Ways of Knowing Project Post-Lesson Reflective Writing

How do you know from emotion? Our group presented a project that was supposed to try and answer this question as well as pose thought provoking questions, but I fear we went in over our heads.

Everyone in the group played a part in our final presentations and with each person came all of their ideas. We had 20+ slides and covered a wide range of content because we could and we thought we would need it. When you tell a student that the’re going to have to teach the class fro the entire period it becomes very daunting, and as an effects of that we overcompensated. The first activity that we did was an extremely effective ice-breaker. After we paired the class up with someone they normally wouldn’t talk to, we told the to draw from a jar of complements and insults, and then describe to their partners how they felt about it. Its impossible not to feel a little bit silly when you’re talking about “the way that made you feel”, the exercise forced them to recognize the ways emotion, while sometimes subtle, is present everywhere. With that concept in find they were ready to listen to the rest of the presentation.

The audience was laughing and posing 3 interesting questions for every bullet point that we had. In retrospect that could be taken as us having too many bullet points, but at the time I thought we were doing really well. A friend brought up the fact that our presentation followed almost the exact same structure as hers did and wondered if we copied it. I immediately said no because it hadn’t crossed anyone in the groups mind that we were doing the same things the group before us had done. I started to think about it. We both had entertaining icebreakers where we paired everyone up, showed some slides from the power point and went to a video, and we both had a main text from Radio Lab. I would be upset too if someone had done almost the exact presentation as me. If had the opportunity to go back and change something I would format the structure differently and cut out the slides we did on basic emotions and some of the slides that built up to our main point of reason and emotion going hand and hand.

False alarm, it’s only Saturday.

Have you ever been woken up by your alarm to get ready to go to school and you just don’t feel like moving? Maybe you stayed up too late doing homework or more likely on your phone and are too groggy to peel the sheets off. Its happened to me more often than I’m willing to admit, but in that moment I begin to negotiate with myself so that the need to get out of bed becomes more pressing than my laziness. We rationalize our actions so we have a reason to do them. I thought of my friends I wanted to see that day and the plans we made for lunch. I think about how behind I’ll be on the next test if i’m not present in class to pay attention. You may have someone you love, a pet, a parent, a need to make breakfast, or brush your teeth. The list extends forever and it is only through these goals and responsibilities that we find we have any reason to get up in the morning. I believe we create our own purpose.

In my Ib English class we read a book called the Stranger by Albert Camus which talked about existentialism.

  1. a philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will.

When I delved a little bit deeper into the author I found his theory in Philosophy, A quest for truth Vol.6. He believed that the only important Philosophical question is, why not commit suicide? Camus often references the greek myth of Sisyphus, wherein man is condemned by the gods to roll a huge stone up a mountain, watch it roll down, and retrieve it, only to repeat the process again, endlessly.

The story of Sisyphus is rather bleak but Camus chose to embrace it. He says, ” A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world.- ¬†All healthy men have thought of their own suicide, it can be see, without further explanation, there is a direct connection between this feeling [of absurdity ] and a longing for death. – Belief in the absurdity of existence must then dictate his conduct. ”

When I wake up in the morning I may need some convincing to get ready and do the things I need to do. These things I am aware of are just means to an end that leads nowhere, but I have hope in the absurd. I believe that we create our own meaning in life whether thats a holy book, family, friends, education, or most importantly food so that we don’t feel pointless or empty. It’s so easy to stare into the face of darkness and feel it crush you. To scream out the question of purpose only to have no answer, so I just stopped asking the question. When I hear the story of the man who rolled that stone up the mountain I find myself already looking for a purpose, a will, even if its just to watch the sunrise. It’s the fight to feel something in this world that makes it all that important. We choose to care and give ourselves because it makes us feel more alive, so I embrace the groggy feeling I have at 6:30 in the morning and reject the idea of going back to bed because today I have things to do, today I have a life to live. I reach over to my phone willing and able to except the challenges that the day has readied me to face, I turn off the tone and check my calendar to see what is on the agenda but false alarm, it’s only Saturday.