Summer SAVY 2016 (Session 1, Day 1) – In the Mind’s Eye: Truth vs. Perception
SAVY Day 1 Blog Post:
Truth vs. Perception
“The truth will set you free.” “Ignorance is bliss.” “Only trust what you see with your own eyes.” “Perception is reality.” As we kicked off our Truth vs. Perception class, we began by interrogating our underlying beliefs about these topics; students moved around the room to show whether they strongly agreed, agreed, disagreed, or strongly disagreed with statements such as those listed above. In the discussions that followed, they justified their stances, leading to a broader discussion of the definitions of some of our key words and of the big questions underlying our topic this session. Students brought up some really interesting ideas—for instance, asking questions like: how is reality constructed by our senses? Is reality the same thing as truth? How can we compare our perceptions to those of people around us in the search for a collective truth?
After this discussion, we transitioned into a lesson about M.C. Escher and optical illusions. After looking at several optical illusions, the students discussed how they reflected the ways in which the perception of the images was not necessarily the reality of them. This sparked a discussion about subjective and objective truths and how they operated in relation to one another. Before lunch, some students tried their hands at impossible images, while others wrote reflections on an experimental Escher drawing.
Later in the day, we covered Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. The students read the story and drew what they think the cave looked like to help them get a sense of the scene Plato was describing. After sharing their drawings with the class, the students were asked to act out the allegory in small groups. After establishing how the reality of the prisoners differed from the reality of the world, students were able to create and illustrate their own stories, applying the concept of perception and reality to a different creative context. Ideas included a bird escaping from its cage and a family who only experienced the outside world through television. To wrap up the day, they students took the key words on the idea wall and added words or phrases under them that they had learned or came to mind.
Tomorrow, we look forward to moving an a literary direction to start thinking about how these concepts apply to cultural traditions and artistic vision.