Bibi Schwithal

Student
Amsterdam, Netherlands

About Bibi

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Languages

Dutch, English, Spanish

Areas of Expertise

Philosophy, education

I'm passionate about

almost everything; I have yet to find something that I do not find interesting in some way!

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

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Bibi Schwithal
Posted almost 3 years ago
The Man who tasted shapes! Have you ever experienced synesthesias?
I don't think it really is either an advantage or a disadvantage in school. I do know that I tend to learn things differently than others, but I would not be able to tell if that is because of mmy synesthesia or not. I always have trouble though defining to which extend my synesthesia make things different for me than for others. When I was twelve one of my teachers said something about synesthesia, but I actually did not once consider that it was how I percieved the world as well. For me, it is absolutely normal, so there is really no way of telling whether it has ever been an obstacle. I cannot imagine how it is without synesthesia, because I have no idea how much it affects me. I only found out that I had it when I was talking with a very close friend and I explained to her how I always forgot whether her birthday was in may or in march because those are the same colour, and she just looked at me as if I had said something really weird, which it must have been for her. That was something like one or two years ago. Once I realized I suddenly noticed all these connections that other people don't make, and I was very surprised at how much of the things I believe to be logical actually aren't.
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Bibi Schwithal
Posted almost 3 years ago
The Man who tasted shapes! Have you ever experienced synesthesias?
I have thought about this myself before, but there is a difference between the way, for example, a certain song might me feel sad because it reminds me of something that happened when I first heard that song, and that particular feeling. Maybe I described it wrongy: it is not the memory of a feeling, or the memory of something that happened when I was that age (I did not have any 'strong emotional episodes' at that age, nothing that really impacted me). I literally feel this particular feeling. Later I connected that feeling to the summer when I was seven because the feeling reminds me of how I felt then, but the smell does not particularly remind me of that summer: I smell and that smell simultaneously creates a feeling (which happens to be a feeling that reminds me of my childhood and especially that summer), But then again, maybe all synesthesia exists because of certain connections that I have made when I was younger. For example, the seasons are particular colours to me as well: summer is yellow, autumn is brown, winter is white and spring is green. Those are very basic associations: if you would ask 100 people which colours they would associate with which seasons you would probably get a lot of the same answers. The difference is that for me, the seasons are those colours, I cannot think 'summer' without 'seeing' yellow in my head. Just like how I mix up may and march or thursday and tuesday all the time: they are the same colour to me, so it is hard to keep them apart mix them up. It is interesting that in it happens in different languages as well: 'summer' and 'zomer' (which is summer in dutch) have the same association with yellow. So whatever 'idea' I have of 'summer' and 'zomer', that 'idea' also exists out of the colour yellow. Just like how this smell refers to this particular feeling, and I cannot have one without the other.
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Bibi Schwithal
Posted almost 3 years ago
What poems are most powerful to you?
But is a poem 'good' when you can relate to it? I personally love the way poets can 'bend' language, using very specific words and constructions to create very specific sentences. I often find the words and their structure more beautiful than the meaning of the poem itself, although it often combines wonderfully as well (as in for example the poem by Pablo Neruda I posted below, although if possible it should preferably be read in it's original Spaninsh form). I do not specifically need to relate to the emotions or story portayed in the poem to enjoy it. I do agree that spoken poetry is easier to be impressed by, because some speakers are just so good at expressing a poem vocally. An art in itself!
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Bibi Schwithal
Posted almost 3 years ago
The Man who tasted shapes! Have you ever experienced synesthesias?
I have a form of synestesia myself, although I have no idea whether it is in my family. I only quite recently found out that how I experience certain things isn't the 'common' way. Monday is white and saturday green, a square is slow while a triangle is annoyingly hyperactive. The way the air smells when it just stopped raining makes me feel like when I was 7. The number '8' is very friendly and 'stable'. It never occured to me that such strong relations between things that do not really have obvious relations was something strange, because to me they seemed so perfectly logical. Monday is white, it has to be, just like grass is green. I still don't really know the extend of my synesthesia, although I keep finding things every now and then. I do have the idea that it was 'stronger' when I was younger, say before I was 13. Especially with scents it surprises me sometimes how strong I can 'feel' something because of a certain scent, although it is mostly positive so no complaints here ;) I just read your post on Kandinsky, very intriguing becaus ever since I first saw his works I have been inspired and moved by it more than I ever had with other artists! I do enjoy making art a lot myself, unfortunately I am not very good technically. Maybe that's why I prefer photography ;)
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Bibi Schwithal
Posted almost 3 years ago
What poems are most powerful to you?
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz, or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off. I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul. I love you as the plant that never blooms but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers; thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance, risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep. The English translation of a Spanish poem by Pablo Neruda.
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Bibi Schwithal
Posted almost 3 years ago
How can we empower kids to reshape the education system? *A TEDActive Education Project Question*
I am a current student in the Dutch schooling system, although currently in my last year and almost finished. Three years ago I started doing research on the topic of education, because I felt like the way our educational system worked was wrong. Now I realize that there aren't many students that know and are capable of participating in that discussion with sufficient background knowledge, but I also know that they do exist. I have heard so many times that I cannot, may not and should not try to participate in debates on topics like these because of my age. In the meantime I see students around me that are suffering, literally suffering under the influence of bad education, including myself. I love to learn, but I have spend the last 6 years of my life working really hard to learn so little. I know that would I have been allowed to create my own way of educating 'me', I would have been capable of learning a lot more, both factual knowledge and 'skills'. School is not 'too hard', it's just not capable of challenging students. It frustrates me that I do not have enough time to learn as much as I could and want to because of school, the institution that should be learning me stuff. If I could, I would do anything to change the system. Not just make amends, 'cosmetic changes', but really change something, change the core. But if I am not allowed or if people do not want me to participate in the discussion, it becomes very hard for me to either try to make changes or even learn more about the subject. To answer your question: yes, these students do exist. So before you exclude them from the debate, reconsider your premise that they do not want to. Maybe you ust need to find a way to interest them, to show them that they can make a change, that their opinion is actually valued, in contrary to what they get told or shown in schools everyday!