perspectives, increases polarization. Polarization can have real life consequences such as wars and uprisings and these results are detrimental to society. The existence of conspiracy theories also clouds the people’s minds as to what is true; without the same and valid set of facts, it is hard to reach the same caseous. The inhumane companies behind social media platforms are feeding on people’s susceptibility to false information as a mean for them to earn money. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of the existence of false information and to constantly expose ourselves to different information and perspectives that we don’t necessarily agree with. By doing so, we could try to get a more well-rounded understanding of society and eliminate or diminish our biases.

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HL Essay Outline on Grendel

Question: How does Grendel’s loneliness make him vulnerable to the both the Shaper’s view and the dragon’s view of the world?

Introduction:

  1. Introduce Grendel’s character as a lonely villain
  • “I exist, nothing else” (28) like a blank slate, absent of purpose and meaning in life. (Grendel struggles to pinpoint his identity/role in this world)
  • His longing for companionship and purpose essentially drives him to search for meaning through the stories coined together by others such as the Shaper and the dragon -> Although the Shaper creates an idealistic world and the dragon creates a nihilistic world, the influences from both worlds essentially contribute to Grendel’s state of mind, pinpointing his role as the villain, the monster.

Part 1: The Shaper’s Influence

  • Grendel’s first and foremost experience of loneliness stem from his relationship with his mom. “‘Why do we stand this putrid, stinking hole?’ She trembles at my words… (She never speaks.) ‘Don’t ask!’…But she told me nothing.” (11) — Grendel attempts to understand his existence through his mom but does not get a response. (This may be parallel to a child who is not getting enough attention from his mother–> thus feels neglected, as if no one understands him)
  • This loneliness is then perpetuated when he sees how mankind acts as a community. E.g. After an attack, he witnesses people mourning for the dead. “They wail, the whole crowd, women and men, a kind of song, like a single quavering voice. The song rings greasy smoke and their faces shine with sweat and something that looks like joy… they’re singing now as if by some lunatic theory they had won…I cringe, clawing my flesh, and flee for home.” (14) –> Even in mourning, man mourn as one because they are a community. Grendel succeed in attacking but does not break their sense of unity. He yearns to be a part of community like this, wants to feel included.
  • So even if he knows that the Shape is not necessarily singing about the “truth” (monetary benefits and honor) , he still is susceptible to his power of language—shaping and making sense of the history–> in a way, he wants to make sense of himself through the Shaper.
  • “He told of an ancient feud between two brothers which split all the world between darkness and light. And, I Grendel, was the dark side, he said in effect. The terrible race God cursed.” (51) (Confined Grendel to the label of a monster. Did not even make an effort to understand when he cries “Mercy! Peace!”—futile attempts to deny his “fate”)
  • Here Grendel experience the loneliness of rejection, defiance to the final desperation. “Why can’t I have someone to talk to?” “The Shaper has people to talk to” “Hrothgar has people to talk to” (53) –> Rage and hatred “let them wander in the fogroads of Hell.” (53)

 

Part 2: The Dragon’s Influence

  • This loneliness of rejection sets up a foundation for the Dragon’s influence on Grendel. “Now you know how they feel when they see you eh?” (59)
  • “That’s where the shaper saves them. Provides an illusion of reality—puts together all their facts with a gluey whine of connectedness” (65) (Meaningless, inferior, nothing to be liked about.) Almost pathetic with reality put together with gluey “wine” (chaos, ignorance).
  • “The exile, captivity, death they shrink from—the blunt facts of their mortality, their abandonment— that’s what you make them recognize, embrace! You are mankind, or man’s condition: inseparable as the mountain-climber and the mountain. If You withdraw, you’ll instantly be replaced… Scare him to glory!” (73)
  • According to the dragon, Grendel improves humans, giving them a sense of purpose and that he can choose to be a part of their society as the enemy. The fact that he can be replaced essentially compels him to act as his role (an attempt to maintain his purpose). Maybe because heroes such as Beowulf gain glory from fighting monsters like Grendel, Grendel can “scare him to glory” likewise.
  • “I discovered that the dragon has put a charm on me: no weapon could cut me… I was as solitary as one live tree in a vast landscape of coal” (76)
  • The shapers song “It enraged me. It was their confidence, maybe—their blissful, swinish ignorance, their bumptious self-satisfaction, and, worst of all their hope.” (77)
  • Both the shaper and the dragon’s role for Grendel actually increases his loneliness which then feeds on his desires to be included, compelling him to play the role of the villain. (Creates a weird cycle in which he is forever confined)
  • “Such are the tiresome memories of a shadow-shooter, earth-rim-roamer, walker of the world’s weird walls” (7) -> he is incarcerated by walls of fate, unable to be broken down.
  • Loneliness intermingled with his identity results in his ultimate death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Interview With My Parents

My mom and my dad walked to school every single day. They studied in school by using textbooks and worksheets. For example, for math, they had worksheets and problems on the textbook that they could work on. For Chinese literature, they had essay papers and worksheets as well. They did not use a lot of technology such as computers because these technologies were not accessible to them and their curriculum did not require computers since their grades were based on standardized testing. The biggest difference between my learning experience and their learning experience is that they were only able to learn from what the textbook told them which means that they were not able access other sources of information to eliminate biases. However, because I have a computer and thus access to all kinds of sources. I can evaluate the biases and gain a more wholesome understanding of the world and the society.

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Ignorance is Bliss Debate Reflection

Ignorance is bliss—a seemingly direct statement that actually reveals the nature of conditions and circumstances to arguments. During this debate, we have revealed that ignorance can be bliss for a short amount of time, but eventually leads to suffering. Therefore, this statement is true to some extent if we does not measure the weight of the bliss brought by ignorance and the weight of suffering brought by ignorance; for example, if a person is diagnosed with lung cancer and they hide this fact from their family, their family probably will be more carefree. Thus, from this example, the statement ignorance is bliss stands true. However, their family will eventually find out about their lung cancer the day they pass away, meaning that they will experience more shock and pain as they are unable to prepare for it beforehand. In this case, the pain from ignorance outweighs bliss from ignorance, so thus, this statement has certain qualifications which deems it untrue. By doing this debate, I have learned to deepen my understanding and think in a way purely driven my logic. As the third speaker, a lot of argument was based on rebuttal, so I had to consider the counter arguments when preparing for this debate. This compelled to consider multiple perspectives to achieve a well-rounded consensus.

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Are some ways of knowing more likely than others to lead to truth?

Before examining what ways of knowing are more likely to lead to truth than others, key terms need to be defined to avoid an overly semantic argument. The determining factor in this question is the word truth, which in this case, is going to be defined as the objective reality revealed by science that can withstand the test of time—meaning that it holds true by the laws of nature such as all humans eventually die. This particular argument will revolve around four ways of knowing, including perception, reasoning, intuition, and faith.

The conclusion formed by information derived from perception coupled with reasoning is more likely to lead to truth than intuition and faith. This conclusion is primarily exemplified in scientific experiments, such as the study conducted by Rain and his colleagues in 1997. They used PET scans that produced colored maps showing neuro activities inside the brain to investigate the difference in brain activities of murderers and non-murderers. The results show lower brain activities in the prefrontal cortex, parietal cortex, and left side of the amygdala in murderers than non-murderers. Using this information, scientists were then able to conclude that these different parts correlate with self-control, verbal ability, and inhibition of violent behaviors. In this study, PET scans fall into the category of perception as it is an example of technology allowing scientist to extend their senses, specifically sight, into an area insufficiently researched on—localization of function (the notion that specific brain parts correlate with certain thoughts, feelings, and behaviors). Then, by combining the PET scans’ results into behaviors, Rain could elucidate the positive association of the lack of activities in certain parts of the brain with behaviors more prevalent in murderers. Since this experiment does not aim to show causation or generalization, the correlation established is likely to remain true unless it is affected by the degree of homogeneity within the sample or the lack of sophistication in the technology used, which is a problem that can only be solved by the gradual advancement of science. Although perception and reasoning do not equate truth, they still provide somewhat valid evidence stemming from professional research. In contrast, intuition and faith rely on beliefs that cannot be proved in a controlled setting.

However, humans are primarily motivated by their faith and intuition, meaning that we are not necessarily creatures who behave according to logic. Still, instead, we use reasoning and perception to justify our intuition and faith. In other words, intuition and faith act as a premise in reasoning. For example, in the study stated above, it is the illogical and unproven idea of phrenology (size of cranium as an indication of character) similar to horoscopes’ function that gave birth to the concept of localization, thus driving scientists to conduct studies on this subject. It is the trust, or faith, and intuition that phrenology is true that compelled scientists to experiment with localization, leading to truth and understanding. Thus, we can argue that without intuition and faith, humans would have no incentives to reason. In conclusion, intuition and faith cannot stand alone against reasoning and perception, but reasoning and perception cannot exist without the incentives from one’s intuition and faith.

 

 

 

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Grendel HL Essay Ideas

1). Heroism

Why does Grendel do all he can to mock heroism?

How does Grendel create for Unferth a fate worse than death?

In what ways are Grendel and Beowulf both victims to heroism? Why can’t they escape their fates?

2). Morality

How does Grendel’s loneliness make him vulnerable to the both the Shaper’s view and the dragon’s view of the world?

How does he define himself and find meaning in life? (“tedium is the worst pain”)

Motifs:

the harp & yarns

-stories and expectations of the society

-gives meaning to history, creates the world

-confines characters (Grendel, Unferth) to unavoidable fates

the dragon

-agent of chaos

-spread nihilistic beliefs

-a work of art that influences (or possessing the power to influence)

– how does the dragons throughout this book symbolize power to shape society?

Philosophies:

How does the concept of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave manifest in Grendel’s and Beowulf’s world?

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Grendel Reflection #1

I think my current understanding of this book is not limited to one theme or perspective because Grendel essentially tackles everything in life from the marginalization of certain groups to the concept of toxic masculinity. Because the language the author employs is comprised of philosophical metaphors, there are different ways to interpret Grendel’s complex feelings and personal growth. What stood out to me the most is the concept of morality—the good versus the evil.

Grendel in the original Beowulf is characterized as a ruthless and emotionless monster who kills civilians, bringing darkness and despair upon mankind. Gardner also makes it clear to the audience that in the perspective of Hrothgar and his people, Grendel’s very existence is the physical embodiment of evil. The Shaper, for example, talks about “the ancient feud” between Cain and Abel, in which Grendel stands on the “bad side…the terrible race God cursed.” It may be this very title of evil that makes mankind deaf to his cries of “mercy” and “peace.” The presumption that he is nothing more than just a monster gives mankind the incentive attack, piercing spears through his harmless scream of “friends!”

Then, when Grendel realizes their animosity, he turns bitter from the mix of anger and sadness. Instead of asking for peace, he screams “bastard” this time because he is literally ostracized and forced to retreat into both his physical and metaphorical cave of eternal loneliness where he asked hopelessly, “why can’t I have someone to talk to?” This feeling of loneliness essentially carries him through his raids for twelve years in Hrothgar’s kingdom.

However, I wonder if he would even try to attack humanity and become an enemy everyone fears in an attempt to evade the pain of loneliness if society never rejected him in the first place, allowing him to have conversations with friends and love ones. If God never rejected Cain simply because he is born on the bad side, I wonder if he would still end up killing his brother. If the world never looked at them with discrimination, maybe their evilness would never be inherent. Thus, I believe that by deeming Grendel simply as inhumane, he inevitably will become the monster and the evil force roaming on the grounds of earth, because his evilness is not a choice, but an identity that mankind imputed on him.

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What do you know for sure, and how do you know it?

Before answering this question, I would like to note that if I were to assess this question from an external, or so-called objective perspective, the answer would differ from the internal or the so-called subjective view. But in this case, I cannot use an objective perspective because, like all humans, I am an individual entity, confined to my perception and understanding, so therefore I will only focus on subjective experiences and values.

To answer this question, we need first to pinpoint the categories of knowledge since it is a broad topic that involves different schools of thought. I believe that knowledge can be defined by three main types, including our understanding of self, our understanding of relationships, and our understanding of the world.

First, I know that I exist on earth as a living and breathing human being who can feel the pain of hunger, thirst, and bruises. There are instincts in my nature, telling me to avoid pain and seek happiness through activities, including hanging out with friends, watching movies, and eating food. Growing up in a loving family of four, I know that I play the parts of an older sister and a daughter in my identity puzzle. Through my sixteen years of life, I have also come to understand the concept of time in which the past is a fossil of history, the present is an uncompleted sculpture, and the future lies uncertain.

One could argue that these “things” I know for sure are complete and utter nonsense given that the filters—my cultural and educational background— might delude my view of the world, so thus, I am not to be trusted. To these critics, I have a concession to make because we are inherently living in a world we believe to be the reality. Hence, my version of reality and thoughts differ from those of yours. If you were to measure this question in terms of objective perceptions, the answer would be that we don’t know anything for sure.

 

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Artifact Wall 3.0

What contributions can I offer to a team?

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