VSI and the ToK Life

Two things: 1) here is the link to the VSI guided reading questions you put in your Comp Book. Requests have been made suggesting that it might be easier to answer and organize your thoughts if you could see ll the questions gathered in one place. That seemed reasonable and appropriate, so here you are.

VSI Guided Questions

2) Here is a link to an article about the current Alex Honnold documentary, “Free Solo”. Alex is an extraordinary rock climber, specializing in climbing without a rope (“free-soloing”). The movie is both a riveting and beautiful account of his attempt to free-solo “El Capitan”, one of the largest and most iconic rock walls in the world. The article makes the case that he is living a radically truthful life. When I saw it last night, I thought of it as more of a “ToK life”. I was struck by his interrogation and investigation of what it means to truly, deeply live. I also couldn’t help but notice that he was an IB student in high school in Calif. and while he doesn’t call out ToK in specific, I am claiming it. So, look for yourself and see how someone lives their life. Here’s the link and the movie is at the Manor.

Alex Honnold and the Lived Life


Opinion | The Most Contrarian College in America – The New York Times

Frequently I think that ToK should resemble the description of St John’s in these two articles.

via Opinion | The Most Contrarian College in America – The New York Times

The most forward-thinking, future-proof college in America teaches every student the exact same stuff

A Caution About the Final

Too many people have asked me so I must not have made it as clear as I thought it was:


I will be checking the lists and using a different song for this project will dramatically affect your grade for the worse. Part of the last part of the course has been about encountering the other, the different, the foreign, so here is a chance to step out of your comfort zone. Enjoy it.

np: Seefeel “Filter Dub”

For those walking today – 3.14

via Dear National Rifle Association: We Won’t Let You Win. From, Teenagers. – The New York Times

and this

America has failed its kids on guns

and if you want to think about it in relationship to what counts as knowledge and who gets to decide what is knowledge, there is this – which might offer a suggestion for another approach as to what can start to be done

Congress has quashed research on guns


Mindfulness, Compassion, and the Olympics

I came across these two articles today and immediately thought of what we have been doing in class. Though from really different perspectives, they overlap a great deal and both of them speak directly to your lives. Treat yourself to a few minutes dedicated to yourself – slow down long enough to read them and perhaps ponder them a bit. Enjoy.

How to manage stress like an Olympic biathlete

The promise of compassion for stressed out teens

np: Thomas Brinkmann “Walk with Me”

Nuance in approaches to accessing knowledge

Following today’s conversation about nuance and “no-easy” answers follows these three articles which all address the ways in which knowledge is accessed. What results is complicated but significant. Enjoy.

via Why Can’t I Put My Smartphone Down? Here’s The Science : Shots – Health News : NPR

Reading and how it is taught (incorrectly)

America’s Real Digital Divide

np: “Losing My Edge” LCD Soundsystem

The intersection of ethics, science, and nature

Saw this yesterday and was greatly intrigued. It is easy to think that things will always be as they are now – some psychologists argue that is our default position. But in fact, nothing remains the same. So the question is, what to do about that? How to prepare for an ever-changing future?

Where those questions get really interesting is in the area of ethics. Here is one possible ethical response to an ever-changing future. And if you would like a more philosophical examination of this issue, then check out the pieces in your ToK Reader on pp. 303, 306, and 310.

And if you were looking for example ideas for your ToK Essay, you could do worse than this one

via No Children Because of Climate Change? Some People Are Considering It – The New York Times