Tuesday, December 13, 2005

 
Good luck to everyone on their exams & Happy Holidays & Happy Christmachanukwanzachah (and anything left out from that :-)

Friday, December 09, 2005

 

Hey!

Hey guys - I just wanted to let you know that I just read everyone's comments about Sophie's World from last week. Maybe I'll have to log in from time to time just for fun though =) Robert - thanks for digging up that ridiculous picture of me from the summer! At least I am not doing anything more stupid than mocking somene bowling. (I can't remember why I was doing that in the first place now!!!) It's definitely interesting to talk about fate, reality and our relative significance in the world. As for the book, the difference between you and Sophie and Hilde is that you have opinions about Sophie and Hilde, and the latter two are completely incapable of forming opinions about you, because they don't exist! However, Gaarder does have the ability to make you think that Sophie and Hilde exist and have opinions about you. In essence, just because you think that they can think doesn't mean that they really can. What's beautiful about how all of this is set up is that a single (real) individual, like Gaarder, can create an infinitely nested set of fake characters where each character thinks that all of the ones "below" it are fake and is not aware of any of the ones "above" it. Strangely enough, it's this ability in our thought and language (this sort of recursive abstract thought) that separates us from other species of animals.

As for fate, in Consilience Wilson argues that it's likely that biologically, we need to believe that we have free will. Whether we actually do or not is most likely a question we will never be able to fully answer. I really like Juli's comment about fate. I agree that we can model our fate as a tree of choices. What actually happens to us is fated to be one of these paths, but we have free-will to choose in which path we end up. I mentioned this in class to 3rd period Bell I think, but I wanted to reiterate that through your lives you'll probably have more choices than are readily apparent to you. People will make you think that you have to do certain things, but often times if you carefully seek out your full possibility of choices, you'll find more options than you initially believed you had. In essence, only if you actively explore your tree will you have the chance to maximize your free-will. Learn to accept the boundaries of your condition/situation, but never stop challenging them.

Few people can even come close to comprehending how small we are compared to the size of the universe and how big we are compared to a quark. While it's easy to think that we're incredibly insignificant in the universe, it doesn't mean that we should resign ourselves to be insignificant on this earth. It's true that humanity will probably not live through a cataclysm(sp) that significantly alters the nature of our earth, but this is incredibly unlikely to happen in our lifetime. So, we should strive to be significant in our tiny, tiny niche of this universe. Balance your happiness with helping others achieve the same. To me, that is a significant goal for which to reach.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

 

Fate?

"Because we are not victims of fate- thanks to free will, we can make choices and decisions on our own and direct our own future, determine our own destiny."

What if we were meant to make the choices and decisions we make? We would be victims of fate, wouldn't we? When I was younger I used to hate the whole "pick only one" deal. I know that makes no sense, but if I was at the grocery store for example, my dad would buy me gum but he'd make me choose just one kind instead of all. Watermelon or strawberry?? I wanted both! Or when I had to choose between soccer and crew and couldn't have both... or choosing which book I'm going to read next, or which homework assignment I'll turn in late... the list goes on. My point is: Does anyone have a really easy time making decisions, ever? What if you had to decide you wanted to go out to a movie or stay in and order pizza? What if you thought you were directing your own future, avoiding, say, a speeding ticket, when instead God already knew that you would choose pizza? It would be fate. Sometimes I think of life as a tree. Many branches, many different paths to take. Kind of like those "choose your adventure" books. Everything pre-destined, you just pick a path, hopefully the road less travelled by, the one that makes all the difference... (RF) But anyway, if that was the case, we would be victims of fate.
I don't think I make sense but just thought I'd throw this out there...
Hope you all had a good weekend.
JO
P.S. Congrats to soon-to-be Gators!

 

The only thing we know is that we know nothing at all

Thinking about reality and contemplating our existence is a difficult task, especially when one (namely me) is very drowsy due to Nyquil. However, some clarity manages to make its way through the fog. I have never been one to dwell on questions such as this one. Whether or not we are "real" is impossible to say. Could we just be attached to some computer like in the Matrix, or just part of the dream of the Fayth (play FFX for more). This whole discussion has me thinking about the concept of infinity that Ms. Schoene brought up in class on Friday. I work with infinite all the time in math class with limits and L'hopital's rule. However, the term infinity was little more to me than a sideways 8. But just sitting outside made me think about how beautiful the sky is and at the same time howinsignificant it must be to the beauty of the universe. Then i began to think of how insignificant our lives are. The fact that, for example, a few years ago we just saw a supernova that happened 4,000 years ago. And how can anything have no beginning and no end? So many questions came to mind. But the biggest one of all is... are we really people? Do we actually exists or are we just in some dream world? If this question fails then all the other questions I raised do too. I guess I agree with Descartes and his simple yet profound statement: "I think therefore I am". But then, Sophie could think too couldn't she? The only thing I really know is that I know nothing at all (except how to take some integrals of some numbers).

 

Reality

Ok so with the talk of reality going around i am reminded of something that i used to think about so much in middle school (when i was an even bigger nerd than i am now). I used to theorize that our entire universe was only part of a series of universes of varying size. This is kinda difficult to explain but imagine that in each atom of your body there is another universe and that our universe is just sitting on the atom of some gigantic persons finger. I used to think about the corresponding shapes of atoms and other subatomic particles and large "universal" structures such as solar systems and galazies (planets spinning around a sun = electrons spinning around a nucleus). Now i know that the science people are gonna jump all over me on this one because of charges and other things like that and i realize that because ive already come up with a number of things that discredit the theory, but it is just interesting to think about. How we thing our lives are the center of the universe, but our universe may be only a small part of someone elses universe who is just as selfish as us. Just food for thought....

Joseph

 
I agree with what Sam said earlier, in that we are created to have free will and to do whatever we so desire. However, because we can make our own descisions, there has to be an eventual time when we will eventually be held accountable for these actions, or so I feel. That is what I think.

 

Blue Sky


Hmmmmm... this is a difficult subject. What is reality? Is what we see truly what we get? But, then again, I think that's just summing up what Sophie's World was talking about. I've contemplated the idea of perception many times before. The reading reminded me of how I used to wonder how you could tell whether or not you were color blind. I mean, to you, the world would be normal. What if I'm color blind, and the blue that I see in the sky isn't actually blue at all, it's just blue to me. That's how I see blue. I could be completely wrong. Maybe it's purple. I wouldn't know how to tell. I see that it's blue, but only because I've grown up believeing that it was blue... does this make any sense? I know that they have tests that can determine whether or not you're color blind, but it's still interesting to think about.

What about cloud watching? I'm sure everyone has watched the clouds at least once in his/her life. If you haven't, then you need to take some time out of your day, go outside, and watch them. It's really interesting to do. I used to do it all the time with my little brother. Perception plays a big role in how you see the shapes in clouds. Maybe I saw a teddy bear, and he saw a fish. Maybe I saw a face, and he saw a shoe. In the end, I think that reality is not absolute, and everyone has their own way of looking at the world. This can also account for a glass half empty/half full scenario. Maybe one person sees joy in everything, and another person sees sorrow. Their perceptions of the world are obviously different. But what do you call it when most people enjoy to be around the joyful person as opposed to the miserable one? Is that perception? Maybe I'm just rambeling....I guess I'll end this now. I hope to see you all tomorrow on a glass half full kinda day! ;-)

Here's to the sky being blue,
Whitney

 
I read Ms. Schoene's post friday afternoon, and didn't realize I was supposed to post a response, so here is my response to Kant and his philosophy.
I found it really interesting, how just two days ago I had gotten back my TOK paper on perception, and how it deceives us. Through the research that has taken place in Biology, one knows that the color one thinks an object to be is not actually true. Infact, every thing that even accounts for color is in our selves. The cones and rods are in us, and the colors it picks up is all in our brain. In the same way, food doesn't taste a certain way. All food is is an amalgam of chemicals that then seep through our taste cells, where they are perceived as either sour, bittler, sweet, salty, or any combination of the four. So I guess there is not much of a case against Kant's statement. The image of the world we see is skewed. But what about all these laws of physics that hold true to this world. They were all based on empirical data, and if we can't trust our senses, how is it that no matter how many different people try to verify that the lay actually works, they all come out with the same result. One possible explanation is that the law works because the empirical evidence is part of the same skewed world we see. Is this evidence for the argument that our senses skew the image of the real world to almost the same degree, taking away the need to argue about the importance of whether we see the real world or not?
I hope all of that made sense. It makes sense to me, but I don't know if I'm even expressing my thoughts eloquently enough for everyone to understand.

 

Sunday Night Fever

So I was trying to think of something to post on the blog (and of course I've forgotten all of the philosophical ideas I had during 6th period Friday), and I was reading Brad's comment down below. I started thinking about God(s) and control and having a universe all of my own and I realized, I think we all are "God" in a sense and do have our own "personal universe." Because we are not victims of fate- thanks to free will, we can make choices and decisions on our own and direct our own future, determine our own destiny. I guess it depends on how much you believe in fate, and sometimes I really do believe in it, but many things are really up to us. We may believe that the universe looks a certain way and we may believe that the way things appear are the way they really are, but we each can determine that for ourselves. Our choices determine who we are, what we think, what we see, what we do.

Sorry if that makes no sense whatsoever (or if I've repeated what someone else has already blogged). Philosophical waxing and waning isn't really my strong point.

 

Sophie's World discussion

All this talk of unique perceptions reminded me of an episode of "Home Improvement" in which Wilson (the neighbor) said that he was afraid that his life/reality was the creation of someone else's dream, and when that person woke up, his life would end.

I liked Katie's idea of humans as God's entertainment; again, I was reminded of a computer game that my cousin used to play in which you as the gamer controlled an entire world, and it was up to you to decide whether you were a benevolent god or an evil one. I thought that this idea of good or evil, and if you were the supreme creator of a universe which one you would choose to be, tied in with Kant's Universal Law of Morals. After all, the beings of your world would certainly hope that you had chosen the path of kindness--as you would, too, if you were not the god but the creation.

 

i think i ruined the ending

Yeah, I was interested in Mrs. Schoene's post about Hilde and Sophie so I scanned the last few chapters of the book and it gave me a really strange view of reality too. In the book, Sophie is a character that Hilde creates. Sophie, though, does not discover this until the end of the book and all along believes that she is a real person. This made me wonder if we, too, could just be characters other people created. Then I thought that is kind of like we're the characters and God is the one who created us just to watch us. Ok, yeah, that's really confusing...but I did my homework!!

 

bradley's theoretical stuff-athon

Sometimes I wonder whether or not the lives we lead are actually our real lives, or if we are simply observing reality through some sort of a metaphysical window.

Something I did think about a couple of times that kind of plays into that: what if every individual is like the God of their own personal universe, and that universe is what we perceive? As in, I have created the people in my mind that I am friends with, I have created everything I perceive, and it is my own personal existence. That means that everybody would perceive their own universes, ompetely independent of everyone else.

Or maybe I'm just crazy. :P

 
Oh...were we just supposed to post a new idea? I just left a comment on Mrs. Schoene's original post.

Whoopsies.

Well...I posted something...so I did my homework...right?

*runs away*


Saturday, December 03, 2005

 

whoa reality and perception.

I wonder a lot what other people perceive the world as compared to what I perceive. I think of reality t.v. shows are a pretty darn example that "reality" most certainly does not mean real. I wish we could plug into each others heads or something and see/feel/experience the world like they do. Cool huh? Also kinda weird.

 

Universal Truth

I don't really know about everyone but this book has me a bit confused. The whole idea that we've been learning about a girl who is in a book that another girls father wrote, but that items disappear from one world to another, is rather confusing. Then when Winnie-the-Pooh and Little Red Riding Hood came in, I was more than a little lost.

I think I'll resort to Socrates and Descartes and say -"the only thing we can really know is that we know nothing".

Anyways on Friday I had approximately 6 minutes of English class so maybe that is why I am so confused.

I really liked Kant’s idea that the way we perceive things is not how they really are, as well as the idea that some questions are unanswerable (except through faith). I don't know about everyone else but I constantly find myself reliving these truth's in Biology class where I find out what I thought I knew, was completely not right and due to something else. For example the first time I heard that grass wasn't really green and that it was every colour but green. lol imagine my surprise :)

I think the Romantics have the right idea, books and perhaps World Lit Papers should write themselves. lol. I know that’s not what was meant by that idea though. I think a lot of the best writing that takes places is when an author is so deeply in tune with his or her writing that he or she has the words and ideas flow out of them. I suppose then an author would not have control over his or her own characters (which would produce the confusing overlapping of worlds in Sophie's World.

Later,
la

 

Um.......

In response to the previous post... i'd rather anyone not tie my name + cheating together... I made a huge social mistake last year (i seem to make one every year [haven't made this year's yet]), and I'd prefer not to think about it. I don't think I've said sorry enough to the people involved either. As for being a philosphical king? I think not... I make a lot of wrong choices, wrong moves, and i'm not the nicest person to everyone; in fact, at times I can be overly sarcastic and annoying, as I'm sure everyone's noticed by now. Nicest person'd probably be Michelle or Emily or something... And I'm not sure how philosophically sound it is to go around changing "Keep Out" signs to read "No Fishing" and "No skating on ice" is... In fact, I think my "philosophy" is more about breaking boundaries, so long as it doesn't hurt anyone and it's fair to everyone else... Seems to be the case at MIT too... But uhh.... yeah, i'm more about the whole "live life and don't care what other ppl think" thing...


In any case, sorry if this is a selfish post, but I just didn't want people to get the wrong impression... But anyway... congratulations to everyone who got into UF!!!


Oh... posting pictures!!! Uh, the easiest way is to go to http://imageschack.us/ and upload your picture... I'd click the box that says to resize it... After you upload it, the one that says "hotlink for websites" is the best code to copy... Just copy the code straight into the blog...
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Haha, and for the record, the name's LiKamWa... but it doesn't really matter... haha... this one UHS girl likes to call me leecohmwah on my myspace though...

Friday, December 02, 2005

 

What is real and what is an illusion?

I am not sure, but with all of the chaos today, I hope the lesson was still memorable. I will post the pictures with the Immanuel Kant-esque lenses on, if someone will just show me how. Maybe Robert LiKimWa??? Do you know, Robert, in one of the discussions today, we imagined a world where you were the only one not cheating, so you were the only one in our world who really knew anything. We realized that, if this condition actually existed, you would have great power, and we would all be totally dependent on your knowledge. From what I know of Robert, I much prefer his being the philosopher king than, say, Paris Hilton, who was the topic of part of our discussion sixth period. I am not sure at all what the world looks like through her lenses, but I am hoping we never have to rely solely on her knowledge. For me, after staying up late and getting up early to get the reading done, the idea that sticks with me more than any other is Kant's "categorical imperative" - "Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a Universal Law of Nature." In other words, "when I do something, I must make sure I want everybody else to do the same if they are in the same situation." It's the Golden Rule stated in more philosophical terms. I like it because Kant's idea of free will suggests that we are only free because we are free to follow a moral law. Wow! Any thoughts on the Sophie's World or Consilience reading? Please join the discussion. If you haven't read, there's still time to choose to read - just for the love of learning. You do love learning don't you?
Have a great weekend.

 

Noveber 30 Second Period Class

Mrs. Schoene tells us where to put our two copies and disk of World Lit II papers. She also tells us to make sure that we pick up permission slips for club picture day. Then, the class talks about the John Donne poem "Batter my heart, three-personed god" which is one of John Donne's holy sonnets and the poem is an Italian sonnet. There is strong use of alliteration when we hear the words break, blow, burn. Mrs. Schoene tells us that burning and shining are connected to the son. She says the words breathe and blow are words connected to the Holy Ghost. She tells us that a definition of ghost is breathe. The words knock and break are connected to the father. All parts of the Holy Trinity are meant to mold the individual and release that individual of any imperfections. With all of these words and how they are compared with the Holy Trinity are found in the first quatrain. In the second quatrain, there is a struggle in that the individual is captured by the devil and wants God to come and rescue him/her. Reason should be how the individuals comes closer to God, but reason is not strong enough to get rid of the evil. Reason is also personified. In the sestet, there is the word "yet" which signals the turning point in the poem. The individual is bound to the enemy but wants his friend, God, to break the bond of evil. In the poem, John Donne wants a sense of spiritual ecstasy. Donne also uses a lot of strong diction such as break, imprison me, enthrall me. Enthrall mean to hold in bondage; spellbound. The individual is unable to escape from the evil. The words "ravish" and "chaste" are paradoxical because how can one seize or carry off someone by force, the definition for ravish, or be pure, definition of chaste, when the individual is bound to evil forces.
The next poem that the class discussed was "Break of Day" which is a love poem. In the poem, the woman is speaking, asking questions to the man, her lover, and why he is leaving. In the first stanza, she asks four questions and also answers the questions to show that it does not matter that it is now light and he shouldn't leave because of the light. She points out to her lover that the daylight should make no difference. She points out that they came together when it was night, why should we separate because it is now light. In the second stanza, the line says that "light hath no tongue, but is all eyes" which is both metonymy and synecdoche. She only cares about the individual because she has given her heart and honor. However, in the third stanza, the lover has to attend to business affairs. The woman asks the question "Is business more important than I?" She also talks about the lines "the poor, the foul, the false" in which she exaggerates and came up with the idea that her lover going off to business is just as cruel and foul as the married person who woes outside of the marriage.
This is as far as we got today. To be continued.
Keon.

 

November 23 - Second Period

Hello Second Period and all of you who just read the blog for fun,

I'm sorry that this post is just a little late. For the longest time I could not find our blog and then I did not remember my username.

Now that the apology is out of the way I can get down to the summarization. On the 23rd, we had the privilidge to be introduced to the amazing, prolific, and energizing poet named John Donne. We did not really get into much poetry that day because it was the day before Thanksgiving, but we did learn a considerable bit about John. What we learned about John Donne can be memmorized, if you so choose, by remembering three words: hoary, holy, and horny. These words basically describe every aspect of John Donne's poetry that we have learned thus far. The word hoary describes John Donne because he often thinks about dying and the emotions that are associated with it. Holy is also pertinent because John focuses on God and his relationship with with His creation. The last word horny because the "Jack" Donne poetry contains a seducer trying to steal away the virginity of an innocent young woman. These facts about John Donne are, for the most part, what we were taught on the 23rd of November.

The announcements were listened to, we pledged, talked some more, and then the bell released us.

-Matt Henderson

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