Your Life on Earth: Philosophizing Purpose and Place in The 21st Century
This project was about finding our place on Earth, our purpose, and our personal philosophy of life. For me, I focused most on the aspect of my philosophy of the meaning of life, and the philosophies that I believed to be true. I really enjoyed the personal philosophy statements that we wrote before our projects, and so I based my project around my personal philosophy statement. I really liked what I wrote about in my personal philosophy statement, and I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted to do more for my writing piece, so I took the format of my statement and used it as a base. Then I elaborated on it, and made it into multiple smaller writing pieces that I felt represented me as a person and what I believe to be true, and important in life. Then, for my visual piece, I decided to take pictures, and gather old pictures that I had that I felt represented what I was saying in my writing pieces. I did a lot of brainstorming first, deciding what kinds of pictures I could take that would represent each piece that I wrote about, and then I went out and took pictures, and gathered pictures from my phone, and family photo albums. I chose photography because I don’t like traditional art like drawing and painting. I am not a very creative person, and I am not a good artist but I still wanted to find something that was visually appealing to an audience, so I decided on photography because I think that taking pictures is fun, and it was a way to express art in a non traditional way. This unit was very eye-opening for me. Before we discussed these topics, and went in depth with this unit, I had never even thought about what my personal philosophy of the meaning of life was. I had never thought hard enough about my life, and my purpose was to even have any idea of what I thought the meaning of life was. Throughout this unit, I learned about many terms and philosophies that I had never heard of before, and some that I had heard of but knew very little about. I connected with some philosophies instantly, and knew that I thought and valued in the ways that were being explained, and others I disregarded immediately because they contradicted my personal beliefs. For example, transcendentalism was my very favorite philosophy that we discussed. It is definitely not a simple topic. Transcendentalism has many aspects under one umbrella. I connected to the philosophies of nature and individuality but God and religion also make an appearance under the umbrella of transcendentalism, and I shied away from that aspect very quickly because that is not how I was raised and that is not how my belief system was created. We read a reading about transcendentalism in class, and that is where I originally picked up on the concept of transcendentalism, and I carried all the way through the unit into my personal philosophy statement, and my final project. Another philosophy that I attached to was existentialism. I had previously heard about an existential crisis, and I knew the context in which this word was used but I did not know the true meaning of existentialism. Once I learned more about it, and we watched Harold and Maude, I knew that I had felt this feeling before. Throughout my childhood I have often sat around thinking about the world and when I go really deep into thought, I start to wonder what the point of life is when we just have to do the same thing over and over again until we die. I also wondered if the world that we live in is real because this could all be a hallucination in my mind, and how in the world could I know if this is real, but that is a very long tunnel that I could go down, and I chose not to continue down the tunnel out of fear that I could get stuck thinking about this topic. However, I am very intrigued by existentialism, and I chose to represent it in my personal philosophy and final project.
This project has forced me to be more aware and more interested in the philosophy of human life, and the world that is going on around me. It has made me a more curious person, and I plan to continue addressing my curiosities about the world and my purpose in life as they arise. At this point, I am not sure exactly how I will continue with my newfound awareness of my personal philosophy of life, but I am sure that transcendentalism and existentialism will make future appearances in my life, and I now have the knowledge to understand, and address it. I think that this unit was very beneficial for me as a student who will be entering the real world soon, and I am glad that we had the chance to study such deep topics.
Final Project: My Photo Album and Written Piece
My Personal Philosophy Statement
“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.” - David Viscott This quote resonates with me because I don’t have a fully developed philosophy of the meaning of life yet, I am still in the first stage of the quote, finding my gift, but this quote acts as a roadmap to finding the meaning in life through helping others.
I am someone who adopts elements of many different philosophies. In the process of finding my gift, and discovering the meaning of my life, I can borrow from other philosophies that make sense to me. For example, Many of the principles of transcendentalism resonate with me. I find a lot of meaning in the idea of nature as a source of inspiration. I have spent a lot of time in nature throughout my childhood, and I absolutely love it. Nature is peaceful and calming, and I believe that everyone should connect with nature during their life because it is an experience unlike any other. Nature provides us with rocks to climb, oceans, lakes, and rivers to swim in, canyons to explore, mountains to climb, and beautiful skies to gaze at. It truly is my biggest inspiration. Another principle of transcendentalism that I pull from for my personal philosophy is self reliance and individuality. I believe that in order to give your life meaning and find happiness, you need to be your true self and forget about trying to fit into the boxes of societal norms. You can waste your entire life trying to be normal, or doing what society tells you to do. I believe that in order to truly experience life to its fullest extent, you have to let go of all opinions except your own, and let go of any hate, judgement, or stress, and then do whatever you feel that you are meant to do. I understand parts of the philosophy of existentialism. Sometimes, when I think really hard about the future, and the path that I am on, I start to adopt an existentialist point of view. I start to wonder what the point of life is when all we do is go to school, work and then die. Every day looks the same, and there is barely any time to do the things that we actually want to do with our lives. I start to feel disconnected from reality, to question if life is actually real or if this is just a dream. But ultimately, I continue on the path of life, doing my best to succeed so that I can open many doors of opportunity for myself, and the future that I want to have. I believe that my true purpose in life is to help people and make the world a better place. I believe that life is more than survival, it involves human connection, and love and happiness. In my future, I plan to develop my gift by going to college, and medical school, and eventually give my gift away through saving people as a doctor.