Is there a ‘right way’ to think and live?

Although China has had many violent periods in its history, there have not been wars fought in the names of the different belief systems that we have studied. The different ways of living (Buddhist, Daoist, Confucian) have coexisted peacefully and complemented one another.

Following from this, we discussed whether there is a ‘right way’ to think and live, which feels like an important question to ask at a time when London and many other parts of the world are subject to terrorist violence.

Here’s a selection of thoughts from the class. The general feeling seems to be ‘yes,’ there is a right and a wrong way, but not just one right way, an infinite number of possibilities – and the world is better for this diversity. As Faith says, difference is a good thing not bad.

Kaliyah. There are definitely right and wrong ways of thinking and some people have definitely passed the limit; they have started to do things that are totally unnecessary: terrorist attacks and killing. There is definitely not just one right and wrong way of living because everybody is different and their brain has developed differently. If we tried to make everyone the same we would fail because we aren’t all the same.

Sylvie. Different people have different backgrounds and different experiences and no-one is the same so why should we try to force people into thinking one idea, to one peephole on the world. Life is much richer if there are more possibilities. There is a line – you cannot accept racism, sexism, violence etc. – but the world is complex and one plane of understanding would be strange, almost inhuman as everyone’s different.

Jim. I believe there kind of is a right and a wrong way of thinking and living but I feel there should be more than one right way. But you should be free to think what you want to an extent. As long as you follow the basic rules of law and rights I feel that is the right way. No one is the same so everyone has a different interpretation of life. Jacob picks up the point about the role law, saying ‘Maybe in some ways all people are the same because of laws but if it wasn’t for laws there would be war at least once a year.’

Emily. There is no right way to understand the world. Everyone has different experiences, so everyone will believe different things because no two people are exactly the same. So if you take an extremist/terrorist and ask why are they like that, because people are not born wanting to kill, it is the people around them and their experiences who shape who they are.

Olivia. We all have different experiences, so having one right way of thinking and living is basically impossible, and it would make our world boring, and no-one would learn from their mistakes, making us unintelligent creatures who do only one thing.

Myah. I think that the wrong way is saying things like everyone should be the same and no-one should be individual, and the right way is persuading people to think for themselves.

Faith. There are 100,000,000,000 ways of thinking. Some people believe in monsters and spirits, some don’t. Different people believe in different things. It would be weird if everyone was alike in the world – our memories are different. Difference is a good thing not bad.

We’d normally stay away from politics on this blog, and President Trump does not get a good press from many in 6CM, but a post today from daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump, in response to the latest violence in London, feels helpful to our discussion.  She wrote: “Even if my neighbor doesn’t understand my religion or understand my politics, he can understand my story. If he can understand my story, then he’s never too far from me. It is always within my power to build a bridge. There is always a chance for reconciliation, a chance that one day he and I will sit around a table together and put an end to our history of clashes. And on this day, he will tell me his story and I will tell him mine.”

 

 

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Balance in life

Exploring what it might mean to find “balance” or “harmony” in our lives is at the heart of the study we are making of Chinese ways of thinking and living. Here are some very interesting opening thoughts from the class.

  • I think the balance is you can’t have too much of one thing but you need a little bit of everything. You also need to have a back-up plan for your normal plan because you don’t know what’s ahead of you. Life is full of surprises, so whatever the world throws at you, you have to go through it with courage.   Meshach
  • Your life shouldn’t be so dull and balanced [that it becomes] boring like a straight line. But it shouldn’t be too chaotic and erratic either. It should be up and down, with some scared moments and some happy ones.  Sarafina

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  • I think balance in life is not necessarily focusing on just one thing…. As humans, I think we don’t want chaotic lives but we don’t want perfectly sane ones either. Also we want a balance between work and play – we don’t want all-work-no-play lives, nor all-play-no-work ones, because we need balance in our lives.  Archie
  • I think that balance in life means you can’t have ups without downs, or downs without ups. And not everything is perfect. I also think it means if you want something you have to fight for it instead of just getting it. For example, if you want a future job you can’t just say you want it but you have to work your way up to it. Myah
  • I don’t believe the way of living life is as simple as “balance.” My view is probably not to shape life into an equal, samey life but to let it flow. Sylvie
  • You can’t aim for one thing because life is unpredictable so you need other plans. You can’t always be angry, you need happiness as well. You can’t only look at your views, you have to look at the other person’s argument… You can’t only look at yourself, you need to realise there are other people, and that you have to learn and care about others as well as yourself.  Gabriel
  • I think you need balance in life to have a happy life because you always need an opposite like fire and water – you need water to put out the fire. Ignas
  • To be healthy you need to be even in your mind and spirit.  Faith
  • Everyone has a different balance because everyone likes and needs different things.
    Emily

World War II

We’ve begun by discussing the lead up to the Second World War.  We used this video as a prompt: Lead up to World War II  (a little wordy, and might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but worth a look).  We also watched  footage of Neville Chamberlain’s ‘peace in our time’ speech and listened to his subsequent Declaration of war

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Then we asked the children to write a little about what they already know about World War II and, more importantly, what they want to know.  They came up with extraordinarily deep questions, some of which we will try to explore in subsequent weeks.

On understanding war and the morality of war

  • Why did a species turn on itself? (Daisy) 
  • I want to know why people wanted to kill each other when they could have a world of peace.    Why were people OK to “accidentally” bomb houses of innocent people? (Olivia)
  • Why do we have to be so cruel to our own kind?  How could we be so stupid to kill countries for six years? (Sarafina)
  • What was the point of fighting.  Do we get anything out of it?  (Nathan)
  • Why was it so inhuman? (Wayne)
  • Why we couldn’t sort things out another way? (Nina)
  • How did the war spread around the world? Why? (Myah)
  • Will there be a World War III (Emily)

On Hitler, the Nazi Party and Germany

  • What triggered [some] Germans to be extremely cruel, killing machines?  (Archie)
  • Why did so many die just because of one person? (Sylvie)
  • And some very black humour from Sylvie: how many trees were used as death certificates?
  • If Hitler hadn’t died [and had won the war] what would he have done next?   (Tanya and Caspar)
  • We are all human.  Why did Hitler think Jews were so bad?  (Emily)
  • Which country killed more people: England or Germany?  (Archie)

On what life was like during the war, how the war affected the local area, and the role of women in wartime

  • How did families cope during the world war?  Where did families live and what did they eat?  (Nathan)
  • Why couldn’t women fight in war? (Olivia)   
  • What kinds of things did the women do? (Sylvie)
  • Was the local area bombed?  
  • What was our primary school doing in WW2.  (Sylvie)  
  • When did Rosendale Road get hit by a V2 rocket? (Faith)

Classifying the natural world

In science this week, we’ve studied the idea of scientific classification. Here’s Patrick’s write up of our class attempt at classifying the natural world.

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Faith suggested a dotted line between living and non-living because the remains of animals and plants are preserved in fossils. Perhaps wooden objects cross over in the same way. And to complicate things further, we talked about how boundaries between living and non-living may blur as artificial life develops.

We also spent a pleasant half-hour in the nature garden, sketching different organisms and plants and then classifying them into the five animal kingdoms etc. Here are Olivia’s sketches and some photos.

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Roald Dahl at 100

To mark the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth, the children wrote reflections, in independent learning, about what he has meant to them so far in their young lives.  Here are thoughts we enjoyed from Faith, Zeca, Nell, Jim and Sylvie – d0 add your own.

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Faith.  Roald Dahl was an extremely creative person.  He had a great spirit and soul.  Even now he lives on for some people.  His books make hundreds of children and adults laugh. He has written over 50 books!  Children love his books.  They’re full with joy, laughter and sometimes sadness.  Even though he has died, he may live and breath among us until the end of time.

Zeca.  Roald Dahl is Roald Dahl: awesome, growth-minded, excellent, wonderful, creative, impressive, hard working, undescribable.

Nell.  I think all of his books are wonderful.  They make me laugh.  They make me sad. And they make me want to keep on reading all night.

Jim.  To me, Roald Dahl means many hours of great childhood memories…. I think of dark, rainy nights with my light on reading.

Sylvie.  Roald Dahl is a source of crazy words!  His world is crazy…. and you could call it BIG like what goes on in his stories.  Roald Dahl is a phizzwhizzing author!