Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Please Extend an Invitation to Know

As we reach midsummer, share with one another, please, a moment of knowledge from your Extended Essay work and the unexpected way you have connected it to another area of your life.  In order, then: what interesting, challenging, surprising, frustrating instance of intellectual inquiry are you sharing? By what process or path have you grappled with same? How did it resonate elsewhere in your life?  What is the knowledge question that connects these moments?  Also, check this out (sit down first).


  1. A moment of knowledge from my Extended Essay work is when I was trying to explain what exactly the Illuminati is. Whenever one researches the Illuminati, there seems to be a million different sites (mostly all unreliable) that claim different things. Basically, there are just many rumors and misconceptions about the group and what their real aims were.

    I connect this to being a teenager. As teenagers, or just people in general, there are always rumors spreading and misconceptions about one another. You say one thing, another person says you said it differently- it happens.

    This instance is interesting because it just shows that over the years, even when the people are dead, humans are just prone to spreading or believing rumors or misconceptions at one point in their life. It's not anyone's fault, its being human. Many don't even realize it in regular conversations, which is what is challenging about the instances- depicting the difference between what actually happened, or what is more commonly accepted that happened.

    The whole thing is frustrating because no matter what we do, these instances will never go away in society. This is also surprising because we all would like to think that we don't spread rumors, but chances are, we probably are and just don't realize it. When we are talking about the news, an event, or a situation with a friend, we don't know whether what we heard from someone else is 100% true- we just say what we believe is true. I've grappled with this many times during group conversations when I wanted to say something but wasn't really sure, or when I have said something and it turned out to be false. This resonates through my whole life because I am a teenage girl and girls love to talk.

    The knowledge question is "How does experience justify belief?"

  2. A moment of knowledge from my extended essay would be when I am explaining the significance of literature in revealing the truth about Victorian Society. Kate Chopin can be considered someone who was an active member in the Women's Movement. Although she was not a public figure she used her writing to expose the struggles of women in her time. Because of books, like The Awakening, modern society can now understand the pain that would lye beneath the dainty young women of the era. In my essay I quoted Barbara Tuchman, in which she said, "Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.”
    This can really be connected to not only my life, but everyone's lives. When I write, I write often from personal experience. If someone reads my work a hundred years from now, they will be able to see what an early 21st century girl's life was like. Everyone's writing will soon help the future to better understand our culture, which is unbelievably interesting.
    At the same time, while sticking with this knowledge, it is quite challenging to interpret some of the meanings behind Chopin's work. Is this character one who should be pitied or scorned? Does Chopin reveal instances from her own life or the lives of others around her? These questions although challenging and frustrating to answer, are part of the process. In the end it is quite surprising to realize that all of Chopin's work is about leaving it up to the reader to decide whether or not the character is one to be loved or hated. This process it one that I have grappled with during this entire process. But I know this is important for many things in my life because, as a student, I am asked to reach my own conclusions and speculations.

    KI: To what extent does literature impact knowledge?

  3. Seeing as how I'm not too far into my extended essay work the only thing I've noticed was how hard it is to begin working. This relates to other areas in my life because if I'm not in the correct setting or mindset starting, or continuing things, is difficult for me. An example for this would be cleaning my room. If I'm not in the fame of mind or "mood" to clean I'm not going to do it because I wouldn't be something I want to or "feel" like doing, so I wouldn't do it. It's easier for me to continue doing something in the same environment I started it in.

    KI: To what extent does one's physical environment influence and impact their mental space?

  4. KI: To what extent does consideration impact our knowledge?

    Going back to late June, I was organizing information and some data, and I tried to be fully careful about how I approach all my sources, because I don't want my essay to go off track and get off topic (which I always do),so it result about a week of hesitation on starting the essay. There are a lot of information that I need to include in the essay and there are also a lot of different perspectives on the topic that I've choose, which makes me feel difficult to introduce and conclude.
    And as I mentioned last week that I'm taking driving lessons, and yesterday was the day that I supposed to drive in the city, which I was very scared to watch signs, speed limit, scooters, and people, too many things that I have to be aware of at the same time and I did hesitate for a while to accept the truth that, I will need to do this some day.

  5. Like Lola, I haven't ventured too deeply in my extended essay work. I know almost exactly how I want to write it and how I am going to divide up the information and about how much I want its just the "pen to paper" part that is getting me stuck. When I have free time, I prefer to work on my math homework, etc when I think of doing school work (SL Math don't forget about the math! There is a fair amount, and if you are like me, you might have to look for your notes!) I have been thinking about Cuban music a lot though and thinking about the influence that African immigrants must have had when they came to the country. The obvious connection to my life is djembe playing verses conga playing. The two differ- main difference is how the heads are treated. A djembe head is thin and doesn't hurt your hands as much as the thicker head of a conga. While the instruments are both membranophones and are clearly related, they are both very different in sound contributing to their own cultures.

    To what extent does a changing community influence the culture of that community?

  6. Recently for my Extended Essay, I checked out a book called “Haiti after the earthquake” and I’ve been finding myself hesitant to read it because when I was reading the about the author. The book has everything I want to prove but I’m not sure how this author’s view will affect my point of view or have a shift in away from the facts. What is interesting for me is that before I’ve even started to read, I know that I’m going to have to make sure all my facts are correct to know which parts of the event have been made more dramatic, because although this is a non-fiction book, the author still needs to make sales. For my paper, I would like to have the facts and perspective of the people, but also while making my own conclusion in the end.
    A similar process which I am experiencing similar feelings is the college tour process. I have been looking at schools online, reading about the facts and statistics, but I need to hear from them to see if all these facts written in these slightly too informative college books. I was reading in one book that some students at a particular college are “stuck-up, rich kids”, and I know that there are people like that anywhere and I’m trying not to let one aspect of college life get to me. With over one thousand students, I’m sure I’ll find people who are rich and not stuck-up, while occasionally running into other types of students.
    So, both these processes have brought me to the knowledge issue: To what extent is first hand observation the most reliable way of gaining information?

  7. While reading about the experiences of North Africans immigrants living in France, it dawn on me that no matter the type of immigrant, the experience of intergrading into a foreign community is usually the same. The North Africans had a different understand of equality then what it would normally be defined. They understood that everyone, including the white man has to wear a coat in the winter and they acknowledge that the quality of the coat might be different- though equal but different. Although the majority of the people interviewed in the reading were adults, I relate to their experience. At home, I am the only girl with three brothers. We all attend school and are granted the same opportunities. However, I am still expected to work twice as hard with everything I do. I am expected to go back and forth from schoolwork and house work.
    I find it interesting that North Africans found a connection to the white man in such a dubious method. I would not automatically look at coats to make a connection of equality. In addition, it surprised me that it actually made sense to the situation. It was a simple and creative way to bring forth a message. Since this article was written in English, it was challenging to translate it into French and still keep the idea represented in it.
    KI: to what extent does interpretation influence knowledge?

  8. Conveniently, I have a question which has been in the back of my mind for some time and applies both to my extended-essay-writing process so far and to my topic (and also to being a teenager).
    Namely: a friend of mine lives with the firmly held belief that convenience is always a result of either ingenuity or vice (usually vice). Not a topic I'd thought about before, I found this highly stimulating, and - although some of you who know of my work habits may be rolling your eyes - began to examine it in the context of my own life. Of course, with the process of writing my Extended Essay, the vice of convenience came to me in the form of a research librarian funnily enough only available to help me while I was not in the country, making it nearly impossible to research further than I already had. Now, I am stuck (with negative connotations removed) across the pond, with the choice either to tie myself in organizational knots attempting to complete my essay without efficient research, or to take what I suppose is the easier way out, and wait until I'm back in the United States to finish. In making this decision, I found myself thinking of my friend's warning, and trying to make the right decision with the threat "vice" loudly in mind.
    I rediscovered this question in the context of United States environmental regulation. In the process of learning that led me to my extended essay topic, I made some disturbing discoveries regarding American companies' use of information. Without significantly successful exception known to me, every one chooses the convenience of cheap ingredients and methods over what is clearly right and good (public health and safety). Quite similarly, one of the chemical disasters I'd considered for my essay, called Love Canal, was the result of a company's exceedingly irresponsible and convenient habit of dumping chemical waste into the canal, ignoring all reason because the easiest solution was, well, easiest.
    I encounter also with myself cognitive convenience, a problem which too often comes up in this very course. Delving all too deeply into the workings of the mind can be a daunting prospect, not to mention uncomfortably focus-demanding and time-consuming. It is easier, often, to give the answer which is staring you in the face rather than to come up with a new one. This can apply to opinions, faith, and any other way of knowing or of obtaining knowledge.
    Thus, the question: how can convenience factor into knowing? can there be a wrong way to go about obtaining knowledge?

  9. This summer, i realized how much our academic lives heavily relies on the internet. In a 3rd world country, unless you are an American or European expatriate, or a established worker, you cannot really have abundant access to the internet. Living in Rwanda does not make things easier for my extended essay. From the very beginning, I had a plan of my extended essay being experienced based, but i quickly came to realize that it might be impossible. I now changed it into researched based, while maintaining the same main idea of the mycelia in oyster mushrooms breaking down oil to help our environment. Although, internet is not easy finding internet, I have found many interesting books that have helped me a lot. Therefore my question is, to what extent does research influence knowledge?


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