Reflection on My Political Stand

1.What does it mean to be political?

According to the Oxford dictionary, “political” is defined as “relating to the ideas or strategies of a particular party or group in politics.” In my definition, “political” means that you always think and make a decision to a certain occasion based on your stands.

2.Do you consider yourself to be “political”? Why or why not?

 

I do not consider myself as a political because I always have different visions and stands to a certain occasion depending on the situation. One day, I think in the way similar as conservative people do. The other day, I think in the way similar as liberal people do.  As shown in the above, I am neither liberal nor conservative. Since I my political stand always change, I do not consider myself to be political.

3. Is everything political? Why or why not?

I do not think everything is political, but it can be in some areas. In the fields of mathematics and science, where there are obvious answer and facts, it cannot be political because it cannot contain any personal visions or opinions. However, in the fields of arts including music, dance, and literature, if you did express your conservative or liberal stands to your artworks, the artworks becomes political.

4. How important do you feel it is to be aware what is going on in politics?

I do think that it is very important to be aware of political occasions. However, I am a bit ignorant to politics because I am not interested in knowing any domestic and global issues. As shown in my results on bias test, I have biased visions because I am highly affected by data manipulation. As a citizen who is living in the society, I think I need to have a certain amount of knowledge that are not biased because it allows you to make appropriate decisions in your life.

5. What are the political issues that you believe are most important right now and why?

Since I am very far away from politics, I really do not know what is exactly happening on the politics and what is important right now. Within my knowledge, during the period of COVID 19, the Korean government is blamed by people by its ineffective and tardy response or measurement on it. Since we have a president election next year, the president and his party and the other party are cautious about people’s reactions on the current government.

Reflection on The First Semester

1. During the first semester, we considered knowledge questions related to “Knowledge and the Knower” and “Knowledge and Technology.” Looking back, what learning engagements stand out to you the most and why?

The first question that I got was related to “Knowledge and the Knower,” which was “What do you know for sure, and how do you know it.? Without any pre-knowledge, I didn’t even know what to write and how to write since I’ve never thought about this type of broad and socratic topic. However, as I have learned about the topics such as “Knowledge and Knower” and “Knowledge and Technology,” I have begin to have some clear opinions or thoughts on the topics. The most engaging learning that I experienced during the TOK class was “Ways of Knowing Station Activity.” The main purpose of the activity is to let students experience different ways of knowing and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each method. There were 8 stations and each station provides the activity containing one or more ways of knowing such as Language, Sense Perception, Emotion, Reason, Imagination, Faith, Intuition, and Memory. Since I genuinely experienced different types of ways of learning rather than reading the textbook or articles, I can much easily evaluate the pros and cons of each method and what method would be the most effective in the certain situation. For example, in the station 1, we did awareness test, which is related to the theme of sense perception. Through this activity, although sense perception can be the most fundamental and obvious evidence since you are actually experience a certain situation, it can be the most unreliable and subjective way of knowing since you can easily ignore the fact based on your belief regardless of your intention. After doing this activity, I could much easily and thoughtfully answer the question, “Are some ways of knowing more likely to lead to the truth.”

2. In what ways, if any, has your perspective shifted as a result of your participation in the course so far?

Through watching the docudrama called The Social Dilemma, directed by Jeff Orlowski, my perspective and thoughts on the impact of technology on knowledge and knowers have changed. I was originally thinking that the development of technology has contributed the faster and further spread of information, which makes our life much easier in terms of getting information and I did not seriously take into account the fact that the information that we get can be biased and falsified due to people’s self interest. I was a sort of blind person who only accept the truth that we see on the surface, not thinking about the true intention and something behind the truth. In the film, it explores the popularity of social media in nowadays, and its damage on human and our society, focusing on the manipulation of data aiming for financial interest or political reason. Also, the filmmakers strongly argue that every social media aims to nurture an addiction from the users and eventually it harms the mental and social health of them. Although the film takes the extreme part on the effect of technology on our knowledge as it only discuss the negative sides of the social media, through this film, I realized that every function or option in social media is meant to be grab my attention and ensure that I devote more and more time on it. Also, I truly concerned about the data manipulation with evil intentions and  the danger of blindly accepting the information that have a possibility of being wrong or manipulated. So, by participating the activity, my perspective on the impact of technology on knowledge and knowers has become more thoughtful and I have begin to think the positive and negative sides of the technological development.

3. Looking ahead to the exhibition requirement, what do you want to keep in mind?

For the exhibition, we need to write maximum 950 words for three objects that represent the core theme and question the best. I am currently thinking about focusing on “Knowledge and Language” and doing the question, “What makes a good explanation.” I have to keep in mind that although I am doing “Knowledge and Language,” ultimately, I have to relate the theme with “Knowledge and Knower,” which means my focus is on Knowledge rather than the general discussion about language. Also, my objects should be real-world specific examples. Thus, I need to contemplate about the objects that will effectively convey the core theme.

 

4. Thinking back on the writing you have done so far in the course, what can you do to continue to hone your skills?

As I have done some writings and gotten score on them, one of the important things is demonstrating thoughtful claims or opinions by using real-world examples. Since the themes that the TOK deal with are broad and vague to some extent, I have to clarify the terms or the range where my arguments are valid. For example, in the past writing for question “Are some ways of knowing more likely to lead to the truth,” I restrict the range of each way of knowing that applies the best in order to make my arguments more plausible and valid. I argued that in the fields of the religion, faith is more likely to lead to truth, while in the areas of science and mathematics, faith is less likely to lead to truth. So, to hone my skills for TOK writing, I will try to ensure my arguments are explicitly focused on the core theme by using specific real world examples.

Interview parents and grandparents

1. What tool did they use when they are going to school to learn and/or to produce knowledge?

According to my grandma, she used textbooks to learn something and notebooks and pencils to write down something. During the 1960s, the period when she went to school, technology was not developed well. So, there was no digital form of education, such as educational programs using the internet like DX. As time passed, during the 1980s, when my mom went to elementary school, the first computer came out, and she started to use it to learn something at school. However, she mainly used textbooks as my grandmother did.

2. What were their experiences in school like, and how do they compare with your own?

During the period when my grandmother went to school, the school rules are very strict such as punishment. Students had to wear school uniforms, and girls could not grow their hair underneath the shoulders. Also, due to the effect of Confucianism, not many girls could actually go to school. Not only society but also the family forces girls to stay at home and to learn the chore instead of education. Usually, in the class, there were over 60 students in the class. Since the school curriculum is not stable and not moderated well, the age or the level of their knowledge of students in the class was varied. Also, the school curriculum was far easier than now. These changes as time go by. And now, I think I am living in circumstances that are opposite to what my grandmother lived at school.

 

Are some Ways of Knowing more likely than others to lead to Truth?

There are eight different ways of knowing: Language, Sense perception, Emotion, Reason, Imagination, Faith, Intuition, and Memory. All the ways of knowing can lead to the truth depending on subjects or areas. 

According to Aristotle, one of the greatest intellectual figures of Western history, truth is defined as “to say of what is that it is, or of what is not that it is not, is true” (“Truth | Philosophy and Logic | Britannica”). In other words, the world suggests “what is” and “what is not”, which means the notion of truth varies subjectively as the use of ways of knowing does.

In the fields of religion, faith is more likely to lead to truth than other ways of knowing. For example, Christianity is the most famous religion in the world, which has about 2.3 billion followers. Christians faithfully believe God exists, and they will go to heaven after they die, although no died people have proved the existence of God and heaven to them. For religious people, the most obvious and clear truth is based on the Bible, which is believed to be the collection of what God said. They regard the Bible as the most important textbook for their life, which shows how Christians consider faith as the most certain way of knowing.

Free Christian Cartoon Comic Strips by Dikko.

However, in the areas of mathematics and science, faith is less likely to lead to truth. Mathematics and science are subjects that especially require logical proof and scientific evidence. Those fields cannot be validated by solely depending on faith. For example, former people believed geocentrism—the belief that the Earth is fixed at the center of the universe—affected by Christianity that taught God placed the Earth in the center of the universe (Geocentric Theory). However, as the scientific methodology develops, Heliocentrism—the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun at the center of the universe— is proved to be true and is widely accepted in modern society.

As the two different examples above suggest, there are NO solid or obvious ways of knowing that MUST lead to the truth when they are used exclusively. However, depending on the situations or fields, certain ways of knowing—for instance, faith in religion— are more likely to lead to truth.

Then, what happens if we use the ways of knowing COLLECTIVELY, not exclusively, in order to approach the truth?

In the ways of knowing station activity, we examine the strengths and weaknesses of each individual way of knowing. For example, by just looking at “pencil in water,” we learned that sense perception could be the most fundamental and obvious way of learning that can lead to truth. However, simultaneously, through “Audio illusion” and “Awareness test,” we realized that sense perception is too subjective and has the possibility to ignore the truth. By contrast, through the logic test, we recognized that reasoning is objective or less biased because it logically eliminates the factors that can lead to false, while it does not provide any empirical evidence. So, the combination of sense perception and reasoning are more likely to lead to the truth because they complement each other’s disadvantages while they maintain or heighten their own advantages. Likewise, the combinations of ways of knowing would be most likely to lead to truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citation:

“Free Christian Cartoon Comic Strips by Dikko.” Freechristianillustrations.Com, 2020, freechristianillustrations.com/cartoons.html. Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.

“Truth | Philosophy and Logic | Britannica.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 2020, www.britannica.com/topic/truth-philosophy-and-logic. Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.

Geocentric Theory, https://www.murrieta.k12.ca.us/cms/lib5/CA01000508/Centricity/Domain/1814/Scientific%20Revolution.pdf

#1 Reflection on the novel, “We Are Displaced”

1.What questions do you want to ask of the text?

In the novel, lots of people in Pakistan including Yousafzai’s family were displaced from their hometown because of Taliban. Taliban is the Islamic extremist group, arguing that “all women must cover their faces entirely and that music and dancing and Western movies were sinful. That men should grow their beard long. That girls should not go to school.” They claims that their restrictions or arguments are based on Islam. However, not all islamic people behave as Taliban does and they even argue that these rules are not based on Islam. So, I want to ask what is the reasonable logic that is based on Islam in Taliban’s arguments or restrictions.

2.How does the text connect to you on a personal level? How does it relate to your life?

The story of Mala Yousafzai in the novel is related to me from the perspective of women rights and education.The protagonist is 11 year-old girl      who desires to go to school despite the obstruction of Taliban. Although I can go to school without any interruption or restriction and her situation is worse than me, we both have some experience that women rights are undermined in some ways in our society. For example, in Korean society, men are promoted better than women at the company because people believe women would not work for long period at the company because of their pregnant and child raising. In the novel, women are discriminated because of religion. However, fundamentally, women in both novel and real life are were subjected to be discriminated.

3. What prediction can you make about the rest of the novel?

Until the chapters that I have read, the novel shows how Yousafzai and her family were displaced from their hometown by Taliban. Also, she was shot by a Taliban member while she continues local activism for girls’ education and peace against Taliban. The novel shows how strong and brave Yousafzai is although she is only teenage girl in Islamic society. So, I expect that she will overcome her difficulties and continue to protest against Taliban on behalf of women in Pakistan.

4. What has the novel made you realize, either about the text or yourself?

I thought that in modern society, going to school or being educated is fundamental and easily achieved. However, in the novel, many girls including the protagonist, Mala Yousafzai are impeded to go to school and they are eager to go to school. I was ashamed because I was very excited when we could not go to school during the outbreak of COVID19. So, I thought I should be thankful for living in the society or circumstance that I can freely go to school without any restriction.

Reflection on the Debate

Ignorance is bliss

Ignorance does not mean “absolute ignorance”; It is not possible in real life. Ignorance in this case means given a certain situation, you do not know the crucial points. When we are ignorant, we are already in a relatively self-satisfied state, which means ignorance can sustain a “certain degree” of bliss. For example, assume you have a partner and he/she is cheating on you. Without knowing that, you are fairly satisfied with your marriage, not breaking the relatively stable status. However, if you somehow know that your partner is cheating on you, there is high possibilities that you might completely fall apart and your level of happiness falls drastically. Thus, the only way for the statement that ignorance is sustainable bliss to be broken is when we gain more knowledge. As long as we do not gain knowledge and stay ignorant to a certain situation, we will be in the state of ignorance.

Ignorance is not bliss

People are not in the self-satisfied state when they are ignorant. It might seen that it is beneficial to be ignorant in the example of cheating that the opposite team provided. However, being ignorant does not change the reality. Whether you intentionally or accidentally do not know that your parter is cheating on you, the reality that the relationship with your partner is ruined does not change. Ignorance might be seen as bliss in short term, but it just hurts us in the long term. We cannot develop with ignorance. Also, ignorance tends to harm other people. For example, in the recent example of Brexit, people were ignorant about what they are voting for and the impacts of their decisions and they eventually regret their past ignorance.

Which side won? Why?

In the debate, the team that argues ignorance is bliss won. Although the example of cheating given by the team can be debatable and has some flaws, their argument was clear and cohesive. It is undeniable truth that people would be stable in short term if they are ignorant. Also, during the crossfire, the team pointed out the flaws and irony of the arguments given by opposition thoroughly and well.

My Opinion

I do believe that ignorance is not bliss. People have tendency to avoid facing the difficulties for their comfort and convenient. However, ignorance does not improve the situations in reality at all and it even worsens the states or problems. For example, millions of children are died from hunger in Africa every year. Even if you are ignorant to this situation, the fact does not change. Children are still dying for hunger. Being ignorant is not the solution. The better way to solve the problem is that we are informed about the severity of the situation and try to eliminate the cause of the problem or improve the situation by donating. I do believe that there is no harm to be informed. For instance, for the preparation of the test, it is much better to study all the materials that would possibly present in the test. Although it could take lots of time and efforts, the result would end of getting 100 in the test. Same happens in the reality. Being informed can require sacrifice physically or mentally, which means in short term, it can be painful. However, in the long term, it will benefit people in every aspect regardless of the result. I do not mean that people have responsibility to know all occasions that are happening on the Earth. What I mean is that people should not try to be ignorant in their life.

What do you know for sure? How do you know it?

Hi, I’m Alice. My favorite hobby is figure skating. I’ve learned it since when I was in grade 4.

What I know for sure is that efforts are essential to succeed. No successful people achieved their goals without effort. No matter they are wealthy or smart enough to succeed, they put countless efforts to achieve their goals. For example, Yuna Kim, the gold medalist in figure skating, devoted 8 hours to figure skating every day to get a gold medal in the Olympics since she was six. Although she was talented in skating, she.8 tried harder to improve her skills, and she finally becomes a gold medalist.

Being successful does not necessarily mean achieving goals and receiving reputations. It can be the state of being satisfying or pleasing regardless of the outcome. With regard to this, efforts are needed for success. For instance, when I practiced Combination Spin for Figure Skating Contest 2014, I endeavored to spin more than five turns to earn points from referees. To do so, besides the actual training on the ice, I practiced the position for the spin at everywhere-home, school, or playground. Although at the contest, I only spun four turns and became disqualified to earn points, I felt pleased and satisfied because I was proud of myself, who devoted efforts to achieve the goal. Without putting efforts in succeeding combination spin, I would not feel these emotions, which is considered a success.

Some might say that they become a success without putting any effort. However, it is actually not true. For example, assume Jina succeeds in doing camel spin at first. It does not mean she became successful without efforts. It does mean she had been put numerous effort into building the fundamental skills for skating in the past so that she can learn new skills fast.