What is Good?

This past November on my way to class I stumbled upon a room filled with amazing-ness… to the brim.

This is what I saw:


The paper says:

“This project took us from Brazil to Holland, Kosovo, Vancouver and back home to Squamish. The question of good has circled the globe and it has returned in various forms, each answer unique and personal. The question began by reaching the far corners of the world through a simple social media survey that prompted the responder to “write something good.” From there, we reached out to the local community by reverting to old fashioned pen and paper and interviewing people on the streets of Squamish.

We then locked ourselves in dorm rooms, armed with an arsenal of paintbrushes, sharpies, watercolors, and paper, with just enough food to survive until the project was completed. The art began. The tea flowed at an alarming rate. The jazz sang tirelessly. Various appendages were splattered with paint. We finally emerged from the fog of creativity with a stack of responses we could use for weight training.

We saw that we all saw things differently. Every single one of us have a different filter. One of us would read a response and create accompanying art of a wildly different nature than another of us would have. Likewise, each of the responses we received was completely unique.

Socrates showed us through his renowned dialogues that virtue and piety cannot have universal definition, because they differ for every individual and every culture. Good follows the same path. Everyone can define good, but no one can agree on what good really is. But is this not the beauty of the subject? If every response was the same, this exhibition would never be able to exist.

As you read each of the responses included in this exhibition, think about how you would interpret it. Would you have portrayed it in the same way? Write your own responses to the project on the sticky notes provided.”

And here is what was in the room:

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Creativity is in abundance at Quest, not because we have students who are more creative than at other schools, but because we are given an outlet for our creativity.

In my current class (classe du Francais), we had to make a video over the first weekend. Our criteria: create a film that includes some of the knowledge we’ve gained over the past week– mostly about how to meet and small talk with people. My group decided to make a Lord of the Rings (le seigneur de l’anneau) spoof (a bored student goes on an adventure to find the ring, ending up meeting odd people and creatures along the way). As we were talking about our level of creativity a common theme that kept coming up was that we had no idea what to expect from the other students in our class. Everyone had a story of when they thought their project was super creative only to go to class and find out that others had gone even further and in an entirely different direction.

In a previous class I had to create a photo essay and another video about the self (Self, Culture and Society). I ended up writing a spoken word poem and filming a bonfire (to match with an analogy of smoke as the self). Without this assignment, I never would have investigated my own personal experience in this way. Essays are great and valuable, but I’ve found having to be creative 10x more challenging and rewarding.

Over the past (probably) 4-5 years of my life, I have learnt the structure of an essay. I know the “hamburger” method (intro -thesis, middle -2-3 paragraphs, end -conclusion). I know the amount of ideas I should have in my thesis. I know the conclusion should incorporate many of the same aspects of the introduction.

There is a formula for essay writing.

Creativity, on the other hand, has endless possibilities.

I love that we’re able to be creative at Quest — not only “able to” but actually “pushed to.” Instead of writing a paper that we feel okay about, we can create beautiful artwork that expresses our true sentiments.

And for those of us who “are not creative” or think we are not creative — we are wrong. I believe everyone does have some dormant part of themselves that can express amazing things in a creative manner. We are just not given the option to do so.

I believe the final picture from that breakout room sums up my feelings. 

What is good?


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