Precepts to use in everyday life

1. Think for yourself, 2. Be yourself, 3. Speak up, 4. Feel free to agree and disagree, 5. Be honest with yourself and others, 6. Be open-minded, 7. Avoid being judgmental and 8. Question everything - even your own thinking.

TOK Essay Titles Nov 2019

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


The Arts/Economics

November : Q1 Can we have beliefs/knowledge independent of culture? Q4 What counts as knowledge in the arts ?

Click on the link to hear a clip of Rebecca Ferguson’s song ‘Nothing’s real but love’:

Let’s just look at the chorus lines a little more closely:

“No money, no house, no car, is like love...
It don't fill you up
It won't build you up
It won't fill you up
It's not love!

And nothing's real but love

No money, no house, no car, is like love...”

A fairly commonplace sentiment and quite overused in pop songs over the last decades, so at the risk of taking things too literally, just what does Ms Ferguson proclaim to know? That love is more valuable, more real, than material things? That love gives meaning to all those other things? Whose love? What sort of love? More ‘real’ or ‘valuable’ in what sense? In the best tradition of knowledge claims, the lyrics raise a greater number of knowledge issues than provide answers.

Now let’s juxtapose beside the song an extract from another literary work of art – a counter point to the sentiment that love is of greater value than money. It’s Francisco’s ‘money speech’ in the novel Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. You can listen to the extract here:

Here’s a corresponding sequence of lines:

“…To love a thing is to know and love its nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men. It's the person who would sell his soul for a nickel, who is the loudest in proclaiming his hatred of money – and he has good reason to hate it. The lovers of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it.” ( (August, 2012) )

There’s a complete reversal of the song lyric Implied by these statements about money, in both are embedded cultural ideas from which we cannot escape.  Can you formulate these in the form of searching knowledge issues?

A more interesting question is this: which belief do you find more compelling? Or, where does each belief lie in the scale of Believing Bullshit?

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