Summative TOK Post #1

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

In my opinion? yes.

(Below a brief analysis of each way of knowing is provided.)

Emotion – As a way of knowing, emotion can both very easily lead to the truth or completely obscure the truth. In many situations, emotions and reason are often in direct opposition to each other. An emotional truth may not be the same as a truth found through reason
-for example, in the case a college student debating on whether to take a scholarship offer abroad or study in their hometown, through reason they may believe that by heading to a more prestigious school to improve their future circumstance in life will lead to happiness, their emotions may lead them to the truth that they would be happier with the familiarity and comfort of their home.-
With emotion conflicting with other truths so often, as well as always having a bias (due to a person’s likes and dislikes) it isn’t reliable on its own, and better off when mixed with reason.
Memory – A truth found through memory can oftentimes be extremely unreliable. The human brain very rarely remembers every detail correctly, and in some cases even creates “false memories” to make thoughts make logical sense in people’s minds. While memory could be a way of knowing used when it comes to a broader truth, such as whether England is rainy or sunny, it is not practical to use in most situations.
Sense Perception – Sense perception, relying on what one can see and feel to find the truth. In many cases for truths that go beyond simple statements (the grass is green, sandpaper is rough etc) it is unreliable. For example, flat earthers rely on sense perception to make the argument the earth is flat…it’s flat because they can’t see the curve. Relying only on ones senses is not good.
Imagination – imagination is an extremely unreliable way to find truth, as it is literally made up in our heads.
Reason – Reason is reliable in the sense that it finds a universally accepted truth, based on fact and logic that society has already built much of their lives on. Through reason many truths can be found, though this is not always the case.
Intuition – similar to sense perception, imagination, and emotion, intuition is difficult because it relies wholly on the extent the person trusts how they *feel*, which is a hard thing to put into words / make objective
Faith – relating very closely to truths found through emotion, faith may aide in the finding of a more objective truth, but on its own is too biased to be able to be called reliable.
Language – 
Some may argue that because each person experiences and perceives the world differently, truth is different for each person, (subjective) so no way of knowing can more likely lead to the truth. While this does hold some credence, my opinion still stands. Through the analysis i have done above, I think the most accurate way of knowing would be some combination of Emotion, Reason and Intuition.
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Pre-assessment Blog Post

Introduce yourself to the class briefly on your blog*. After you have done so, respond to the following question:

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

My name is Vincent DePaul Gilligan III. I’m 16 years old, a New Jersey born American Chinese, though I’ve lived in China for 15 out of the 16 years of my life. A few of the things I enjoy include:

Music – I listen to almost any and every genre

Sports – I play Basketball and Rugby as my main sports, though I enjoy many others as recreational activities (skateboarding, soccer, etc etc)

Gaming – In my free time, it’s a bit of an escape from my regular life, giving me time to destress and not think about any of the things that are bothering me at the moment. It’s very liberating to be able to forget about basically everything to do with yourself and just enjoy a made-up world with no consequences.


What do I know for sure and how do I know it:

I don’t think I know anything for sure, because I think that the truth is very subjective. How do we know the number one should be called one? Is the sky really blue if the color blue is simply a word we have made up? Technically I know quite a lot but I don’t think I know anything worthwhile or important. Everyday knowledge doesn’t really matter to me, knowing how to be happy and knowing how to navigate life is much more important to me, and I don’t think i know how to do any of that yet

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*video too big to upload*

To create the piece seen above, we went through a bit of a strange process. after all settling on a photo (out of 5ish given), we had to – without any communication at all – write down our own feelings, thoughts, and create a narrative based on what we felt looking at the photo. From there we began a process of elimination, choosing 10 lines total from the three narratives, and adding actions to go with these lines. That was the first step.

Then a long process of devising and planning followed, ending in a product where you can see us utilizing a lot of different theatrical elements that we’ve learned throughout the year, such as neutral mask work, elements of clowning learned with matt (especially with the tossing of the ball, hovering above our heads, existential dread knowing it could drop at any second), a series of lifts/physical movements, 9 movements, as well as incorporating other devised pieces such as the chair duets (+ dialogue).

Our piece (no name), was made with the intention of creating a piece that shows “the importance of finding others who can help one find their true self – what’s underneath the mask”. Our intended impact was to “inspire people to reconsider if they are wearing a mask, and how they can find themselves ( also reminding them they don’t have to be alone)”

I feel like we were pretty successful in conveying this, our audience felt that they received a message of through being lost and through struggle finding the strength to take off the mask, to be who they are, and ultimately believe in and care about themselves…self love and self care is very important.

One thing i learned that i considered new to me about theatre was just how in a group, very meaningless words, or simple sentences can have very strong connotations/ impact just by changing the people speaking, or the actions that are being done while saying them, without changing the tone of said line or the actual words themselves. One thing that confirmed what i already knew was that when performing more physical theatre, it’s best not to think about the actions being done, as in the beginning refining and practice stages, i overthought or focused too many of my thoughts on the action, instead of simply just doing it, which messed me up…though that changed once we got to the final performance. This piece i enjoyed making a lot, and i think this will change me by making me consider or want to do, a lot more theatre and performances that have a strong message behind them, as being able to spread these ideas and beliefs to more people through performance, i believe is a very powerful thing.


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Process Journal – Clowning w/ Matt

*I promise I’ll expand more on this soon, I currently have a fever and am trying to recover*

I feel like my biggest take away from these classes working on clowning is that acting is a lot more diverse than I initially believed it to be, in the sense that being able to deliver a certain style of performance does not necessarily mean other styles come as naturally. I struggled with clowning as I found it hard to stop thinking about my actions and preparing the next ones. Another thing that I had some trouble with was the breaking of the 4th wall, which normally is not done when acting. As a clown, however, the entire purpose is to entertain and gain the approval of the audience and to feed off of the audience’s attention and energy, so actually interacting or building that connection with the audience is very important.

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Philosophy translated into a technique for training performers

1979 – originally developed by mary overlie as a way to get students to be more physical

in combination with Anne bogart they come up with 6 different viewpoints to train theatre and dance students

worked on this for almost a decade

1987 – Anne bogart moves to NYU tish, met tina landau

they meet, tina and Anne expand on the original 6 viewpoints, realize they left out all vocal viewpoints.

after a few years of development, final 9 physical viewpoints

(spatial relationship, kinesthetic response, shape, gesture, repetition, architecture, tempo duration, topography.)

5 vocal viewpoints.

(pitch, dynamic, acceleration/deceleration, silence, timbre)

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Process Journal

1) Recount the activities in class

We focused a lot on expressing emotion, stories, etc through physicality…(naturally, since this was a physical theatre class). One I remember clearly was the crayon.

2) How did you feel about or engage with the activities in class?

I felt pretty engaged in the activities, it was interesting as there was music playing as well, which was affecting exactly how we moved and acted. Seeing how the music changes the tone and general feel of a piece was intriguing, being able to play and experiment with this was fun for me.

3) How did the activities/ learning spark this new understanding?

Well, it was mostly that I didn’t know how long each activity would last, and the longer they went on the more immersed I became and was eventually able to form my own understanding of this.

4) How did today’s lesson add to or confirm your current understanding of theatre and theatre practices?

I’ve always sort of relied on language and speaking to bear the brunt of acting, I feel that this is a beginning to further my physical theatre abilities and be able to combine that with dialogue for me to just become a better actor

5) How well did you and/ or your group do in fulfilling the learning outcomes of today’s lesson?

I feel we did pretty well.

6) Write about anything else that I didn’t ask a question about.


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Final Acting Scene – Critical Analysis

This journal entry is a critical analysis of my process of getting into character and my acting role within the play “The Intervention”.

Our team process for creating our final scene started off simple, with us just sitting around and reading the lines, experimenting with different tones and voices. A lot of brainstorming was involved to really delve into our character for each of us to know how we are perceived by others and how we see ourselves. We tried to really fit each of ourselves into the characters that matched as close to our own personalities as possible in order to make it more natural, rather than acting. We finally tried to make it seem more like a group of friends than a group of actors.

Steps I took were that I took to memorizing the lines of some other actors in case they forgot any lines, as well as spending extra time immersing myself into my character.

Our rehearsal process was generally diving into the script straight away, and stopping along the way to add suggestions, notes or questions.

the intention and impact we wanted to give the audience were for them to ask themselves, how would they react in the situation of the intervention for a friend. While watching the play we wanted our audience to feel the anticipation and varying emotional investments of the characters, and curiosity about the situation. I feel we could have done better building anticipation and creating emotional investment as once there was a mistake we got a little rushed and started to sort of do things halfway. overall however I feel we did well meeting our intention and impact.

I think our rehearsal process hindered our performance a little as we practiced with a group member that wasn’t here for the final performance, and that shook us a little bit and we were unsure/unfamiliar for certain areas where we had to cut lines out.

The big idea I got is that no matter how much you practice, there will always be something to mess things up.

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Character Analysis – Bret

My characters name is Bret, most likely an older teen or young adult (17-29 years old?). He seems to take everything seriously, in the sense that there is nothing that is inconsequential, that absolutely every little thing contributes or changes the bigger picture. Somewhat of an idealist in a sense.

It is most likely afternoon or early night…the majority of our time is spent inside so it is hard to get a grasp on time. We are in America, in the living room of our friend groups shared apartment.

The circumstances: we are holding an intervention for one of our friends (Lauren), who is not currently in the apartment with us. In the past she has done or said things that we find to be unacceptable, and things we believe are both hurting her, our relationship with her, and the other people around her. We are discussing what the best way to help our friend Lauren is, and will eventually confront her with it.

I seem to have a relationship/belief in the spiritual, the arcane, as evidenced in my using the voodoo doll. The various people around me are all my friends, though it appears I hold some animosity towards Will.

What I want is to help my friend Lauren, and what’s in my way is 1. My group of friends having different ideas of how to handle the intervention with her, and 2. Her not actually being here yet (she’s late). I verbally plead with my friends to see things my way to get what I want (using metaphors about war, burning tanks, etc) and also using voodoo dolls (physically? Not sure what that constitutes as

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Improv unit

What were some of the significant activities in improvisation and what did you learn from them?

The activity that actually left the greatest impression on me was the spaghetti and meatballs improvisation. This was extremely difficult for me as I was used to using dialogue, and it kind of opened my eyes to the improvement I needed in terms of use of emotion while acting. I had kind of been relying on words and scripts as a crutch and this activity sort of made me realize that the emotion and general feeling behind the words were just as if not more important. there is also a lot of work that goes into this, as both the tone of your voice and the facial expression has to be on point for the audience to get the message/mood that you are trying to convey.

What did you do that was NEW to you or CHALLENGED you in some way?

Something that challenged me was letting go of my inhibitions and not being embarrassed by the multiple roles that I have to play that may not fit me. It’s essential for an actor to be immersed in a role and I feel that it was rather hard for me to go 100% in on certain roles because of how I felt about behaving or acting in certain ways in front of other people. Being embarrassed also slows down the act and makes it harder for you to continue, so not only is it not convincing, it’s slow and painful to watch. There were definitely a few times where it has happened to me and it really challenged me to just forget about being embarrassed.


What did you do that SUPPORTED your current knowledge or CONFIRMED/REINFORCED something you already knew?

We worked a lot on projecting our voice and exaggerating our actions, putting a lot of energy into whatever activity we do. This kind of reinforced my idea that if you should always exaggerate the actions and message we try to convey because we try to make things larger than life.

CONNECT the improv unit to your current theatre/acting practice or something outside of theatre. 

I feel that improvisation will greatly help in many different areas in life, such as public speaking (this would help deal with the pressure of the situation, perhaps also prepare for unexpected questions and occurrences within the talk.) In general, I feel that in any situation in life improv would be needed.


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