In the Philosophy Main Lesson in Class 12 we discuss what Philosophy has meant through the ages. We explore the different philosophical branches – logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and aesthetics – and schools of thought, beginning with the Logical arguments of the Ancient Greek philosophers, moving through the Scholastics and Mystics of the Medieval Period, into the self-realisation of Humanism that emerged during the Renaissance. We then explore the Rationalism and Empiricism of the Age of Enlightenment and eventually the Idealism of the 19th Century concluding with Modern Philosophy’s interest in Existentialism and Language.
The students prove to be keenly interested in the Big Questions and tackle them by presenting to the class Socratic arguments around whether the world is in fact ‘real’, whether God exists, what makes up personal identity and where we can find meaning in our lives, amongst other meaty debates.
We also touch on Eastern schools of thought as articulated by Confucius, Lao Tzu, Buddha and Rumi. We explore Goethe’s “Faust” as a good example of a philosophical tale. Each student chooses a film from a viewing list and answers questions in writing that probe its philosophies & presents this along with their own philosophy that they had to develop through research and self-reflection.
Here are some extracts from this year’s Class 12 Personal Philosophy Essays:
“We are on this earth for whatever reason, let us make the most of our time. Be kind and honest and be the best person you can be. Love – in this way your soul can grow. You have the opportunity to be a part of a beautiful thing that is life. We have choice and knowledge. Find joy and also embrace sadness. Help others to realize their potential. Smile and be grateful.”
“Live outdoors – experience this world and the people in it. Your mindset has a huge influence on your day to day life – if you truly believe something, it will become true for you. So believe in good and that you can do anything. Live simply, try not to surround yourself with superficial things. Choose simplicity and you will enjoy it, I promise you. Only eat what you are prepared to kill. Face your food and give it thanks. Eat from the Earth, not from the shops.”
“Let us start with emptying ourselves. Let us rid ourselves of all thoughts. Clear the tangled child’s scribble of conception and let your mind become tabula rasa. Picture a blank page, a void of possibilities. Let us not think in a straight line. The mind is a tree with branches and roots in all directions. Let thoughts and emotions come to you, embrace you; and then let them go. Empty your cup and start afresh.”
“It really is impossible to verify anything but your own consciousness. Everyone else is possibly unconscious regions of my mind that I cannot consciously reach. This life is one big intricate dream in which I am the dreamer.”
“The more still you are, the more you can hear and the better you can feel and understand the people around you. We always need to be careful of what we say, we should speak to people as if we were speaking to ourselves. I mean to say we should love and nurture one another. The sweetest and easiest thing to achieve is happiness. It is all up to you. This Main Lesson has taught me a great deal about myself, the world, other people and existence itself. I feel much more grounded now.”
“To love is my religion, to be kind is my virtue and to treat all as equals is an act of God’s own will. This life is a set of stepping stones in a river filled with rapids. We are tested to maneuver and overcome this problematic path, the challenge is not to get pulled by the current. It is never too late to cleanse ourselves of murky waters and stand in the light of spiritual enlightenment.”
“I believe that I am here on this Earth for a reason. Live life like it’s the first and last day of your life and be positive because regret only leads to guilt. Taking care of others is important. We are not all going to change the world but we can help and inspire others.”
“If we are truly in control of our lives surely we would only want good things to happen to us and our loved ones. We could say that what happens is fate or that if we’ve lived past lives they influence our current life or that it’s ‘God’s plan.’ Live your life like you only have one life to live and do your best to be good.”