My views on ‘Internationalism’

I am a Korean living in China. I face numerous unique situations because I am living in China and am going to International school. I interact with friends who have different nationalities. Therefore the article ‘Drawing the wrong Lesson’ by McMillan presented me a totally innovative point of view.

This article is expanding it’s logic based on the point of view that the nation should concentrate on the preservation of historic facts. It says: the Federal Government shall recognize and manage the historic properties in its ownership assets that can support department and agency missions while contributing to the economic well being.

I support this point of view, as Korea is also suffering from the preservation of history. Korea has a very small area, but many people don’t know why Korea has small area. Korea suffered from many wars that completely destroyed the resources, economies and lives of the people. Starting from the invasion of Japan to Korean War, Korea was just a feeble country. Now, Japan is trying to extort ‘Dok Do’, the island that belongs to Korea, by claiming that the island originally belonged to Japan. However, this is not true. Japan had control over the history during last century, therefore the history was distorted. In order to prevent the situation like this happening again, Koreans will have to preserve our history.

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For ‘internationalism’ of IB core value, it means open minded to accept most things to learn and develop quickly. Also, it has meaning of an idea that aim to overcome boundaries of individual nation and difference to become solidarity, cooperation and unification of the world. I want to interpret internationalism, as second meaning for IB students’ future when they lunch into the world and society.

To express it in a simple word, that would be ‘peace’. In that process, internationalism requires much understanding and consideration for students who will be in a superior position. In theory, it might be simple and easy to standardise and unification the world, however where we (IB students) will lunch into is the actual. As the actual is often contradictory to the ideal, I think internationalism might bring some harm to people.
There are two layers of people in the world, first group is people who are in superior position and the other will be low position people, which can be the bourgeoisie and the proletariat in 19th century.
For superior position, they have to bear some side effects or disadvantages to make unification of the world. It might sounds as self-centered; however, I want to state that I am talking about internationalism in the actual world.
Also, if the world starts to unification, the standards will be decided by superior position group. Therefore, even they say it is a process of ‘unification and solidarity’ it will include advantages and standard will be toward to superior group in their favor, which leads to bearing of lower position people. In fact, in 19th century internationalism was standardised at the instigation of UK or US where were the empires.

I don’t want to think as internationalism is sharing ideas between different countries or moving Asia to Western. I think it isn’t too simple to use core value of students but it is the most important idea that student have to consider, as it is more complicate and difficult to implement in the actual world.

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Drawing the Wrong Lesson

Governments often alter the past in order to simplify history for the present generations. They accredit their own country more than the others and the facts recounted may differ from the actual happenings. In the essay “Drawing the wrong lesson” written by Max Hastings it is discussed how this might affect a country. The essay also states that history textbooks are written according to a patriotic view of the world and this tends to mislead not only the citizens, but also the politicians.

The fact that the government is able to censor or mask some key events in history is really disturbing. This means that international agreement on various issues is often unachievable due to the different historical views and may lead to serious conflicts among two or more countries.

This can also happen in international schools around the world. The IB learner profile explicitly states that all the students should be “open minded” and have an “international mind set”, but how can this happen if we were all raised with different perspectives on our past?  Problems may arise among students with different backgrounds and learning that all you’ve been taught is false and inutile is a real trauma. The truth hurts, but according to my perspective, it is essential to acknowledge the errors your own country has previously made, so that they cannot be repeated in the future. In international schools, the students should share what they’ve been taught, trying to link their own knowledge to the other students’.

International students should not cease to make an effort to learn history solely because of their backgrounds, instead, they should regard themselves as fortunate to have such an opportunity to escape the nationalism of their own country.

Another key question that arises is: How can history be taught in international schools? Theoretically, an international education would mean teaching history as it really is, without neglecting any events. Sadly, it cannot be that way as the government of the country the school is situated in still controls what is being taught, limiting the number of topics that can be discussed. Despite this, the curriculum tries to be international and include multiple topics from around the world, so that all the students can be pleased and at the same time have an international understanding.

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Drawing the wrong lesson

“International-mindness” means how much a person knows of the events that occur around the world. The term not only refers to our own understanding of our own culture or history but also other cultures and the history that goes along. Sometimes knowing an abundance of current events or taking a world history class would result in the idea of being “international-mindness.” However, when we consider how “international-mindness” we are, we never stop to realize where our information was obtained.

“History is written by the victors,” this quotation unanimous to what Max Hastings is so articulately announcing in his essay, “Drawing the wrong lesson.” The information we receive on our history or others are all written by the victors. In fact, we never considered how narrow our stream of knowledge is. At first, the media had convinced the citizens of America that American troops were winning. The conquerors told a story where they eradicated the communism from Vietnam, and met little resistance. However, soon after when the media got a hold of the truth that America was not winning but losing; the weak told something entirely different. All knowledge are derived from either a person or multiple people’s account of what they witness or what they effectuated. Meaning all knowledge which we interpret is subjected to biassed. All of our knowledge has faults and are not true.

If knowledge is biassed and if we are so easily enticed to believe in others, then are we the exact opposite of being “International-mindness.” Students claim that a knowledge of current, worldwide events result in being International-mindness; however, it only reinforce how insensitive we are to the truth. We don’t criticize the words we read off a page because we believe that once its published it must be the truth. However, we should question what we read because the people who write have a goal and it is to earn money. Yes, this is quite a cynical view. However,  as history has proven, it is the ones who do not have a voice have the most to say.

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Drawing the Wrong Lesson_HJ

I believe being an “international” student means acquiring an ablity to understand/accept the true cultures of others as well as your own culture. As one of international student, I could witness lots of cultural clash between people from all over the world. Clashes seen daily life is very minute because we barely talk about history of countries often. I could guarentee that if Chinese, Korean and Japanese gathered to talk about time period during World War II, it won’t be a happy ending.

What impedes us from acknowledging the truth behind our history? The main reason is our emotions. No one wants to lose. Nationalism, feeling proud of our nation, is assmimilated in our minds throughout the education.  There are some countries which show strong nationalism, such as China. China in chinese is “Zhong Guo”, meaning the country in middle of the world. That is reason why in the past, Chinese people thought their neighbouring countries as barbarian countries. Countries located in south was “Southern barbarian country” and so on. This strong nationalism makes chinese people to “abhor” Japanese people because of their action during Janpanes occupation of China. Strong nationalism also leads to forging and fixing textbooks to highlight the nation’s golden age, and veil terrible mistakes from its past. In addition, ruins of the historical time forces people to not to forget about the past. Places such as Auschwitz concetration camp and Nanjing Massacre museum, and people such as “comfort women” in South Korea reminds people of the dark and painful past. Reminder through our sense perception addition, ruins of the historical time forces people to not to forget about the past. Places such as Auschwitz concetration camp and Nanjing Massacre museum, and people such as “comfort women” in South Korea reminds people of the dark and painful past. Reminder through our sense perceptions motivates people’s innate nationalism, thus being  an impediment of making an international community.

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Two Stories_HJ

Question: What is the relationship between these stories and the people who tell them? how are such stories created, and sustained?

I believe stories, very informative and subjective one,  and the people who tell them must be some what related. For example, when you go to an art exhibition and listen to the guide who talks about certain art masterpieces, since the guide do not have any special relation with the art piece, the story (explanation) that the guide give will be like reading something off from a textbook. However, if the guide was the actual artist who drew the artwork, he is most likely to give more detailed, personalized explanation by talking about relation between himself  and the art work.

I truely think people act like as a filtering device when they are telling stories. Same story can be interpreted in various versions by the person’s cultural background, breadth of knowledge and  so on. “Chun Hyang Jun”, a Korean traditional story that is orally transmitted, is a perfect example of it. As stories are told to different people by different people, there are over 80 different versions of the same story. The reason for this change is because of people’s wants during the time. The story mostly famous among people of low- class, therefore, context of the story changed to the main character of low-class rise up against the people of high-class and marry her true love.  As a result, nobody knows what the original version of “Chun Hyang Jun”. With the context and message of a story, we are able to infer people’s lives during that time period. Therefore, we can safely conclude that the link between stories and people are unbreakable, and by what historical background and your social status, stories can be created or sustained.

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Two Stories

Working to earn money for oneself is almost heart of the capitalism. Nowadays, majority of countries around the world are capitalism country. Tax and welfare policy is one of the most inseparable issues in capitalism. It is fair and unfair to everyone, all the time.

According to the Story #1 there are some people who are so lazy and do not work at all. Welfare programs encourage such bad behaviour and people, who are lazy, deserve to starve. However, what if those people were unable to work hard because of their poor background? Then, this statement is such a selfish one from privileged people who had grown up in better environment. Not only lazy people who do not work at all, but also people grown up in broken families and terrible schools are more likely to starve in poverty even they are willing to work hard. Furthermore, what if yourself face unexpected personal bankruptcy? And you definitely need help from welfare policy? We should always keep in mind that we can be the one who needs support from others at anytime. Then, is it ethically acceptable? – paying taxes and encouraging welfare programs, because I can be the one who acutely needs help. No, if it is the reason that you are paying taxes and agreeing with welfare policy, you do not deserve any welfare.

On the other hand, there is not right for unprivileged people to live unworthy, falsehearted life. Then, they deserve to starve as the Story #1 says. It is complicated to judge objectively which one is right and wrong. Earning money for oneself and one’s family is right thing in capitalism. I work for myself and I work for my family to be privileged. It is not greed but a natural thing. Both sides should keep its own right, and this is why this issue is puzzling.

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which story is truer?

In my view, both stories are realistic and truthful. They look at the same social issues from different perspectives; the two authors obviously have very different cultural upbringing and backgrounds. Although two stories are truthful, I believe that story 2 looks at the problem more thoroughly than story 1, because it talks about privileges, how lives are unfair, and how more privileged groups have advantages such as good education, health, family support with the same amount of effort, leading to more success, while poor people will still need to worry about their future. Story 1 is a lot more straight forward; hardworking people succeed and lazy people fails, which is true, but it is not considering other factors that might affect the result. Therefore, my conclusion for this is story 2 is a more accurate portrayal.

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Which story is more truthful

After reading theses 2 stories, i felt the toughness of real world.

The two story are mentioning completely opposite opinions.

The story one says while hard working making money, the lazy people are relying welfare. The authors says welfare can encourage lazy people more lazier. And the story two says people who were born in difficult conditions, they would harder to find a job in future which means some of them might choose welfare.

In conclusion i think they both saying true fact.



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“Knowledge & Arts”

On the class blog write a response to ‘Knowledge & the Arts’ that refers to at least one specific piece of art from your personal knowledge and experience—any form of art will do. Using that work of art (or works of art) as an example, do the assertions made in the essay hold up, or not? Has the essay changed your views about art? Why or why not?


After I read the article ‘Knowledge & Arts,’ I assumed that it was suggesting that ‘Art’ is all about decoration, entertainment and beauty. But now that I think carefully of art, from my point of view, art is defined as something that cannot be created by humans. Since I was born, I’ve experienced and learnt what people call ‘art’. For instance, when I was young I was taught how to play the piano or draw but none of this really excited or interested me. I’ve seen the famous Mona Lisa painting and yet I felt nothing. However, I once went hiking on a mountain and saw the beautiful landscape and said to myself ‘What a beautiful piece of art.’ So I guess what I’m trying to say is that nothing matters what the article said. Compared to the ‘real’ art, the art in the article is nothing. So yes, the essay has changed my views about art.

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Reflection for storytelling

The essay, Storytelling, is basically explaining about the importance of storytelling in ways of knowing. Before I learn this essay, the impression of storytelling was just telling some fairytales, which is most of children like. However, I noticed that storytelling is not only telling stories for fun, it is how we learn thing, and it is not only for children, it is for everyone.

In this essay, I especially liked the phrase “We think in metaphors”. When I read the paragraphs about this, I reminded that I usually say: “It is like ……”, when I don’t know how to explain something in words. Thus, I totally agree with the idea that metaphors are the ways of explanation.

From this article, I learnt that we cannot think or learn anything without metaphors, storytelling.

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Two Stories Blog Post

I believe that both stories have some truth to them, but the definition of truth is vague. In story one it asserts that hardworking people should make more money than lazy people. And like this, poor people should work harder to earn more money and live better. However if a homeless child works for 50 hours a week selling newspapers and random jobs, is he lazy because he is poor or has he just had a bad start, like what story 2 talks about. In story 2 the author talks about people being born with less privileges than others and how they are at a big disadvantage in comparison to someone who has a caring family and lots of money. Both these claims are true, but to what extent are they realistic?

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Which story is more truthful?

In my view, I think both of the story are truthful, why do I say this? In story one, it says everyone are the same and equal to each other. But the only different is some people work harder than others, which benefit them in many ways, academic, career, and life. And it concluded with hard worker could always win the prize. I agree with this story, because everyone have equal amount of time, 24 hours a day, which means if someone waste his time on any entertaining activity and not working on proper work, he is behind someone who’s working at the same time.


In story two, it says people are not equal. Even though people have equal time, but there are other factors to affect their life, for example economic effect, people who are rich will always be rich and become easier to success. However, if the rich people who are born with more advantages than other, are not working hard and don’t concentrate on what they purpose to do, they will fail their life too.


Lastly, both of the stories are truthful and I agree with them. In different story, it gives out different aspect, and these aspects are truthful. I think these story are helpful to encourage people to work harder in life, even though they have lots of sources they might fail their life.

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Which story is more truthful?

After having a conversation about which story is more truthful, my group and I think that story 2 is more truthful.

In my personal opinion, story 1 is a very extreme example. The person who wrote the story has a very biased perspective. I mean of course, there are lazy people who have the opportunity but don’t bother to work or study hard in school. However, if we think about people who is in no environment to study, we can’t blame them for lacking the knowledge and skill they need. This is what I believe. Some people are born with more privileges than others and they live their lives lavishly. But most people, they just hope to get the basic amenities and live day by day. Those people are in no situation to afford to study. For this reason, yes, it is a waste of tax to help the lazy people who have such great opportunity to study and become someone intelligent who can take care of themselves. Instead they rather live like ‘bums’ and sponge off their parents. They don’t reserve anything. But people who weren’t born without privileges deserves help from us. Like story 2 said, if a wealthy person says “I’m not spending my hard – earned money to support those lazy bums!” And if the person is refering ‘lazy bums’ to the people born to a poor family, he or she is just ridiculous and cold hearted and is even worse than the people who are indifferent to them.

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Storytelling as WOK

I agree with the text that we learn best with narration and storytelling. I believe this because our since we were born, we, humans have been taught by teachers or parents. For instance, we go to school every day to gain knowledge from teachers and what we do is we listen to them. Now that we are so used to listening to gain knowledge, human learn best with narration and storytelling.

Storytelling is the most efficient way for humans to learn. From my past experience, I know this is true because, I’m a korean and like other koreans, I have experienced what Korean academies are like. To be honest, korean academies are the most inefficient of learning. This is because they simply teach the theory of the subject and ask students to do millions of questions again and again. This method takes a lot of time and students get easily stressed which could lead to a serious health issue. On the other hand, when I go to school, teachers try to help us understand the theory by storytelling and I enjoy it because not only is it fun but also easy to understand.

The only problem with storytelling is that sometimes, we give a bad example and it only confuses us. Therefore I have come up with a conclusion. It is true, storytelling is the most efficient way. However, you can’t entirely rely on storytelling and believe in everything you are told through storytelling, because they can be sometimes wrong too.

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Which story is more truthful?

Story one is clearly written of someone with a republican view, with opinions such as that welfare only encourages lazy behavior, and that rich should remain rich without extra taxes. I believe that this has some truth to it. For sure there are lazy people who doesn’t bother to work hard enough, and therefore ends up relying on those who do. However, the same applies to the second story. Of course people starts with different conditions which will have a huge impact on their future.

The problem with determining which one is more truthful lies in the fact that both stories are fairly opinion based. They are both typical examples of where the story comes before the fact. Both writers are trying to explain what we see in front of us, but with very different social and political views. The first story uses the fact that there are people who relies on welfare because of their laziness. This fact supports the republican view. Story two, possibly written by someone with a difficult background, uses the fact that some people simply don’t have the resources to reach success, which explains why welfare is needed. In the end, non of them are true, nor false. The facts that are chosen support the opinion of the writer, and there is no answer to which one is more truthful.

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Comparing the two stories

The main relationship between the two stories is that the two authors both make hasty generalisations about each other. The writers obviously differ in cultural backgrounds; I assumed that the first one is light-skinned, and rather stuck-up while the writer of the second story is most likely to be dark-skinned and without a lot of money.

I think that the second story is truer than the first because it highlights how some people just assume that dark-skinned people do not have much money, while the first story just criticises lazy people. In many countries, in this case the US, education has a cost and not everyone is able to afford it. The second story could be possibly suggesting that not everyone is rich and that many people would like to study but cannot afford to go to the best schools and, as a consequence they are looked down at, called lazy and not hired in many jobs.

These two stories also incite the use of stereotypes. In the first one, the author accuses all the lazy people, condemning them to eternal suffering. This is a stereotype because not everyone is like that, I know many people that are extremely lazy but still smart enough to pass a test with a way better score than a person who studied for three day. The author of the first story is also a stereotype because not all rich people are as arrogant and egoist. The two authors are technically writing about each other without understanding the differences in their backgrounds.

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Storytelling as a WOK

I think storytelling is essential as a WOK. It plays an important role to how we receive information. On the article “Narrative Science” Daniel Willingham compares the result of students who read a text in a typical expository fashion and students who read it in terms of a personal story of the scientist. The result shown demonstrates that the narrative text improves students’ comprehension and memory than the non-narrative text. This is because information that is displayed as a story is more interesting as we can relate to the experience and the story itself. It also exercises our imagination as we read the story. When it comes to recalling information, our memory is able replay the story easier because stories have chronological order from beginning to the end. There are also major events, actions and people in stories that aid our memory and understanding. Whereas if we were given random numbers and information that doesn’t mean anything to us, the chances that we would remember it are very little because there are no order of how we could remember it. For example, it is crucial to remember important dates and events in history. History is taught by telling a story chronologically from the beginning to the end such as the major events that happened in World War 1 along with the dates. Without the story, the dates and the events that occurred would be meaningless. Therefore, storytelling aid our knowledge and how we receive information.

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I agree that we, human beings learn best with narration and storytelling. Since we were children, we started learning through stories. As we go through school, we continue learning by reading and listening.

Storytelling is one of the most effective and efficient way of knowing. As “Narrative Science” by Daniel Willingham proved, students’ comprehension and their ability to remember is improved when new concepts are told through stories. Another reason behind this is that through narration it is more easy to grasp information. Non-narrative version just states the facts and has an almost boring tone. On contrast, narrative version lets children use their imagination. As humans remember the best by imaging an object, thus narrative version is much better then when new concepts are just read from textbooks.

But storytelling impedes us gaining is knowledge to. It allows us to acquire new information, but some of the information may have its real meaning lost as the stories are passed down through the generations. “God save the British Economy” by Adam Davidson is a perfect example of this. According to the essay, Economists can sometimes have different perspective about the same problems because the facts that economists have can be different and this can hammer their perspective. Even with similar results like GDP, Unemployment and economic growth they can all have different ways to solve the problem, for example how the UK and US choose to get out of the economic crisis. This is why stories cannot always be trusted because they can help you understand things but you can also have wrong information and this can affect either you and those who follow your decision.

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Is Storytelling the best method to educate students?

There were many attempts and failure to find out the better method to educate students. However, education is impossible to suit every single student because every student has different characteristics and disposition that is adoptable to a specific learning method. There are mainly two distinct methods that are each adapted to Western countries in Europe or States and Western countries in Asia.

In Asia, students prefer to assimilate information. They stay up late until 2 am to memorize the contents in the test and they are asked to solve multiple-choice questions. Whereas, the education of Western culture requires thinking from multiple subjects and have to explain something in own words. Therefore, it may seem much harder to solve western style questions. In my point of view, the exams in Korea are very inefficient because it only requires information and knowledge but not the applying skills. The most depressing point is that Korea cannot change the style of exam questions because Korea doesn’t have the trust-based system. Students and parents will not give credit to teachers if it is not multiple-choice exams. They have skepticism that they are not judged on the same touchstone as others.

From this problem, I think the education really needs storytelling. Nowadays, education is just about teachers feeding the knowledge and students just sucking it up. However, this education is useless in the future. The purpose of learning is to have appropriate sense of value and ability to judge and do the right thing, which will lead to a better life. Also government educates people to make them good citizens. Just memorizing knowledge will not help people unless they can apply it. Therefore, people should be educated through story. Our society is very stable, so it is impossible for us to experience war, poverty. If we listen to stories or books, we can experience something that we cannot access. Also by understanding the thoughts and emotion of characters in the books, we can train our ability to empathize. In our life, the ability to empathize with other people are really important because when we run a business or just simply a research project, good relationship between people are vital because it affects the efficiency and quality.

It’s tempting to believe that knowing as much as we can help us in our life. However, it is not true. Of course, having enough knowledge is important because if you don’t have any, we will not have any materials to apply. Therefore, information is a prerequisite to the good education. However, storytelling should be provided to use those information or knowledge.

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Storytelling as a WOK

I strongly agree that we, human beings learn best with narration and storytelling. Since when we are children, we start our education by not only reading but also listening to our parents. As this accumulates, we are best adapted in learning by reading and listening (storytelling). However, there is a shadow when there is a light, storytelling both benefits and impedes our gaining of knowledge.

Storytelling is one of the most effective and efficient way of knowing. As “Narrative Science” by Daniel Willingham proved, students’ comprehension and memory for information does prolong longer when it is in a narrative version. I am guessing with confidence that this is due to our exposure to narration from a young age. Other reason behind this phenomenon may be the fact that narrative version is more easy to grasp information. Non-narrative version just states the facts and has an almost rigid-listing tone. On contrast, narrative version offers more detailed picture in our imagination. As humans remember the best by imaging an object, thus narrative version lasts in our memory for a longer period of time.

The way that storytelling impedes our gaining is knowledge is very ironic. It still allows us to acquire new information, but some of the information may be distorted by mixture of storytelling and story making. Storytelling regardless of verbal or written, it could have a great impact on individuals-“I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr. As a result, people may be persuaded by false knowledge through storytelling. “God save the British Economy” by Adam Davidson is a perfect example of this. According to the essay, Economists have different perspective with a same problem. What is interesting is that even though they have a similar, not if the same economic data such as GDP growth and unemployment, they come up with opposite stories. After reading the essay, I was mind-blown. I trusted the information that economists publish because of its statistics. However, I now have to question myself whether the story is first or the data. Are they making a story out of data given? Or they found appropriate data to support their stories? Was it egg first or the hen?

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What came first the story or the data?

What do we want in life? We want closure. Normally, a story would have a beginning and an end, which entails a simpler way of acceptance. We perceive information, we acknowledge facts by knowing that the ending will never change. And its the idea of a piece of knowledge that will never change ensures closure. Which is why the story came first. Data is fixed but clandestine. We do not accept this because we can misinterpret the data. Because the data can be misinterpret, we would not be able to acknowledge this information. A story would be far more beneficial. A story is like a key which unlocks our brain. Why? A story has a body, it also would have a memorable plot. Interesting stories are the ones which reals one in. Stories can not be misinterpreted. A beginning is set by the author and the following events will lead to an eventual ending, which will explain all the details in a clear way. If a story is not clear than the story has not use. Which is why we have a link between the story and the data. Imagine this a story is the seed and the data is the soil. Even with the soil nothing will sprout out of it. However, even with a seed the outcome might not be as expected. After all the seed can become a beautiful rose or a hideous weed. Therefore a story needs data in order for it to function properly. The data is a supplement to the story. It produces a sense of authority which entails a much well rounded education. The story after all is the key. Stories are crucial to the acceptance of knowledge, which is why without stories our knowledge is halted further. 

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Response to Narrative Science and Storytelling

I have doubt about how much different version of telling influence on transferring information. It can give us different atmosphere, however, there won’t be much difference to deliver facts. Examples of same text (the Galilean telescope) in expository version and the narrative version gave me different impression with the author, Daniel Willingham. When we talking about knowledge and fact I think expository version is more suitable talking style. By narrative version, even it transfers about facts, I felt the information is quite subjective.

The storytelling text stated, metaphor is significant way (at the very heart) of how we understand. It can help understanding, at the same time; it can also make conflicts to understand. When the case of talking with using only metaphor about one fact, (e.g. “something is yellow”) we can’t sure that reader/listener will associate the same thing that writer/speaker tried to talk about. In other case, for instance, “my brother is fast as an airplane.” Metaphor used to help understanding about the fact that ‘my brother is fast’. It stated the fact and metaphor is used additionally. Therefore, even metaphor is not used, components of information that tried to transfer is not changed. In all aspects, metaphor is just one of additional ways of storytelling and it can’t be heart of understanding and storytelling. The heart of it is only facts.

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Importance of Storytelling

The essays all highlighted the importance of storytelling in our lives, and how easy it is for us to learn from stories.

I was particularly fascinated by the statement “we think in metaphors”, found in the essay “Storytelling: Our Most Important Way of Knowing”. As I reflected on it, I found the statement to be true. When recounting previous experiences, we use metaphors to enable our audience to fully understand and to feel the same way as us. We can therefore understand the world better by listening and reading stories about experiences we did not have, and feel the same way as the author. The essay also highlighted the fact that we use metaphors and storytelling when we think and when we’re trying to understand a hard concept. This is how we gain a more profound knowledge on the world around us, we think, we compare, we contrast our thoughts, both positive and negative. Honestly, I think that writers, painters and poets are some of the few people who are able to translate these thoughts and stories into art, and that is essential in our world today, as it makes us think and form our own opinions.

It has always been very natural for humans to invent stories to explain some things that, at the time could not be given any explanation. For instance, when seeing a storm, the Greeks thought that Zeus was upset and when something unusual happened, the Romans blamed it on the goddess Fortuna. As I reread the essays, my opinion on storytelling changed completely. Before I thought that humans did not need it as much, but now I think that stories are essential in our lives, as they help us to learn more about ourselves and the world.

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Only for entertaining?

Since when I was little, I liked to do art, making and painting things. However, I thought the art is only for entertaining. Thus, when I learning about the history of art, I couldn’t really understand the artists’ idea that the art is their life. Even though I took the IGCSE Art for 2 years and I’ve been doing art for quite a long time, I didn’t get the feeling of expressing my thoughts by painting and sculpting.

However, after reading this ‘Knowledge and the Arts’, I learnt that the arts also are a part of communication. Now I think the art does not only have beauty in it, but also have the many different kinds of thoughts of the artists. From artworks, we can figure out why did the artists produce this, and what did they think when they are doing their pieces, even though they are already dead.

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Something that cannot be created by humans

On the class blog write a response to ‘Knowledge & the Arts’ that refers to at least one specific piece of art from your personal knowledge and experience—any form of art will do. Using that work of art (or works of art) as an example, do the assertions made in the essay hold up, or not? Has the essay changed your views about art? Why or why not?

After I read the article ‘Knowledge & Arts,’ I assumed that it was suggesting that ‘Art’ is all about decoration, entertainment and beauty. But now that I think carefully of art, from my point of view, art is defined as something that cannot be created by humans. Since I was born, I’ve experienced and learnt what people call ‘art’. For instance, when I was young I was taught how to play the piano or draw but none of this really excited or interested me. I’ve seen the famous Mona Lisa painting and yet I felt nothing. However, I once went hiking on a mountain and saw the beautiful landscape and said to myself ‘What a beautiful piece of art.’ So I guess what I’m trying to say is that nothing matters what the article said. Compared to the ‘real’ art, the art in the article is nothing. So yes, the essay has changed my views about art.

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It shouldn’t be the form of art we should blame

On “Knowledge and arts” by Mr. Macknight, he alleges that while looking for knowledge of arts, we are asking the wrong question. He states that “finding out what it means appears easier than in others. If we have words, as in vocal music or any kind of literature, we can at least try to work out what the words mean. But a dance? An abstract painting? In such cases, we may fall back on the Romantic theory-purpose of art is to express and communicate emotion. I cannot deny the fact that dances are more obscure to spot emotion than works of literature. However, it shouldn’t be the form of art we should blame; it should be our ignorance of the art. There is a proverb “You will recognize as much as you know”. Most of art, even all have potential to express and communicate emotion. What impedes you from this communication is your lack of expertise. For example, if a professional dancer was dancing to express sadness. There will be very obvious actions such as screaming, crying and falling onto the ground. However, some actions like gesture of hand in the world of dancing which has a connotation of sadness. It is unlikely for us to catch the emotion just because we are illiterate of the fact. In contrast, for dance professors, they will appreciate the dancer’s ability to evoke the feeling of sadness and surely communicate with the dancer far better than us. Vocalization may be the only way to communicate emotions only if we have no expertise knowledge of the art.

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Art and Knowledge Response

Art can be viewed as ’’ decoration’’ or a ‘’luxury’’ and in many ways it is just that, art might be viewed as a language, a way of artistically expressing emotions, or a way to get paid. But one thing that all these point of views have in common is they don’t require personal knowledge to produce. A dog painting a canvas with paint-covered paws may be considered “good art”. This is because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. An art critic might see the art piece as eloquent, expressive, or significant. While at the same time the dog might see it as a splash of colorless shapes. In the essay written by Eric MacKnight, he asserts that knowledge must be required to make art. But does not state to what extent. In most ways he is right about this assertion but could not persuade me entirely. I believe knowledge is required to produce relevant art, meaning an artist could draw a whole bunch of lines and squiggles they he believes represents his personal experiences in his lifetime. But without this knowledge the audience might also see it as a splash of color.

I believe that knowledge isn’t required to make art but put meaning to it. Without knowledge, this is impossible.

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Response to Art essay

I think that art is a way for the artists to express themselves but its also for entertainment. I think don’t think it requires knowledge to create art. It just requires that you’re a famous artist. For example if Van Gogh painted a painting of just a dog or something simple like that it would be considered art because his name is Van Gogh and he was famous, but if I painted a painting of a dog it wouldn’t be considered art because I’m not famous. The essay about art by Eric Macknight has not changed my view on art because I think art is only considered art if someone famous has painted it.

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Response of knowledge and the Arts

For a long time in Western culture, everyone believes that the purpose of art was to create beauty. They believe art is part of decoration, it makes things more beautiful and gorgeous, and knowledgeable people do not create good artwork. However, in my view, art is a type of knowledge. It’s not as the same type of knowledge with science and language, it is an independent knowledge. People who have this type of ability can create great artwork, because they have the knowledge in art, therefor they can make better artwork than others.

Furthermore, I feel that all art has a meaning and if people don’t have enough art knowledge, they are not going to know the beauty or meaning of the work.

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Response to Art essay

I think that art not only is a form of entertainment, art is also a way of expressing oneself. Over the years of learning how to play piano, I realized slowly, that what I actually learn from lessons, as my skills improved, is no longer technological aspects of how to play a piece; instead, I go to lessons, to learn an alternative way to approach a piece. For example, when I was learning how to play the “La Campanella” written by Franz Liszt, I learned how to play the piece in about a month, but I found myself continuously practicing the piece even after 7 months, and each time I play the piece, it almost feels that I am hearing or feeling something different. This is obviously absurd, because I am playing the exact same piece, so the different emotions I experience is false, right? Well not necessarily, no.

Playing this piece made me realize more than ever that art (music) allows a person to express his feelings whenever he wants and in whatever way he wants to. Based on whatever emotion he is feeling that moment, he can utilize the technical knowledge he knows, to express himself through art in various ways. This response, therefore, completely supports the assertion in the essay, which states that Art is a way of expression.

I also agree with the fact that when we approach art, we should ask the right questions. Obviously we can’t say that “art can mean whatever we want it to mean”, because it doesn’t. The word “whatever” is too extreme here, but if we substitute the word with something less extreme, the statement may actually make sense. For example, a person observing a piece of abstract art can feel different feelings, depending on how the day is going for that person. A grieving man can view a piece of artwork as depressing, when another can view it as enlightening. The fact is, there is no “definite” in art. It depends on what the person is experiencing in their lives at that period of time. Obviously the creator of the artwork can make the piece intended to induce a certain cathartic response, but how the piece is received relies entirely on the audience.

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Response of knowledge and the Arts

I m learning art  for ages. In my experience i don’t believe art is just expressing Aesthetics. I think people who says art is just showing Aesthetics is because they  understand the only shallow point of paint.

Normally when artist start to draw a paint, they have a reason of why they draw this paint, and how to put their idea into the art. And then think a plan then start to draw. for example “Mona Lisa” it was drawn by “Leonardo da Vinci”. this art is enigmatic. the monumentality of the composition, the subtle modeling of forms and the atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to the continuing fascination and study of the work.

In my view art is not just showing Aesthetics. It is more like artist message. It is like they are writing opinion essays by expressing as art.

Although there are lots of different types of art and probably there are some art just expressing “Aesthetic”,it could be not a perfect art.


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Knowledge and the Arts:

I Still believe that art today as been reduced to just being an art form that is very decorative, but this is completely dependent on a persons point of opinion. This is because now there are many artists who now produce art tend to throw different paint colours on the canvas. They call this expression, and people pay millions of dollars to have the artists expression hung up in their living rooms.

There aren’t any new Mona Lisa’s. But yet many people travel to art shows and art galleries and stare at these new art forms and they draw their own conclusions.

But I do agree with the article that we need art for some reasons. Yes many times when there are budget cuts the arts  and musics are the first to pay the price. But this part of learning is very important to humans, its what makes us human and lets us communicate and express ourselves. Those who are completely science orientated and have very little or no art and culture in them wont be able to think of how their experiments may affect either human life or animals.

So I still feel that art has meaning and can be useful but it still doesn’t have meaning unless you are a really into art forms like music drawing or dance. Art forms like sculptors and paintings take up a lot of space in museums and they have very high security which I think seems unnecessary. I feel that instead that money should be invested in things like science and math.

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‘Knowledge and the Arts’ Response

This article stresses the idea that art is more than just decoration which is always what I have viewed art as. By reading this article I have begun to understand the greater importance of art. It is an interesting idea that to comprehend the meaning of a work of art you must ask certain questions. This is a somewhat foreign concept to me as I am used to studying science in which you can ask any question and the answer will always be the same. In art it seems as though there is a set number of questions you can inquire about it but an infinite number of answers. Hundreds of people can look at one piece of work and they can each draw their own conclusions. Of course as the essay pointed out that they will not all be completely unrelated to the painting or to each other. However, people can emphasize more on different components of an art piece depending on personal experience and knowledge. This idea has stopped me from making quick assumptions when I look at art. While I still will not stare at a piece of art and ask the essential questions to fully understand, I will understand when other people do.

I do agree that people can find meaning within a piece of art. However, I still don’t agree that it is very important. Of course it raises questions and answers questions. But, I do not believe that art is needed for these questions and answers to be conveyed. I think art is a creative outlet for messages. But if this outlet did not exist the message still would and people would find other ways to convey them. So while art is important to many people I do not think that it is completely essential.

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Knowledge and the Arts

Are we asking the right question? Mr. MacKnight’s essay on ‘Knowledge and Arts’ is a riveting concept. During class, what kind of questions do we ask? In Biology, Chemsitry we ask questions to further our understanding; however, in the Arts do we ask the right questions to further our understanding. Mr. Macknight’s essay sates that we need to ask three different questions to understand art : Who are we, Where are we, What are we doing, and what should we be doing?  I found this statement to be both interesting and controversial. To an extent, I agree with this because art is simply a reflection of the artists emotions. however, consider “The Elgin Marbles,” if we apply the three questions when examine art; weird answer are produced. First, consider who are we? ‘The Elgin Marbles’ appear as 3 headless people on a slab of rock. Now if we connect this with, who are we, ‘The Elgin Marbles’ states that we are headless, mindless creatures. We follow orders without thought. However, does this explore what it means to be human? Are just mindless creatures, who follows orders? Well, at first I was skeptical of this theory and than after a philosophical ponder I realized there is more truth to this statement than it seems. We take pride that as a species we have freedom, we are the top of the food chain living as kings. However, in our society we are simply ants listening to some sort of queen. Perhaps ‘The Elgin Marbles,’ was not designed for this purpose; however, art is a matter of opinion is it not? This essay is controversial-only with a cursory reading. Art is a form of expression; therefore, this essay is a form of art. I was treating this as a biology essay where asking the obvious questions yielded no thought. However, upon asking these questions, provided by Mr.MacKnight, the true meaning became known.

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Response to ‘knowledge and the Art’

Before I read this article, Art means nothing more than drawing, colouring or sculpting to me. I like to do art because it is very creative, you can create different shapes with a pencil, images on a piece of ordinary white paper. Therefore, I chose Art as one of my IGCSE subjects. After two years of exploring different ideas through artwork pieces, I found that Art also has value beyond its “creativity” in shapes and colours; it also has its meaning and message, but somehow, others often misunderstand the meaning I want to present in my artwork.

This article has really changed my view and I agree with this statement: “Art can mean whatever we want it to mean”. Unlike other subjects, Art doesn’t have one sole definite meaning; different people can come up with many different interpretations due to what influences them, such as personality, upbringing or cultural influences. As the article stated, you can never be wrong when answering questions like “what does this Art mean to you?”.

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Knowledge and the arts

I have been practicing for art and love it, however I think it is just one of entertainment. Art includes painting, drawing, sculpture and installation and they just work as decoration. Even art is just entertainment, sometimes it exceed its meaning. For instance, even contemporary art is for decoration, they destroy some lives such as animals. Influential contemporary artist, Demian Hirst put carcass in preservative and its theme is the physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living. When I heard about this artwork, I thought like ‘can art abuse someone’s life for their career?’ As the romantic theory, even though art is the expression of the artist’s emotion and consciousness, they should aware that they have the line that they shouldn’t be exceed.

Also, to say the art is expression of the artist’s emotion, nowadays the art is too much distorted. Unlike the past artist, artworks are changed to commercial product. It also applies to artists. They focused and worked for express their identity, however, as art share market wants commercial one, they work and paint for commercialisation.

In my view, nowadays art is not pure art therefore, their entertaining tendencies is getting stronger. I can’t say it is right and wrong as I also want and prefer commercial contemporary art. But we can say that the art is not anymore pure and strong to express emotion and knowledge.

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Response to ‘Knowledge and the Art’

‘Art’ mostly means painting, designing and sculpting for me. I love to do art because I can concentrate on one thing for long time. I liked the moment that I can concentrate on something and ignore any distraction and that is why I took IGCSE Art last year. Since I enjoyed doing stuff like painting and sculpting, Art means more than creating beauty to me. I agree with the Romantic Theory that states art is expression of the artist’s emotion and consciousness. In my opinion, Vincent Van Gogh is the perfect artist who shows us that the purpose of art is to express and communicate emotion. Most of his works that was painted just before his death were ridiculous; brush strokes and shapes were all extraordinary and this is related to his mental disorder. Those strong brush strokes and swirling shapes were way of Gogh’s own communication of his emotion. Hence, I support that the art is more then simple decoration

Besides, I think the art is way of confirming one’s existence and one’s value. Thus, art can be interpreted as many different ways. Different people have different cultural background, interest and personalities. These factors lead different interpretation, which is not possible in area of knowledge such as Maths and Science. In the process of interaction with artwork, we ask questions to ourselves. And this is what I agree with this passage. Actually, my views haven’t changed by the assertions in this text because I already had similar opinion; art is more than the decoration and entertainment.

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Knowledge and the Arts Response

I have been learning and practicing music for long time. Therefore, I cogitated about the elements in music such as expression and techniques. Expression of the music or comprehensively art is very abstract for me. Whether it should explicate the ideology of the artist or it should try to show the aesthetic quality. Below are my own opinions about Arts.

First of all, I disagree with the idea that arts should be expressing the aesthetics. It means that the arts should show the beauty and vivid imagery that is gorgeous and attractive. However, I think arts should not only be about beauty. As an example, the legendary and revolutionary band, Radiohead does not express aesthetic qualities. Listening to the songs, such as songs in the ‘Ok computer’, we can hear that their music is somehow discordance. Their songs were deprecated as cacophony by the critiques. However, their song was very unique. They used strong and high pitch sound effects that differentiate their sounds from other bands’ sounds. Although their sound was not attractive and beautiful, their unique sounds were the best ways to express their psychedelic and frantic concept or ideology. Because their ideas are assimilated into the songs, I think Radiohead is a great band that plays ‘real’ music.

Second, in my point of view the most important element in arts is the techniques. Any people can have unique ideas but may have difficulties in expressing his or her ideas. Therefore techniques are very important. According to the ‘Knowledge and Arts’ essay, the author classifies the technical knowledge as the artist’s knowledge.

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Personal response to “Knowledge and the arts”

In one way, my view of art is somewhat similar to the old western view, arts are decoration and entertainment, and as suggested in the beginning of the essay “They are nice but not essential”. Paintings and souvenirs bring a lot to the impression of for example a house. It gives it beauty and a sense of personification and  you could argue that the paintings you choose to put on your walls somewhat tells others who you are, and what you care about. Imagine someone who has paintings of dying nature and vulnerable animals. This tell visitors about the person’s care for the environment, and hopefully raise some type of thought about what we are doing, and what we should be doing.

However, I don’t think art is necessary. According to the Romantic theory, art is the expression of the artist’s emotions and consciousness. For sure, many artists have expressed their feeling through their paintings, and many has felt relief by expressing feelings through a song. However, in most cases it doesn’t bring anything more than entertainment and decoration to the audience. Most of us love listening to music, and in some cases it might raise questions such as Who are we?, Where are we?, What are we doing? , and What should we be doing?. Personally I haven’t reflected upon any of those questions when listening to music or reading a poem, which probably is because I never thought deeply enough about it. However, it makes me wonder whether it is actually important to reflect over them. For me, what defines a human being is biological factors such as what genes we are made of, and honestly I can’t see that reflecting more deeply over who we are would bring any purpose to my life.

However, as suggested in the essay, if we reflect deeply on those questions, we may gain some knowledge about ourselves, our world, and our lives. After thinking about that I realize that what particularly distinguishes art from any other way of knowing is the fact that what you learn is what you want to learn, and it is based on the emotions of yourself and the artist. From the same piece of art, two persons might gain different knowledge, and there is no correct answer.

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Response to “Knowledge and the Arts”

As it is stated in the essay, I believe that nowadays we need art more than anything else in our lives. We live in a world in which every form of art is disappearing, or rapidly being replaced by technology. We need art to support us, inspire us, to guide us through our lives which would otherwise seem meaningless and tedious.
Before reading the essay, I had always appreciated the power of art, and understood its importance to some extent, but I now know that it is essential. Art is a method of expression for us humans, who would be nothing without it. Since the very beginning we were devoted to it and used it to communicate the way we felt.
I strongly agree with the Romantic Theory, where it is believed that every artist needs to suffer a little in order to transmit strong emotions through a piece of music or art. Our personal experience marks the art we produce, giving it a touch of our personality, our pain, our joy. Nowadays, people have lost the exigence of expressing themselves, keeping every emotion in, without stopping to observe it like poets, or painting it out on canvas, like painters. Today, our world is just superficial, even the songs and paintings lack emotions.
When younger, my parents used to take me around Italy to visit museums, cathedrals and castles. Once, we went to Agrigento, Sicily, to visit the temple of Concordia and I remember my parents explaining its history and the fact that when the Greeks built it, it used to be filled with ornaments and decorations. I was stunned by the imposing temple and kept on wondering how the Greeks managed to construct such beauty without the technology we have today. The same questions arose when I visited the domes in Milan and Florence. I came to the conclusion that the people at the time were inspired, were expressing themselves and their love for their lives, culture and religion. Architecture is a form of art because that is how most of the ancient populations left the mark of their existence on Earth. But still, I keep on asking myself why humans managed to build such stunning things only in the past, where the technology was not that advanced, while now the things built are meaningless and without a purpose.

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Paul Graham, “How You Know”

A brief but useful essay by Paul Graham, “How You Know”, is worth reading and thinking about.

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Fallacy analysis: Poisoning the Well

Fallacy is an argument that uses poor reasoning. An argument can be fallacious whether or not its conclusion is true.

I see or experience lots of fallacies everyday. As an example, I saw a fallacy during PE class. My friends and I were getting changed after playing football and during that short time Patrick and Shawn were having short talk.

Patrick was complaining to Shawn because Shawn kicked Patrick and didn’t admit as a foul. Shawn was refuting Patrick as he thought he didn’t kick Patrick’s shin. He was making a moaning sound, saying ‘ I DIDN’T!’, then Patrick said Shawn make those kind of sound when he knows the truth but trying to hide it. Therefore Patrick claimed that Shawn certainly kicked his shin.

However, this is a fallacy. In detail, it is a “poisoning of well”. Patrick has made fallacy because he used his evidence according to the moaning sound of Shawn. Patrick said Shawn always make moaning sound when he is lying. This is a fallacy because Shawn might not make those moaning sounds although he lied, or make moaning sound although he didn’t lie. Therefore, the way of reasoning Patrick’s assertion is not an appropriate way.

To avoid fallacy in this situation, Patrick should back up his claim with his physical symptoms such as bruise, or cuts on his skin. Also, with his physical symptoms, Patrick should prove whether he had made contact with Shawn. The most efficient way can be recording of football match. However, there is no recording of it, so the witness of this situation can be helpful.

People often make fallacy, including me. We should be reasoning our assertion based on more substantial and true information.

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Why do we cling to beliefs when they’re threatened by facts?

Interesting article at has relevance to TOK:

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Fallacies in Debates

It is during a debate in which one can encounter uncorroborated and/or fictitious arguments and thus debaters usually tend to have exposure in identifying logical fallacies. As a rule of thumb, when an opposition makes an invalid point, debaters have to identify it as a fallacy and convey it such that the argument is rendered useless. As a general rule of thumb, debaters are inclined, if at all possible, to avoid using fallacies as, if recognised, credibility is lost.

The first and perhaps most obvious fallacy in a debate is known as “Ad hominem.” This fallacy is when one attempts to lessen the credibly of the opposition by directly attacking the opposition through personal means. An example would be, if for example a father may tell a child not to smoke as he will regret it, but the child points out that the father is a smoker. This, does not change the fact that the child may regret smoking.

Another fallacy found in debates is known as “Ad ignorantiam,” meaning argument from ignorance. If a proposition has been made and it has not been proven, it cannot be regarded as true and is therefore false. As such, this argument attempts to exploit it is impossible to disprove true things and impossible to prove false things, but it completely ignores the other two parts of this. To give an example, one might say “Prove to me that God isn’t real, and then I will stop believing.”

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