What Matters to Me
A Year 10 RAVE Project
“Whether they are conscious or not, people live by a core idea, or set of ideas.”
- John Armstrong
As part of the Department’s commitment to Visible Learning undertaken by the School in all disciplines, the Year 10 cohort have undertaken as the endpoint of first Semester’s work in Philosophy and Ethics, to articulate their world view or ‘Weltanschauung’, which in the German adopted into the English simply means, “the way I look at the world”.
Each student in each of the five classes (along with their teachers) will write their views in less than 25 words on a long calico sheet. Mine will be: I believe and shall practise to the best of my ability: faith, hope and love in all I think, say and do (1 Corinthians 13).
In his chapter ‘God , Metaphor, and the Language of the Hemispheres’, Iain McGilchrist, Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Research Fellow in neuroimaging (among many other roles), makes the point that not all knowledge is propositional in nature, and that in fact all knowledge derives from experience—embodied experience. He also makes the point that what we attend to, what we think is important, what we think matters determines the way we see the world. He observes:
Attention changes what kind of a thing comes into being for us: in that way it changes the world.
(Religion, Language, and the Human Mind,
edited by Paul Chilton and Monika Kopytowska, Oxford, 2018), 138.
From a neurological standpoint, attention actually changes who we are, we who are doing the attending. McGilchrist drawing on the latest findings based on mirror neurons, goes even further with this astonishing claim—that our attending to someone else performing an action and even by thinking about them doing so, we become objectively, measurably like them, in how we behave, think and feel. Attention, in effect, brings into being a whole world of its own, and with it, depending on what it is, a set of values.
That’s why it matters. And that is why the project will be an on-going project. The calico sheet is long enough to contain the names of and views of several generations of students and teachers, and so will provide a record of how our world view might change over time.