Tok Essay

Words: 1742
Pages: 7

To what extent do personal attributes affect Ways of Knowing, and why, if at all, does answering this question matter in the first place? It is known that there are four means through which human beings acquire knowledge of their surroundings; the ways of reason, emotion, sense perception and language. However, are these entirely reliable? Different individuals possess different opinions of concepts and ideas, and this has not only been the reason of many conflicts and wars but has aided in, for instance, the diversity of art. The reason for this variation in thought can be due to the personal attributes of these individuals as opposed to others. A personal attribute is a ‘characteristic quality or feature of a person or thing’1 …show more content…
A Hindu proverb states that if you ‘conquer your passions’ you will ‘conquer the world,’7 and a psychology film says that ‘we are emotions and emotions are us.’8 Yet, an emotion itself consists of ‘various internal feelings and external forms of behavior, and it can vary in intensity.’7 Emotions can be distorted by sense perception just like sense perception can be changed by emotion, due to the undeniable correlation between the four ways of knowing. However, it can also be affected by, say, experiences, age, gender, culture, between other attributes. An example of how experience can affect emotion is the case of PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder – ‘an anxiety disorder that may develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which severe physical harm occurred or was threatened.’9 Along with this disorder, as well, many other emotional mental illnesses are said to be triggered by traumatic events, complicated childhoods or motherly negligence, and generally a combination of this and genetics – which would be a biological factor, also counting as a personal attribute – will cause depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, as stated in the Diathesis-Stress Model. Culture also affects emotion widely – for example, the society in the United States is more individualistic whereas the one in China is more collectivist, and therefore people in the United States feel less connected to others and thus less empathy with them (resulting in the high rates of