Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Maturity of Thoughts

Maturity of thought means the ability to take decisions wisely in difficult circumstances. General Paper poses the questions of philosophical nature, probably with two or more options, and asks you to choose the best among the alternatives. It tests your maturity level from your arguments and reasoning skills. Here, I will discuss how you can prove that you are mature in your opinions and views.

First and foremost,
"Don't jump into conclusions."

meaning don't draw conclusions right away or don't generalise facts or opinions.

For example, you came across the following question: Consider the view that the key to good health is not medicine, but lifestyle.

and you quickly assessed the following arguments while brainstorming (although I have presented my points in an elaborate form to make them clear and understandable you can write your own in a single line):
Whether the people eat hygienic foods and follow sanitary habits differ from one lifestyle to another. Those people leading a hygienic lifestyle can enjoy good health than those who do not consider cleanliness and a balanced diet in their lifestyle.


Culture affects our psychology and thinking style. The people who believe in freedom and mutual understanding, good social relations and in general, a pleasant and happy environment are more likely to have better immunity power and less likely to suffer from mental illnesses like depressions, phobias and various mental disorders. Therefore lifestyle promotes a healthy life.


Medicine is concerned with just the curing aspect of disease while lifestyle focuses on the prevention of disease. "Prevention is better than cure" is a wise notion that supports lifestyle is a key to good health.


Similarly, peoples' professions, a part of their lifestyle, also affect the health of people. The repetitious tasks and a whole day of sitting on a chair are very harmful to health in a long run. Those people who are cautious about it and perform some sort of physical exercises regularly along with managing diet that matches the requirement of their body can lead healthy life. So, it is the lifestyle of the people that determines who will remain healthy.

Now, at this point, you could develop a complete essay of 6 paragraphs adding an introduction and a conclusion and it will be perfectly alright. However, the problem with this is that you did not consider the positive aspects or negative aspects of medicine. Your essay became a monotonous one. You did not take into account the half part of your topic, the medicine. What you should do is, draw more points, juxtapose them and then only decide whether you go for or against the topic. This will look mature because you will present your arguments such that you are well aware about both the topics and still you give your assessment that you favour one than the other in most of the situations.

Here you could assess that,
Medicine has various side-effects on human health and thus preventive measures should be applied in our day to day life, that is, change our lifestyle.


In some conditions, the diseases may cross the limit of prevention and a medical treatment would be very desirable. Since, change in lifestyle may not help us recover from all diseases and the recovery period would be very long one can take aid of medicine. Isn't it better to cure diseases as quickly as possible to prevent further damages to health? What is the harm to practice healthy lifestyle after being cured from the current disease?

These two points (which you can elaborate further) can help you balance the above essay. So, you would then decide that your thesis statement would be:
Although medicine is necessary at times, the key to good health is a hygienic lifestyle.

Here, your favour is definitely the lifestyle but nevertheless you didn't forget to mention the usefulness of medicine at times. Again, you should notice one thing here that you can take two more positions: one in favour of medicines and another, a neutral viewpoint where you talk about the importance of both topics and conclude that both are equally important for a healthy life.

On the whole, my point is that if you favour one side against another then still you have to balance the essay by stating its negative aspects, i.e. the counterarguments or by stating the positive aspects of the other side. This way you prove that you favour your position not because it is perfect but because it is better than the other position. You also show that you acknowledge both sides of a thing or situation and are intelligent in making choice or decision.

Additionally, you may study "Thinking Skills" book of Cambridge to learn more about the basis of thinking and presenting arguments. Another book that, I think, will be helpful to you is "Sophie's World" by Jostein Gaarder. I had come across the above quoted statement "Don't jump into conclusions" in the same book. These books are related to philosophy and it's important for you to have some philosophical base at this level to be able to project yourself as a matured person at thinking.