This is my penultimate Food for Thought for this academic year. It is a post that I have been planning to write since the departure of Chester Bennington and going through my decision making process about next year. The death this week of Anthony Bourdain was the "final ingredient" that made me want to share. I hope that it makes you think about how you are living your life, what you are doing to encourage your students to live their lives by making the most of the opportunity they have been given. As part of our mission, the Achievement Culture encourages ' kind words.' These words are not just about encouraging students to do better but also guiding them to live a better life. This is linked to our definition of empowerment and giving students the tools they need to take control of their lives. To do this we all need to be reflective ourselves and to develop our own practices that ensure we are in control of our thoughts and emotions.
I have been doing a lot of reading this year, searching for inspiration and answers to how we live our lives. Jordan Peterson's book, 12 Rules for Life, An Antidote to Chaos, made me think very deeply about many things, including how I have been living my life. This is why my advice to the Graduation Class of 2018 focused on life involving suffering and how important it is for us to accept this and use it to create a deeper understanding of ourselves and from this create happiness in our lives.
"As a human, you are not able to avoid suffering, so you need to be aware and learn from it, and let it teach you about the future. What matters is how you approach this suffering and use it to develop your inner strength, friendships, and mindsets. How you deal with suffering will determine your ability to enjoy happiness in your future lives............life without pain and suffering means that the pleasure and happiness you enjoy is merely that given to you, whereas through pain and suffering you will seek a more profound happiness beyond the limitations of the material world."
Hence, I want to share with you a video that I hope will provoke you to think about life. It does not answer all our questions but it should provide you with further evidence that our goal to provide students with tools and time to be in the present at least for 10 minutes everyday is very important. This video is an extract from a much longer talk by Sam Harris an outstanding modern thinker. In this enlightening talk he stresses the importance of consciousness.
"What matters is consciousness and its contents. It is consciousness that is everything;our experience of the world, our experience of those we care about. It is all a matter of consciousness and its content. So whatever the origin of consciousness, the most important question for us is how can we truly be fulfilled in life? How can we create lives that are truly worth living given that these lives come to an end?"
This 9 minute video will make you think and might stir emotions, so please be in the the right frame of mind before you watch and listen. You should also give yourself some time to reflect during or after about what you are hearing and use it to think about how you are maximizing your time in the present and your impact upon our ISHCMC students.
Have a good Sunday,
PS. If you have time, this 8 minute video links this post to next weeks thinking on AI. It explores consciousness and the question of its uniqueness to humans. This then raises ethical questions related to how we treat, and farm animals. But also could extend to AI in the future as we face the dilemma regarding rights associated with AI as it becomes ever more sophisticated. I chose this video to share because it uses film to explore consciousness and next year we are expanding film in the MYP, introducing it in the IB Diploma film and hosting the Across Asian Student Film Festival at ISHCMC. As you will see, many of our Science Fiction movies create robots that are instilled with a human version of consciousness but will this be the reality or does it just reflect our own struggle to truly understand what is consciousness?