(by Eileen Dombrowski, from OSC TOK blog, July 12, 2014) I love plenty of knowledge questions – but sometimes I delight even more in the answers, especially when they jolt me for a refreshing moment into someone else’s way of seeing the world. Did you see that Bolivia has reversed the direction in which the hands on the clock on its congress building in La Paz will move? The reason? Well, the conventional direction reflects the movement of the sun across a sundial…in the northern hemisphere. And so, argues the Bolivian government of Evo Morales, a country in the southern hemisphere should free itself from colonially imposed ways of thinking.
The larger knowledge question is the one that brings the Bolivian congress building clock within the scope of TOK: In what ways do our conventionalized systems of representation (such as maps or language) reflect and/or entrench cultural assumptions about reality? The smaller, more applied question, though, is the one that makes the Bolivian clock jump out for me as an ongoing interest of my life: If our own cultural assumptions buried in our representations are invisible to us, how can we become aware of them?
Jason Miks, “Why Bolivia reversed its clock”, CNN, July 2.http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2014/07/02/why-bolivia-reversed-its-clock/
“Bolivia Rebels at Rightist Timepieces, Flips Clock”, Time, June 25, 2014. http://time.com/2923883/bolivia-rebels-at-rightist-rimepieces-flips-clock/
“Bolivian congress decides to turn back time. In a show of national pride and identity, the Bolivian government has reversed the direction and digit’s on its Congress building clock. Is this a thoughtful symbol or just a waste of time?” The Day: Explaining Matters. Current Affairs for Schools, June 27, 2014.http://theday.co.uk/international/bolivian-congress-decides-to-turn-back-time
Eileen Dombrowski, Lena Rotenberg, Mimi Bick. Theory of Knowledge Course Companion, 2013 edition. Oxford University Press, 2013. See the chapter on language and the inter-chapter on systems of symbolic representation. https://global.oup.com/education/product/9780199129737?region=international