Knowledge and the Search for Truth

 Part A.

Selection: The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

  1. Out of all the possible topics or ideas regarding knowledge, what have the authors selected to give you?

The Complete Persepolis is an autobiography of Marjane’s life from her early childhood, to young adult years during the war between Iran and Iraq. The message of this story is to never forget who you are and where you came from. It’s important to cherish your personal identity and challenge those that try to suppress it. Regardless if your opinions are the minority, you must always fight for what you believe in.

  1. Out of those topics and ideas treated, what have they emphasized, and how?

The idea of “fighting for what you believe in, regardless if your opinions are the minority” is often demonstrated through Marjane’s character since the beginning of her childhood years. She continues to be rebellious throughout her life despite the strict laws that scare people away with their cruel punishments. Yet, Marjane remains stubborn and takes countless risks in order to publically express herself, even though her opinions are supposedly “wrong” according to society. On several occasions, she stands up against authority in order to educate her brainwashed peers of the reality behind political issues the government in Iran attempts to hide.

  1. The language Marjane uses to express her ideas in this book is fairly simple, with the occasional terminology that pertains to Iranian history. The diction is that of a casual conversation; majority of the language is demonstrated through the illustrations of her “comic book” style.  After all, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  In the more dramatic parts of the book, the word choice is kept very simple to get to the point while the images are of symbolic or significant meaning. For majority of the book, the illustrations and word choices must be combined to make much more of an emotional impact and meaning. Illustrations of horrified facial expressions along with a few words to describe Marjane’s feelings  emphasize the drama within that moment for her.

Image

This screenshot is an example of the dramatizing effects created by the language and images used in the book.

  1. What is the context in which the book was written – by whom, for what purpose…?

The Complete Persepolis is written as a graphic novel. The purpose of this is so it’s easily comprehended by younger audiences and young adults because of its richness in visuals. Being an artist, it seemed like the obvious choice for her since it also gives her a chance to express her thoughts and feelings in a way that words can’t. In addition to that, it also enabled her to speak to the audience as she illustrated herself, which helped the audience see from Marjane’s perspective.

Part B.

After watching the Danish philosopher, Thomas Pettit, discuss the Gutenberg Parenthesis and his view on books, it really made me question what determines the credibility of the sources. He explains how in the olden days, the credibility of the truth was dependent on the form in which it came from, whether it be books, newspapers, or word of mouth. The reason why books were thought to be more reliable was because of the physical characteristics; it was hard, sturdy, beautifully bounded, had neatly organized words on pages, and was generally hard to create. Back then, invaluable information could never be made into a book because of the substantial effort it would take to publish garbage. This was where the idea that “books contained dependable, fact-based material” derived from. But nowadays, anyone can be an author and publish a book. The reputation a book has today is definitely not like in the past where we the “book is word. Because we’re evolving into a digital age, distinguishing between what information is credible by the form it comes in is no longer a suitable method. I found it very interesting how Pettit examined the fact that the entire world needs to look back to the primitive forms of the press in the 15th-16th century to replicate the ways people back then sorted out the truth from different forms of information.

            Although there are some questionable books out there that don’t incorporate sound information, books still hold the vast amount of reliable knowledge they used to in my opinion. The “book form” of information still has the connotation of sturdy, trustworthy, knowledge. Every book has a “personality” in a sense since they all have different titles, covers, fonts, sizes, colors, and binding, which you can tell a lot of effort was put into creating them (even if they’re mass produced). To me, each book has a different “feel,” whether it’s a novel, textbook, or an encyclopedia. The touch of the pages and the essence of the book itself are quite significant to how valuable the information within the text is. It’s a feeling I can’t get from reading something online, even if it’s the same book. Books portray the character of the story by just the outside appearance. If derived from a reliable source, I honestly believe that books can “hold learning.” The hundreds of pages of printed words in a textbook contain knowledge that sparks imaginations, enlightens, and educates. It’s the catalyst of learning.

Part C.

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 I mainly obtain my knowledge from websites on the internet with a purpose of teaching me something new, non-fiction books, teachers, and friends. The form of information that seems the most reliable would be the non-fiction books since there are many credited sources for the information and, like mentioned before, heavy hardcover books have the connotation of being sturdy and holding trustworthy information.

Part E.

List of Knowledge:

Experiential Knowledge (Knowing through direct experience): You can purify water by boiling it and collecting the condensation from the steam.

Procedural Knowledge (skills; “knowing how”): How to bake a cheesecake.

Knowledge Claim (“Knowing that”- tied to language): My mother’s favorite drink is green tea.

What type is the easiest to learn? What type tends to stick the longest?

I feel that the easiest knowledge to learn is “experiential knowledge “ since you know something from past experiences. In other words, it enforces the idea that you learn by doing. “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing the.” –Aristotle. To prove this, the example I gave for “experiential knowledge” is something I learned in 6th grade during camp, which has still stuck to me for all these years.

Part F.

From reading this article on the different styles of learning, I would say that the International Baccalaureate program is a combination of “constructivism” ((learning by developing a unique world view based on all experiences acquired) and “cognitivism “ (the mind and thought process is put at the center of the learning process). IB’s goal is to teach students how to apply the knowledge they learned to solve unfamiliar situations (cogintivism) as well as exposing the student to different culture and world view points in all subjects (constructivism).

            As stated previously, I feel that the most efficient way to learn is by doing, which is called “pragmatism.” Since I’m a kinesthetic learner, I retain information longer by creating or doing an activity that associates with the lesson.

Part G. 

Different Types of Memory

Procedural Memory: “The type of implicit memory that enables us to carry out commonly learned tasks without consciously thinking about them. “

Working Memory (A.K.A. Short-Term Memory): “A limited capacity part of the human memory system that combines the temporary storage and manipulation of information in the service of cognition.”

Long-Term Memory: “Storage of information over a long period of time.”

Declarative Memory: “Memories which can be consciously recalled such as facts and knowledge.”

Episodic Memory: “Our ability to recall personal experiences from our past.”

Part K.

What is the difference between being sincere and being right? What is the difference between making a false statement and lying?

Sincerity implies that the person had the best of intentions in what they were doing and was in no way trying to harm other people or the situation they’re involved in.

A false statement implies that the person was misinformed when talking about a certain subject and makes false claims based on what they “know” or assume. It’s a matter of being ignorant or unknowledgeable. It is completely different from lying in the sense that lying is usually an intentional act to hide the truth.

Part M.

How might emotion affect an artist or intuition affect a scientist?

Integrating one’s emotions in the creation of a piece of artwork is not an uncommon thing to do. Emotions can definitely affect an artist’s work significantly. In fact, most pieces of famous work with unique styles were a reflection of the emotions the artist was feeling at the time. Many people use art as an outlet to free their stress and worries, which is very well transferred on paper subconsciously. On the contrary, infatuation or extreme happiness is very easily seen in the painting. Emotion plays a major role in the masterpiece’s outcome. It can decide what colors the artist feels like using, or the subject. Art is a free form with no rules.

Just like how emotion is correlated with artists, intuition can affect a scientist as well. Scientists depend on their highly attuned minds to observe and create experiments to test out hypothesis. Despite how logical their minds may seem, it actually takes a lot of creativity to produce a meaningful hypothesis and a clever way to conduct the experiment. Intuition ties into a scientist’s work when very extraordinary “out of the blue” ideas come into mind. 

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