A day in the life of…

A day in the life of…
Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, Around 43 BC.

I only arrived this week from abandoning my studies in Apollonia and having to sail across the Adriatic sea, now I guess I’m called Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus; it’s so crazy to think that someone like me humbly born of the plebeian Gens Octavia; though, granted my father was wealthy, could ever gain such an established status within the Roman republic. The jet lag is still taking its toll though, and in some ways I miss the calmer atmosphere of Apollonia – Rome is hectic. This morning I just made a quick sacrifice to Jupiter, then took my new chariot for a ride into the market for some elderflowers, rosemary, betony and lime flowers – just the essentials for my headache remedy. Everyone in the market-place went wild – which didn’t help my headache. I was just leaning over to buy a bunch of grapes, when the man selling them at the stall just tossed them at me, shouting ‘Divus Iulius’. It’s going to take a while to get used to this respect, but I can live with it. Thanks again Caesar.
When I came home, I had an epiphany while recling in the triclinium. I realised I have my maternal great Uncle Julius Caesar to thank for my new social status within the Republic. Therefore, I can only see it as right to use it to avenge him and restore stability to the Republic – it’s what Rome needs, and what Caesar would have wanted.
I’m going to meet Mark Antony in person later today, after my slaves finish preparing the dinner. Today it’s oysters with garum, then some bread, cheese and grapes of course for after. But I’m not certain of Mark’s intentions, after all he didn’t punish the conspirators for what they did to Caesar – I might have to change that. And from the letters I have received from him, he certainly doesn’t consider me a political threat, which I guess is lucky for me but I’m still only 18, I have my whole life ahead of me and much of the Roman populace support me already, so maybe he should reconsider his preconceptions.
But we’ll see how the meeting goes and I’ll keep you updated.

Valete for now xvilla of livia[Painted Garden, ‘Villa of Livia’ (wife of Augustus in 39 BC) fresco, 30-20 B.C.E.]

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Christ’s Hospital Fails To Inspire Creative Thinking:

This is a very interesting question for me, personally, as I have experienced the education system at Christ’s Hospital first-hand for 6 years now. ‘Creative thought’ is defined as a way of looking at problems or situations from a fresh perspective that suggests unorthodox solutions, it can be stimulated both by an unstructured process and by a structured process such as lateral thinking. Before discussing this question, it has to be acknowledged primarily, that any school or educational conservatoire, to a certain extent, fails at encouraging ‘creative thinking’; as, by definition, the teaching of the syllabus is a specific course, which directs any thought into its definitions of concepts; by thinking ‘creatively’ you must be free to think without limits and sometimes even logic, an environment not necessarily easily created within a structured syllabus. With this taken into account, Christ’s hospital, in my opinion does the best it can, while satisfying what is asked from academic qualifications asked from them. These qualifications require that specific things be learnt and memorised in most cases, so by offering subjects such as religion and world view at such an early age; which doesn’t require a grade or memorising anything, it is entirely dedicated to encouraging thought from the pupils by discussion and examining thoughts from philosophers and various other ‘free- thinkers’ about the real world to which we can all directly relate, independent from the curriculum, Christ’s Hospital demonstrates they hold value for free thought and put time and attention into installing ‘creative-thinking’ within its pupils. Additionally, subjects like Drama, Art and Music are held equally valuable as any other subject, and the resources given to these departments are respectable. Therefore, it can be argued that, and in my opinion, Christ’s Hospital doesn’t fail at inspiring creative thinking, as although it isn’t entirely focused on it and every so often, teaches in a way that doesn’t inspire free thinking – this is justified by the fact that it is held to account by the universal education system which requires specific qualifications and knowledge in definite areas, and without satisfying this, the course, universities and any sort of business place, will see you as insufficiently educated. Lastly, as these courses and syllabuses are so dense, not much time is left for ‘creative thought’, Christ’s Hospital still attempts to inspire it through reading sessions of any book you choose a period every week for English up to GE. By offering the IB, Christ’s Hospital shows value for independent thought, as this is what the IB focuses on, and the worth of learning for yourself – making students more independent, responsible and ultimately encouraging them to think creatively.gather-ye-rosebuds-while-ye-may-1909[‘Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May’, oil painting on canvas, 1909, John William Waterhouse]

 

My First Experiences Of TOK

Recently, I experienced my first TOK lesson (as many know a vital component of the IB) setting aside the time to over-think about questions that can never truly be decided upon, or proven, seems like a futile venture. As students, many are taught that questioning is good, and allows you to learn things in a more profound and proactive manner. However; creating a whole subject centred upon questioning seems like taking it a little too far, and somewhat adverse in comparison to the way I have been learning previously in my life. After all, isn’t the point of sixth-form education about learning subjects in more detail – not categorically dismembering core values we thought we could hold to be true?

What is the point of questioning the meaning of life? Rhetorical questions fuelled by the fact that TOK has made me unsure of everything. But the benefits of TOK, in my opinion, are that it is a unique and intermittent opportunity to think deeply and understand our lives more, and though we may never reach a simple and comprehensive conclusion, the process of questioning is the part that makes us become more thoughtful and aware people, it is what is so crucially beneficial in learning to live our lives in a more meaningful and prolific way, not just to accept facts and beliefs fed to us, in doing this we inquire into the nature of knowledge itself and attempt to think more critically.

It can seem overwhelming and unnecessary to think about such substantial questions after quadruple periods of Latin; but one thing I have learned, is that the art of questioning is not about confounding already difficult questions, but to think about them in their purest and simplest form, in order to clarify our motives and purposes for living in the most beneficial way possible. I had to take the time to adjust to this type of critical mindset, being so used to previously solely being spoon-fed facts and having to remember them as a statement, not a belief I could consider truly as knowledge – defined as a justified belief, the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. This is the distinction between remembering facts and ‘knowing’ things; consequently, in my opinion, TOK guides students down the path of analytical thinking, and deepens our understanding of knowledge as a ‘human construction’ – by doing this, a new value is bestowed upon education, it becomes not only a necessary means of getting into a good university etc. but a path of becoming a more satisfied and sentient people, furthermore, becoming people who are capable of becoming genuine individuals in a sense of being capable of independent thought.

“An unexamined life is not worth living”, published in “Plato’s apology”, around 399 BC.

cropped-botticelli-primavera-resized-600[‘Primavera’, panel painting in tempera paint, Sandro Botticelli, dates to 1470s or early 1480s]