"In areas of knowledge such as the arts and the sciences, do we learn more from work that follows or that breaks with accepted conventions?"
“In areas of knowledge such as the arts and the sciences, do we learn more from work that follows or that breaks with accepted conventions?”
There are many areas in which we may attain knowledge of the arts and sciences. In many cases, it is the knowledge from accepted conventions, which we learn from and develop for stronger understandings in what society has acclaimed to. In such, we assimilate the knowledge at hand and further it for practical purposes that permit a larger understanding in what we determine to be the truth. As well, there are the ideas and sources of knowledge that break away from conformed thoughts and introduce new realms, which have not yet been explored. In this, we settle for a new resolution that offers a new perspective, rather than the predetermined principles widely accepted by society. The knowledge in both these areas is obtained through ones own awareness and familiarity in ones own experiences. Thus, the knowledge is developed through ones own interrelated experiences and affliction with the world in itself.
The main purpose here is to determine in which case we learn more and attain more knowledge. In breaking accepted conventions, one may delve into a new phenomenon, which rejects and questions society’s current perception. As well, this may become the new thought process in society opening a door to many new possibilities with this new type of thinking. All major breakthroughs in the scientific and artistic world have begun with a new realm of thinking. When Isaac Newton introduced the laws of gravitation, this completely revolutionized the way of thinking for people. With his basis of thinking, he changed the way society absorbed the at the time ludicrous concept that planets orbited the sun. Without this fundamental theory, humanity would not reach the same scientific explanation and conclusions of current day. In the artistic world, Vincent Van Gogh was the first artist to use “Expressionism”, which is the distortion of reality to create an enhanced dramatic effect. This impacted the artistic populace by enlightening them to an innovative and creative perception of art which now goes by the common name: “modern art”. With these theories it opened the horizons to humanity teaching them of alternate methods of looking at conventional topics. In my English and Theory of Knowledge classroom, it is very fascinating to see the variation of opinions and interpretations amongst every student willing to emancipate their opinions. When a teacher introduces a topic or question to the class, there are many viewpoints with most students concluding to similar reasoning. However, the most impacting opinions are those that separate from the general consensus of the class. These opinions offer a discrete outlook on the same topic, which ponders the moralities and ethics of society.
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In the scientific world today, the most renowned and studied events in science are those that thoughts that separate themselves from the general societies way of thinking. When Albert Einstein concocted the theory of Special Relativity, this defied the common logic and assumption which society placed upon gravity. With this new style of thinking, his name has been evoked for generations, for we attain much knowledge from his absurd way of thinking. The knowledge that we obtain is through our interrelations with the world and our ability to question and pursue the truth, which is condemned by society. When we query the truth in society, we are able to segregate subjective thinking in civilization. As well, we are able to construct a greater understanding of the scientific and artistic approaches which society undergoes. Christopher Columbus is a crucial example of breaking away from the general thoughts of society. When the world alleged that the world was flat, he defied this proposal with his own theory of it being spherical. With his experience of a navigator, he was able to prove society wrong and change the scientific view of the earth for many years to come. Columbus’ ability to question the moralities and standards of society is what taught the world, in the realms of science, that the world was evidently spherical.
Jean Jacques Rousseau, a famous philosopher, was a strong believer in the idea that ones experience was much more value than a definitive answer. He said, “The person who has lived the most is not the one who has lived the longest, but the one with the richest experiences”. With this statement, he is saying that most value in life is of ones experiences, not the fact that they’ve lived it for a long time. When someone breaks the accepted conventions in society and fails to appeal it to humanity, it may not cause a breakthrough, however, they are able to learn from their misconceptions and reinforce the current way of thinking. Learning from one’s mistakes allows us to understand in full retrospect why society functions a certain way, rather than simply accepting it. In the International Baccalaureate Program, we are taught to create design labs, which is creating a lab from scratch. This is done pre-concededly, so the students are able to be innovative and create labs from scratch. When one has a fault in a lab, they are able to pinpoint this error, and record it in their error analysis. This thinking permits students to identify their sources of mistakes, which allows them to learn more efficiently. The same idea is done with the hypothesis and our conclusions, where we use our background knowledge and insight to predict, and according to the outcomes and experience in the lab, we conclude in a different manner. With these experiences in a certain issue, one is able to learn more about the scientific and artistic world, and understand the fundamentals in why we think and work in a certain way. The knowledge that we obtain is through our interrelations with the world, and our questioning of why certain things appear the way they do.
When we follow knowledge of accepted conventions, we are able to understand clearly the idea behind the scientific theory and relate it to the world today. This relation allows us to improve the world, and use the scientific means for purposes that help humanity. Everyday professions, such as doctors, use their scientific knowledge about the anatomy of the human body to guide and assist the average person in society. With this, they have learned what society accepts as true, in the context of science and are able to reinforce it by teaching it in their everyday profession. Furthermore, when we break the conventions in society, our theories may not be explained correctly or accepted by society. In this scenario there is no breakthrough in the scientific and artistic world, where one may be better off learning from societies already developed ideas rather than creating their own philosophies.
In society, a common misconception in humans is to search for an objective answer, which may not always be possible. Within these realms, it is important to identify that our truth is within a context of our interpretation. When humanity breaks apart from society’s conventions, we are able to question the context which we are placed in that offers a prominent learning experience, comparative to following the regimented conventions of society. At the same token, the Knower should be aware of the conventions of society. If one is to question the scientific or artistic world, they must be aware of the current conventions to question. As well, a better understanding and further analysis may be concocted through inquisitive thinking. We must not exquisitely take the views of society; instead use our own reasons and interpretations to evaluate the truth. Breaking apart from convention allows individuals to utilize their own experience and reason, which offers a larger learning value than of conformity.