IB Retreat Reflection

The IB Retreat has been a very inspiring and enjoyable experience, that has helped me understand more about (most notably) certainty, university, and the IB. Through a mere two days I feel as if a lot more doors of opportunity for meeting challenges and finding passions have opened up to me, and I am certainly now much more confident in facing the IBDP.

The first session, TOK and Certainty, was one of my favourite sessions. I have to admit that the usual TOK classes confused me, and sometimes leaving me feeling unsatisfied. This multi-faceted approach to a TOK topic was different in a good way, bringing a lot of potential avenues of thought with it. I especially enjoyed the discussion of Ren√© Descartes’ method of doubt, and the origins of ‘cogito ergo sum’; the interactive exploration of doubt and certainty in this manner was most intriguing and engaging- it seemed, at once, an exploration of not only doubt, but the self as well. How does one know where one’s thoughts come from? How does one define existence? These were all questions I was compelled to explore; ultimately, I also learned the importance of questioning facts or knowledge that I am presented with.

Another highlight of the days was the screening of 12 Angry Men. A black and white movie from 1957, I would consider it a ‘hidden treasure’ for people of my generation; I thought the film was thoroughly well worth watching, but would remain undiscovered by people from my technocentric age due to its being black and white. In terms of content, I have always found myself intrigued by the logical processes in reaching for a conclusion; this has been true ever since I learned about the Socratic method (interestingly, from a game). I have equally enjoyed taking apart¬†arguments by pointing out fallacies (though, as one of the TOK sessions suggested, I may merely be obsessed with ‘always being right’). Thus the film appealed to me greatly, which was helped by an amazing script and cast. The gradual convincing of every member of the jury over the course of the film- either by logic or by pointing out fallacies- was brilliantly orchestrated, and afterwards I reflected upon my own fallacies in reasoning, and the ease at which one can fall into a logical trap of sorts. The two characters I admired the most were jurors #4 and #8- #8 for his perseverance and careful re-examination of the case, and #4 for adhering to logic as opposed to riding the bandwagon, and not feeling offended when his point was proven unreliable, merely accepting what logically must be true.

Overall, the IB Retreat has been simultaneous a most stimulating and relaxing experience that made me think more, as well as deeper, all the while challenging my basest beliefs, though building them back up afterwards. I enjoyed the Retreat a lot and I would definitely do it again.

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