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What happens when brilliant youth take on PhiloQuest missions? We get beautifully insightful and creative projects, like postcards telling the story of their adventures! Discover the philocreation work of some of our Philoquesters in this special album featuring participants ranging in age from six to eighteen years old. From drawing and comics to poetry, stories and design, these projects reveal how philosophy can get us in touch with the concepts that matter to us most, through times of difficulty and moments of great solidarity. Happy discovery!

REFLECTIONS. "The person looking into the horizon is alone and has nobody helping them. Or maybe they do have help? Their helper(s) could be in the black circle or maybe the person got help or advice before walking? But even if they have all this help, are they independent? After all they could choose to not follow that advice... in the end, nobody cab be 100% independent." Check out the activity!

REFLECTIONS. Alice: "I set myself up in my refuge with my hamster Dumpling and a big basket of snacks. I even slept there the whole night with my little four year-old brother, and I used it to read my book. Since I felt safe, I felt like I had privacy." Jules: "I built a fort with my mom in the basement. I spent two calm hours in my secret refuge, far from my big family. I realize I feel good alone—I rarely get to have solitude!" Check out the activity!

Mission: Apprehensive smirks

Should we conceal our apprehension?

Is it better to live free and anxious than constrained and serene?
Should we be the driver, or let ourselves be driven by the machine?
Too many personal choices make me erupt with anguish—
Yet mindlessly advancing makes me feel vanquished.
Unfortunately, my mere humanity forces me to be free,
I can always control my thoughts,
Though I can’t control what happens around me.
I choose whichever path I wish to pursue,
At the risk of my mind gasping for air if it bit off more than it could chew.
When you are free, you are bound to make mistakes.
You may dislike your current state, But rejoice!
It is your uniqueness that truly makes you great!
Let your only limit be your mind—
And I promise that you will be surprised by the beauty you will find.

—Alex, eighteen

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REFLECTIONS. "Are monotony and repetition bad things? Can they be positive? Upon reflection, I think it really depends on the context. Right now in lockdown, I feel like my life is really monotonous... but I remember many certain moments in my life when having a structure and a rhythm were really reassuring for me. And I thought of a specific moment that I think many people experience when, for example, you go on a three-week trip and then you get back to find your bed, your routine—there's a kind of satisfaction, a feeling of 'Oh, wow, I’m home!' Or just the feeling of going back to your parents, seeing your mom, finding something familiar again... I think these are moments when repetition and monotonous things can be really comforting. So I don't think that having a routine is necessarily bad... I even know people who live routines all the time and love it! And they are ready to overcome anything because they have such a fixed routine." Check out the activity!

Mission: The roar of courage

Can everyone be courageous?

To have courage, someone has to fear something first. For example: if someone is afraid of nothing and goes to war, he is not brave. He just likes to play with fire. Someone has to be vulnerable to be brave. For example: someone isn't going to be afraid of drowning in the street, but he might in a swimming pool. In other words, if a person is afraid of drowning while walking down the street, he is not brave, but if the same person goes into a swimming pool, he is brave. It depends on whether you like to question things or not. For example: I like to question things, but other people don't like to question things, like someone who sees life all rosy and puts gas in his car and asks where the gas came from, and starts to think that the Americans stole it from Iraq.

REFLECTIONS. "Solitude sometimes leads to sadness or comfort, depending on our thinking. After a fight with a friend, loneliness allows us to reflect and calm down by figuring out a solution to the problem. My machine is aimed more at people who are sad and depressed. A person can feel lonely if no one speaks to them, like at an event, for example. They can also feel lonely if no one is interested in them, say, when others forget their birthday. At the beginning of the project, I had thought of an object for each economic class. Realizing that it was discriminatory towards the poor, I decided to make an object that would suit everyone! My machine meets the needs of those who no longer want to be alone, not those who are trying not want to be disturbed. But loneliness should not disappear because sometimes you isolate yourself to calm your rage or sadness—it's a moment to be only with yourself and reflect. My goal is to help people who are sad or depressed because of their loneliness." Check out the activity!

REFLECTIONS. "My anti-solitude machine looks like a round mini laptop with different functions. It can open portals, show holographic images of live animals and reproduce good memories. Its screen is like a human—it's intelligent and makes you feel less lonely. My machine helps to fight loneliness because it allows you to make holographic calls, to meet someone faster through the portal and it also allows you to touch a live animal. My machine eliminates loneliness because it offers a variety of options that make the person feel better: images, memories and pleasant smells. It works well in all contexts thanks to its very powerful universal antenna, fan and heater. I could change its size so that it can be carried in a pocket. I have learned that loneliness is not a physical sensation but an emotional state that can be fought with tools. I don't believe that loneliness should disappear because it's just as important for human beings. Indeed, it is important to calm down, to reflect and to think about creativity." Check out the activity!

REFLECTIONS. "For me, beauty is many things. It can be something that is pleasing to the eye. It can be the emotions that someone feels. It can be anything that's infinitely big or infinitely small. It can be seeing someone realize themselves and be what they want to be. It can be concepts that we can't really explain, like love or life. It can be a lot of things, but I think it really depends on how you look at the world from your perspective." Check out the activity!

REFLECTIONS. "If I lived in this world, I would probably try to hide my uniqueness from everybody. People could make fun of you and leave you alone because they are afraid of your uniqueness, so you might feel left out and  very alone. There would also be a lack of freedom: People could try to change you and repress your ability to express your true self. But there may be some positives too: You could become their leader by offering the group new ideas and opportunities. But I think that if this world existed, our humanness would be eliminated. I feel even certain that even if we were all the same as each other, as long as we were still human, we would find differences in each other. It’s a very human trait to always look for differences. Our view would be very limited and all of the things that inspire us to make a difference in this world would be diminished and we would never grow or evolve." Check out the activity!

Mission: The crime of being unique

Can perfection be harmful?

The dream tore my life apart
Everything perfect, shattering like a mirror
Revealing the truth
That word, perfect.
I desired for so long
An idea of fake truths and realistic lies
I tried to reach something that was far from my grasp
Becoming obsessive and unrealistic.
Hiding behind a smile of deception
Grasping tightly to the things that made me fit in
That made me the same
The truth opened my eyes.
A new world past the perfection that held me captive
Finally a new light shone its knowledge into my skin
Awakening me from a nightmare that would not pass.
That flawless fantasy no longer held power over me
Instead my strengths began to shine
The sameness, I held so tightly began to slip away
Becoming only a memory
And me becoming who I was meant to be.

—Mariah, seventeen

Check out the activity!

 

REFLECTIONS. "Creativity doesn’t walk very well, it just tumbles down, so it makes accidental art on its piano stairs! The stairs to get in the house are a piano staircase, and every step you take there’s a piano note. There is a bedroom with a double bed partly flipped over: half of it represents the queen of hearts and the other half is the king of spades. In the bathroom, there is comic toilet paper. There is a room just with mats to jump around everywhere. There is also a laser quest hallway and a dance floor hallway. In the kitchen there is a red button: when you press the button it gives you all the ingredients you want. There is a movie room with a comfy couch and just a normal dining room to have nice dinners. There is also a virtual reality room and a game room with a pool table and other games. There is a balcony and a big outside garden." Check out the activity!

 

REFLECTIONS. "It’s a crazy, fun and dangerous ride—the opposite of boredom! It turns around, it does lots of loops and goes into empty spaces. It spins and it turns upside down, it goes super fast. It’s very exciting. It’s very colourful. Boredom is when you have nothing to do and all you can think of is that you want to annoy your brother. You just lay on the couch and stare into empty space, looking at nothing, yawning, hanging out with the cat, randomly drawing. So this ride shakes things up!" Check out the activity!

 


"I don’t think boredom would be a big ride, it would be just a little slide. If boredom were a ride, it would obviously be very boring… slow and like nobody would really be enjoying it. I imagine it as a super duper long ride, like the longest ride ever... It would go all the way around the amusement park, but it would have a horrible view, with just a bunch of walls around you, and it would go really really really slow. And you have to ride it all alone.  Everyone would fall asleep on the ride because there is nothing to look at and it just goes straight. And on top of it, there is a super long line-up to get on the ride, because that’s boring."
—Aoife, seven
 
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REFLECTIONS. "Boredom, it’s when you are tired of doing something and your mind thinks that there is nothing else to do. You kind of feel tired, but if mom asks you to do something you say no sometimes because part of your brain feels comfortable being bored, because boredom is the opposite of motivation. If boredom had an outfit, it would wear a a lot of the same kinds of grey onesies from the fashion line 'Grey is yay!' If boredom were a ride, it would be new ride—and not the only ride of its kind! You can look out the window and find grey landscapes. In fact, you can look at it for as long as you want because it never goes anywhere. It’s just you, so you have the whole ride to yourself and no distractions." Check out the activity!

REFLECTIONS. "We have this conspiracy theory that whenever we organize the drawer and close it, the clothes fight overnight to be on top so that we’ll wear them! So our stand-up is inspired by that: Have you ever noticed that when you organize your drawer and then go to bed, your clothes get all disorganised because they are fighting to be the clothes you wear the next day? Have you ever wondered what the squirrels in your backyard are thinking when they look inside your window and see you picking your clothes, or maybe having breakfast or cooking in your kitchen? Have you ever noticed how time passes fast when you are watching TV, and it goes so slow when you are doing homework? The everyday can be really funny and weird!" Check out the activity!

Mission: Ode to boringness

Does boringness have a secret value?

Oh Boringness
Is it you again?
Here to give me your hug without pain
Your arms are so warm that they make my eyelids fall
Making everything so dull
But you hug me so gently
That I think I could see things differently
Take your hug as an invitation
Rather than a damnation
Could this be a stretch of the imagination?
A little spark ignites inside of me
Could this be my friend Creativity
Boringness doesn’t want the day to be done
Because it wants us to have fun
For our brain to start to ruuuun!

—Sebastian, seventeen  

Check out the activity!

REFLECTIONS. "I interviewed my hat! It is now a voluntary soup bowl. I asked it if it was good at its new job, but it isn’t really... because it’s a straw hat so soup seeps through it very often. It's not the best of soup hats! But he still wants to be a bowl instead of a hat, because it’s easier to have something put in you than protecting people’s head… which is more painful! Although being a soup bowl might be painful too, depending on how hot the soup is. Here's what I asked him:

Me: Do you enjoy your job?
Hat: Yes I do.
Me: Are you good at your job?
Hat: I am a straw hat so some of the soup leaks, so I’d say I’m okay at it.
Me: Do you choose to be a soup bowl and if you do what is your salary?
Hat: I volunteer to be a soup bowl.
Me: How old are you?
Hat: I’m 74 years old.
Me: Do you have any hobbies?
Hat: I fish.
Me: Thank you for your time."

Check out the activity!

REFLECTIONS. "Apathy is the arch-nemesis of Empathy. They're not really people, more like presences that influence people. For example, a doctor with the help of Empathy is able to understand what a patient feels, but with Apathy, he just can't put himself in her skin... he can't understand, he can't care. But watch out! Apathy is not necessarily a negative character. He's rather neutral. A vibe of "I don't care..." Just because he can't put himself in people's shoes doesn't mean their feelings aren't important. He doesn't do bad things, he just keeps a distance, and that's important sometimes, to keep his distance, and not to get too involved." Check out the activity!

 

Mission: Solitude in the wild

If solitude had an answering machine, what would it say and why?

Solitude is someone that likes to observe others and reflect. He is an introvert who really needs time alone. I think solitude would be the kind of creature that sits there and observes people, to see how they live and think. He sits on their porch and watches everyone live their lives, but he doesn’t enjoy talking to people. He enjoys reflecting by himself. His phone message might be something like: 'I’ll be sure to listen to your message but I probably won’t call back.' But it’s not said in a negative way—solitude doesn't enjoy talking to people but he will enjoy listening to the message.

—Esther, twelve 

Check out the activity!

REFLECTIONS. "My machine looks like a vacuum cleaner. It's got a bacteria vacuum cleaner so there's no more sickness. It has a friend blower to play with me. There's a clip to collect DNA to breed animals and a button to protect animals. Also, the vacuum cleaner has a flower planter to treat boo-boos. It can be transformed into a car and a robot dog, to travel and accompany me!" Check out the activity!

REFLECTIONS. "Here's Grimassou, the compost superhero who bathes in the mud and eats bad food to help compost naturally! Is this art? No... it's an idea! A bit like a drawing I made up with doodles, which gave me the idea of making a pig shape, and gave me other ideas. The idea appears as an image... from my imagination to the drawing! It's not art because it's not the most beautiful drawing and it's a dirty nonsense! An artist is a man or a woman who makes paintings, all that, sort of drawings, and, who goes to a museum of paintings so that people can observe them." Check out the activity!

 

Mission: The CV of errors

Can we really learn without making mistakes?

First of all, I think we learn from ALL the mistakes we make. We learn not to make the same mistakes over and over again. We learn to choose a different path, a better path. I think we learn from our mistakes and that makes us stronger and more reflective. For example, if you don't handle a situation well and you become aware of your mistakes, you can change your approach. We all make mistakes and I think that's something beautiful that helps us go further in life. So here's my CV of errors:

  • I remember, not so long ago, I wanted to train to become even fitter, more muscular and comfortable in my body. The problem is that it's not the kind of change that appears after just one week. So I gave up training. And I realized my mistake... quitting isn't the answer. So I went back to training with great determination.
  • One time, my friend and I had a fight and instead of waiting and calming down and then talking about it, we both started yelling at each other and insulting each other. Afterwards, we both realized our mistake. Since then, we've been calming down and talking calmly to solve our problems.
  • Several months ago, before lockdown, my mother suggested that I make an appointment to see a dentist for my cavities. I told her that it was my responsibility to call the dentist to make an appointment. Because of my laziness, I didn't do so. Now that we're confined, I regret it. I realize my mistake.  

—Sixtine, fifteen 

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REFLECTIONS. "If Resilience had a song it liked to sing at karaoke bars, he would be hot and tired from trying so hard. He might try a duet with the concept of Courage because he needs him to keep going. This would be the lyrics:
You take a break and you keep going.
You are at school and you don’t have friends.
You keep on trying to find friends.Keep on trying
Keep on trying
And I finally get it.
Rhythm is fast with energy!"
Check out the activity!

Testimonials from our Philoquesters

  • "I think that people should do PhiloQuests in order to explore the way they think, because their brains are the only ones keeping them company during these times of quarantine anyways. So we might as well get to know it better, learn how it works and interact with it more." —Annie
  • "I would recommend PhiloQuests because they help widen your perspective. You think about things in new and different ways that you wouldn’t have thought about before. So it opens you up, exposes you to new things and stimulates you. You get asked these really tough questions that you would never have been asked in any other situation. It’s so unique that they would never come to you in everyday life. It makes things interesting." —Sahana
  • "I mean it’s fun too, you know? You’re thinking without any constraint., I mean you have constraints obviously, but it’s really, it’s a wide range, so it’s fun to do." —Cohen
  • "I think that PhiloQuests is an area where you can explore yourself and your imagination—you can really explore new things. So it's important to keep an open mind and not worry about your ideas; just have fun! It's like a time to relax to discover new things. Enjoy it!" —Arabelle
  • "I recommend doing PhiloQuests because you gt your mind blown! It's really interesting to not only understand more about yourself but also on others and the things around us." —Mathéo
  • "PhiloQuests make you think. You don’t just sit down every day at dinner and go 'What is justice? What does it mean to have a voice?' We don’t do that! But PhiloQuests make you wonder: 'Have I been looking at this thing wrong?' And it makes you really just think a lot, and I like that. And I feel like a lot of people don’t do that unless they have a stimulation. But once you get started, you don’t stop!" —Eugenia
  • "I just went through the whole site and I find it's really well explained and clear. The instructions are really well done! It's perfect for us because it's not too difficult but the activities make us work hard! And with all the images and examples, it's really enjoyable." —Maxim
  • "I think that specifically during this time, it’s really really hard to find ways to entertain yourself in ways that keep your brain really stimulated. So, yeah, when I was looking around the PhiloQuests site, I realized it’s been a while since my brain has actually been able to physically think about something. I feel like it’s important to think but during this time it’s really hard to take a break to do that. Right now philosophy can really really help you keep your brain stimulated and keep you in touch with yourself." —Sitara
  • "I think that philosophy is a good way to keep your brain active. It gives every topic a deeper meaning. Because at the beginning of every single activity, I usually have a pretty clear idea of what I think but by the end, I’m usually completely confused because there’s so many ideas! It always feels very good because afterwards, it stays in my mind, it keeps me thinking about it, because I’m trying to come to a conclusion about it." —Esther
  • "You get a chance to really think outside the box. With the concept games, you kind of become them in a sort of way, and it’s really fun. What does this concept think about? Then you start talking and new ideas just come popping out." —Veronica
  • "Honestly, I think this is really interesting for kids and adults because it helps us discover new things, be more independent and creative. I find the activities are easy to get into and we can even do them with familiy! It gives us ideas to invent our own things too, especially the Meal Mutiny activities that bring new flavours to dinnertime!" —Wender