It is often commented that there are differences between themes in Task A and Task B. Yes, it is true that Task A usually revolves around geopolitical issues (war, democracy, crime) and Task B surrounding personal and social topics (friendship, trust, love). Yet, having a broad philosophical idea can be applicable to both.
In fact, one can write on the same idea (as I did) on both tasks using the same structure. One set of examiners mark Task A, and another, Task B, so you won’t be penalised for repeating the same concepts between essays. By focusing only on one writing style, this allows you to be more consistent during your preparation and more confident during the exam. See why philosophy writing can be so effective. Sample the below tasks from a student who scored 80+ in the September GAMSAT Section II.
TASK A SAMPLE
- “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”
- “True love is a lack of desire to check one’s smartphone in another’s presence.”
- “We’re a generation of idiots, smart phones and dumb people.”
- “Men have become the tools of their tools.” –
- “Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.”
“It is better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for who you are not.” The Famous French author- Andre Gide’s words satirically echo our society’s trend toward supressing individual identity through technology. Modern smartphones have transformed the process in which we interconnect with family and friends, the transparent nature of this communication has encouraged uniformity in the way we express ourselves. To live in such a state that is bereft of true passion, is sin to ourselves and a disservice to our precious earthly time. In alleviating this type of irrational thinking, introspection into our virtues can provide clarity in finding meaningful purpose within ourselves.
Technology provides an effortless avenue to glamorise an insincere lifestyle. Our insatiable addiction to materialistic goods and exotic experiences is readily reflected in our technological practices. The masse following of internet celebrities and influencers sets an example for all to follow, encouraging us to pursue a life of glamour and glitz, free from the ‘distractions’ of meaningful relationships and passions. However, beyond the show-reel manufactured through clever editing, is a shallow lifestyle that is ultimately unfulfilling. Technology has fabricated a false livelihood embedded upon shallow actions, the euphoria gained from chasing external validation is done in vain. The aspirations to vicariously live out the lives of others, is perhaps the most certain path to become dissatisfied with our own existence.
The resolution to this issue, stems from a life of intrinsic personal fulfilment. The understanding and implementation of a virtuous life can help us love our true passions and purpose. Chinese philosopher-Confucius, purported that traditional virtues such as ‘courage’ and ‘sincerity’, can go a long way in helping us escape the shackles of outdated social expectations. Here, a virtuous individual should enact courage to denounce time and effort spent in pursuit of vanity and the validation of others. It takes one to practice a virtuous lifestyle to pursue a life in loving passions that are meaningful to them, a result that could never be achieved through the dissimilar pursuit of external validation.
Finally, the necessity to avoid the distractions of technology is hastened by our own temporal existence. One might take motivation from our undeniable limitations on time, since we can never be truly sure our length of existence remaining. How wasteful it must be to exhaust our precious efforts on desires that we don’t truly love, for the superficial gratification gained from others. Those who partake in the mindless technological manipulation, ought to realise the epiphany in allocating efforts towards loving their true ideals, it is in their best interests to reach this realisation in earnest.
The authority of technology paradoxically guides us towards a life that is devoid of love or purpose. The white noise of social media presents a façade of experiences that yield no long-term pleasure or fulfilment. It is only through introspection into our true virtues, that we can find passions that allow life to be memorable and meaningful. Breaking into this virtuous life may seem daunting at first, but we are rewarded with knowledge that our finite time is spent on loving a truly noble cause- ourselves.
TASK B SAMPLE
- “Human beings need a challenge and space exploration is the biggest adventure of all.”
- “The greatest gain from space travel consists in the extension of our knowledge. IN a hundred years this newly won knowledge will pay huge and unexpected dividends.”
- “Space flights are merely an escape, a fleeing away from oneself, because it is easier to go to Mars or to the moon that it is to penetrate one’s own being.”
- “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade not because it is easy but because it is hard.”
- “Whatever the benefits of space exploration, it is irresponsible to pursue them rather than facing the great dangers threatening humanity.”
“You cannot evade the fate of tomorrow, by avoiding it today.” The words of former President of the United States – Abraham Lincoln, echo the need to tackle feats of hardship as they come. Whilst the endeavours of space travel are certainly monumental, the exploration of our own time, space and mind present a similarly challenging task. Embedded within a society that consistently praises the workings of celebrities and their pursuit of materialism, many individuals begin to lose focus of a truly meaningful lifestyle. The pursuit of external validation comes as a result of media propaganda; finding a way out this chasm can prove to be just as difficult as stepping on the moon. Alas, there are still authentic methods in attaining personal satisfaction, notably in the form of living by good virtues. Overall, overcoming the need to be validated by others, serves as a fundamental stepping stone in becoming content with our existence.
Our society continues to glamorise an inauthentic lifestyle. The treatment of astronauts as celebrities, necessarily dwarfs our very own personal ambitions. When compared to the achievements of those involved in space exploration, it may become apparent that our own interests are not worthwhile in pursuing or validating. This effect is exacerbated in revelations within our society, a person’s perception of self-worth can easily be quantified with a dollar symbol or accounted for in collection of certain prestigious experiences. Overall, the effect on individuals has become dire, more and more individuals feel compelled to ‘buy’ into a lifestyle that pursues extravagance, luxury and validation. However, behind the veil of riches and gifts, we are solemnly welcomed to a shallow lifestyle, bereft of true emotions and passions. To live in such a way merely to benefit the whims of others, is an immense disservice to ourselves and our precious earthly time.
Whilst space exploration looks for clues outward, to find true meaning within our lives we must turn inward. Classical Chinese philosopher – Confucius once mused, “The virtues of courage and sincerity are bedrock to a wholesome lifestyle.” Just like how the first astronauts courageously boarded the spaceships, we must also show courage and faith in pursuing our dreams. These Chinese virtues denounce a life in pursuit of materialistic goods or arrogant achievements, opting instead for time spent in pursuing the subjective ideals of each individual. By acting with these virtues in mind, we take the first steps in fabricating an exploration of our most sincere desires, whatever they may be.
The temporality of our existence necessarily hastens our need to self-explore. The reassurance of certain death makes us realise that we should achieve meaningful self-introspection in earnest. Similar to how the astronauts identified their own ambitions, we must also execute the courage to pursue our own. Otherwise, how wasteful must if be to spend our precious waking moments living out a dream that wasn’t even ours to begin with. To truly explore our worldviews, we must turn towards the chasm that lies within ourselves. As the Socratic fable once proclaimed, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Whilst the limits of space exploration within one’s lifetime may seem incomprehensible, finding the meaning within our own lives in an achievable task. Such actions denounce a life in pursuit of vanity, presenting a resolution that is authentic to each individual.
While the documentation of space travel is grand, it paradoxically guides us away from exploring our inner space. With the guarantee of death looming, it becomes imperative that we introspect our virtues to find a life that is worth living. By honing our actions to live by our own means, we become more free than astronauts ever could. The process of seeking out this way of living may seem daunting at first, however, we are eternally rewarded with furthering our own personal journeys.GAMSAT Section IIHigh-yield