I chose Lady Gaga‘s Born This Way as I believe it teaches about knowledge of self.
This is a particular topical argument in this day and age where people feel pressurised from many angles. How do we know how we are supposed to behave or dress like? Is there even such thing as a sense of self? Newspapers and magazines are constantly telling us what to wear, how to look and to some extent what to think. Lady Gaga’s lyrics include the phrase ‘I’m beautiful in my own way, because God makes no mistakes’. To me this is a vital message to everyone especially teenagers all over the world. The media portray a negative image of how teenagers are. TOK poses the question ‘How do we know who we are?’ And many people’s answer is what the government, magazines or friends have conditioned them to believe. Does this menan we have no sense of self? For example: Can people be born homosexual? In the 21stcentury it seems like the answer to that question is no. With many (commonwealth) countries still HANGING people because of the sexual orientation and many young teenagers committing suicide due to bullying about being gay.
Personally I believe Born This Way is a beautifully written song that encapsulates the fact
that many of us have lost our sense of self as we feel like it doesn’t feel right to be unique.
When we first were told that we had to do TOK I immediately shrugged my shoulders. I thought it was a thing on the side that wouldn’t require too much mental exercise. I think everyone was hit with a blow when Mr Saha said that if we fail TOK and the extended essay we would therefore in turn fail the IB.
To me this was not funny.
Suddenly a minor ‘thing on the side’ became a matter of pass or fail. That would mean that all the hard work over the two years and initial risk taking would all be over and amplified by the sound of A-level students in hysterics.
After Mr Saha had set us the prep to read the introduction and chapter 1 of the textbook, I was surprisingly intrigued. In theory it sounded like any teachers heaven, to shift students away from this obsession with As and A*, university places and additions to their CV. Personally I found this hard to grasp. After months (if not years) of being spoon fed and told to ALWAYS trust the teacher and the textbook we were being told to actually think on our own feet. WOW! If only I had not got so used this system and religiously memorised the definition of numerous words from textbooks maybe I wouldn’t find grasping the concept of TOK so hard.
However, I am hugely looking forward to the two years ahead and will hopefully at the end be able to state my own opinion without having to feel hesitant that it is invalid or has less authority than my teacher or a smartly-dressed Cambridge graduate.