Who I Am Politically

Political Compass:

Nolan Chart:

Political Bias:

I never believed myself to be a political person and I still believe that I am not. This is shown in the last image where my ignorance in the field of politics is clear.  This roots from my lack of knowledge in the basics of politics and grows from my disinterest in political news. Another major reason is that I do not have a clear political standing. However, I would like to educate myself more on the subject.

In order to be deemed as “political”, I believe that a person needs to know the ins and outs of politics. For example, they absolutely need to know the basics of politics such as an understanding of economics. They also need to be actively participating and outspeaking in their political values/beliefs.

I believe that everything can be political to an extent, but it does not have to be. For example, even water can be linked as a political issue, but it is possible to just view water as water itself.

I believe it is important to be aware of what is going on in politics as it has an impact on the society that I live in, which eventually has an influence on me. I am usually interested in social & political issues and a current issue that is big in Korea is the brutal abuse that Jungin went through. This is an important issue as it shows the faults in the bureaucratic system.

The Social Dilemma

Recently, I felt like hatred between opposing sides were escalating than it had ever before. Watching Social Dilemma made me realize it wasn’t just a feeling. Social media show people what they want to believe in, giving the false sense that everybody agrees with you. This destabilizes and erodes the fabric of the country as people do not need to compromise as they have a program that shows only their truth.

Modern advances in technology strain our ability to distinguish between information and disinformation. A study conducted by MIT showed that fake news on Twitter spreads 6 times faster than real news. It is impossible to know what is true when misinformation has a clear advantage. Furthermore, social media has a system that is biased towards false information as it is more profitable than the truth (people find truth often boring). To know what is true and what is not, extensive research is required before passing information on to others.

As stated in the first paragraph, social networks reinforce our existing perspective by constantly showing what we believe in. Furthermore, social media impact how we browse, search, and filter data and information. According to Social Dilemma, two billion people have a thought that they never had because Google would send notifications. This links to how social media is being used in politics. Facebook is a great tool of persuasion that effectively controls the population, leading people to vote on a certain notion or a figure.

While social media is truly astonishing, it is impossible to exclude the downfalls that come with it. Although social media companies are mostly to blame, it is impossible to say that users are completely innocent. For example, when Facebook created like buttons, its initial purpose was to spread love. However, people twisted its meaning into a symbol of popularity. Social media is a drug and many of us are addicted to it.

Technology and Knowledge

When my mom and dad attended school, it was before the development of technology. Therefore, they did not have access to computers and smartphones. In school, they would use pencils and paper for a majority of tasks. For example, they would record homework on a separate piece of paper. Furthermore, they would search for pieces of information by looking through books.

Up to elementary school, my school life was somewhat similar to my parents’. There was a chalkboard in front of the classroom where the teacher would write on. Often times, we were asked to come up to the board to write down answers. We had notebooks to record our homework, and textbooks to carry around to do our works. However, when I came to ISB, everything changed. We were given our own computers that allowed easier access to information. But, there was also a downfall. I would often find myself too immersed with my computer, abandoning the things that I used to enjoy. Later on, I realized the feeling of exhaustion and vanity technology left.

Although the advancement of technology allowed us to have easier access to information all around the world, sometimes I cannot help but think about the disadvantages. The development of technology exposes too much misinformation that can possibly harm people and widen the gap between the groups.

Debate Reflection

In class, we held a debate based on the question, “Is ignorance bliss?” I believe two main clashes were being addressed during this debate. 1. Are you happier as you gain knowledge? 2. Can an ignorant person know what happiness is?

Regarding the first clash, my team’s main point was that the more we know, the more we suffer. Two points supported this claim. The first one was that the more we gain knowledge, the more we become involved with emotionally difficult events. The second one was how geniuses are stranded by society.  Hemingway once stated that “happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing”.  When people know too much, they often go against the convention of society, causing them to be isolated. For the second clash, we argued that happiness is instinctual. Babies are the epitome of ignorance, but yet they are the happiest.

The opposite team argued that knowledge keeps us safe as we are aware of the dangers up ahead. They also argued that gaining knowledge leads to the discovery of happiness. Although it is hard to determine who won the first clash, I believe that our team won the second clash as the opposite team could not refute our argument of happiness being instinctual.

Knowledge and responsibility are closely linked to each other.  Some knowledge ends up hurting someone else. For example, the knowledge of creating atomic bombs caused destruction in many places. Despite being in the affirmative team, I still believe that ignorance is not bliss. When people become ignorant, they become ruled. For example, In Animal Farm by George Orwell, the farm animals were ignorant and in the end, they were once again ruled.

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

There are eight different ways of knowing: emotion, memory, imagination, sense perception, intuition, reason, faith, and language. However, none of them are more likely than others to lead to truth. Then what is ‘truth’?

Aristotle once stated that truth is “To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true”. Aristotle defined truth as the ‘fact itself’. For example, calling a red object “red”, and calling a non-red object “not red” is the truth. Therefore, when we say something is true, it is aligning with the facts.

However, if the different ways of knowing are a step to get closer to the ‘fact’, the truth cannot be discovered as the different ways of knowing can be manipulated, ultimately distorting the ‘fact’. For example, in 1974, Loftus and Palmer conducted a car crash study. During this study, 45 students were shown videos of car crashes with the critical question, “About how fast were the cars going when they hit each other?” The verb ‘hit’ was replaced with ‘smashed’, ‘collided’, ‘bump’, and ‘contacted’ for different participants. Those who were asked with ‘smashed’ averaged the mean speed of 40.8 mph and those who were asked with ‘contacted’ averaged the mean speed of 31.8 mph. Then what was the true speed of the cars? It cannot be known as the manipulation of language distorted the ‘fact’ despite all the participants viewing the same videos. Another example is the manipulation of memory. Leading questions can easily influence people to recall false details, and questioners can create an entirely new memory by repeatedly asking insistent questions. Then how do we solely trust our memory to discover the truth when constructed memories feel like accurate memories, facts, to the person recalling them? Lastly, another example is faith. Faith can often blind people from the ‘facts’. During World War II, Nazis were faithful towards Hitler and considered Jewish people to be inferior. To the Nazi Party, the notion of Jewish people being inferior was their truth. Therefore, when the ways of knowing work solely, none of them are more likely than others to lead to truth.

In other words, when the different ways of knowing work together, they can lead to truth. For example, during station 5 for the ways of knowing station activity, we used our reasoning, memory, and imagination. We would use our memory of animals that we have seen and reason with the photographs of the skulls by asking questions such as do domestic cats have teeth that big? Through this method, most of our drawings matched the true animals. Therefore, when the ways of knowing align with each other, it can lead to the truth.

I believe that the ways of knowing cannot be ranked as more superior or inferior to each other as isolation of the ways of knowing can cause manipulation. However, when they work together, they are likely to lead to the truth.

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

During the second class of TOK, we were given the question:

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

This prompted a chain of thoughts in my head. Well, I know that the Earth is round. But, how did I get the belief that the Earth is round, and on what basis did I know that this is true? When I was in primary school, my teachers would have taught me that the Earth is round. From there I would have obtained my belief of Earth being round and based on the evidence, the Earth’s shadow shown on the moon during the lunar eclipse or the pictures taken by satellites, I would have known that my belief was right.

In order to ‘know’, we need to have ‘knowledge. Then, what is knowledge? I believe ‘knowledge’ is when we have reasonable evidence that backs up for what we believe is true. In other words, ‘knowledge’ can be defined as a justified true belief. ‘Justification’ is when we provide evidence in order to believe in something and ‘truth’ is when it aligns with the facts.

Therefore, like I know that the Earth is round, in order to know something for sure, we need to be able to answer the two primary questions: how did these beliefs that we call ‘knowledge’ come from? And how did we know that these beliefs were right?

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