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Where is Waldo question for UChicago's application process


smaa  
Jan 7, 2018   #1
Prompt:

Where is Waldo?



Hey guys. I've written this up for UChicago's application process. This is a rough draft. Any constructive criticism? Thanks a ton for your help

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I wonder as I wander, where in the world is Waldo wandering? I pace, fervently pondering this question. My stream of consciousness separates slowly into several sections. From two, to tens, to ten-fold then, my thoughts turn from flowing as a single stream to flooding forth as a mess of interweaving tributaries, each section investigating a plausible possibility.

How, I realize, can I expect to find Waldo when all the aspects of the question itself remain inadequately identified? Which Waldo, am I looking for? I know many Waldos. Am I investigating Mount Waldo of Maine or the one in Oregon? The philosopher Ralph Waldo or then the village Waldo of Wisconsin? Or perhaps then the character, the man of many names: the Waldo of America, the Wally of Britain, the Willie of Namibia, the Walter of Germany.

Which one is it?
Additionally, what is where? "Where" refers to the location of a thing, and "location" is relative, so are we looking for Waldo relative to a frame of time, or a point in space? Or then this point in time and to our point in space? On the topic of time, what do we really know of it? What evidence do we have that the universe was truly created 13.7 billion years ago and not just last Thursday, or for that matter, just 13.7 seconds ago?

Perhaps however, both of the aforementioned questions are irrelevant. What more are "what" and "where" but figments and mental constructs? My existence is self-evident, but all physical things are potentially illusory; a lack of an objective standard of reality as well insufficient evidence leads me to believe that illusions they are. All my knowledge and direct observations do exist, but only in my mind, implying that regardless of what Waldo is, he exists only in my mind as an idea and only at this given time. But further consideration raises doubt considering even my existence. Consider that-AHH! Oh God. My thoughts fragment as I find myself at an impasse: absolute skepticism.

I take a step back. I take a deep breath and collect myself.
The tributaries condense back into a stream as explosive poetic creativity makes way for philosophical logic and scientific analytics. I carefully now reassess the wall, looking for weaknesses; if I find the whereabouts of Waldo, I may soon find myself in UChicago as well, making this a question of the utmost importance. Realism leads me to understand that the question is asking for the whereabouts of the Waldo, the red and white striped legend himself. Further thinking leads me to realize that regardless of having a skeptic outlook or not, I will not know where he is. According to my inner skeptic, Waldo only exists in my mind and if I do not exist, not even there. Say however the physical world does exist, I still do not know his whereabouts and far worthier men than I have searched and have failed to find him.

In light of this, I come to an epiphany.
Inspired by Occam's Razor and Newton's Flaming Laser Sword, I derive then Syed's Buzzing Chainsaw: a manner of thought intended to cut misleading questions at their inception. Syed's Buzzing Chainsaw recognizes the fact that we often become overly fixated on "What?" or "Where?" and states that the questions that should take precedence are instead "Why?" and "How does this affect me?"; if there are no valid answers, the question itself becomes irrelevant. Under the edge of Syed's Buzzing Chainsaw, "Where is Waldo?" is then unveiled as an irrelevant question. If regardless of the perspective, I cannot know where he is, and regardless of the answer, I am not affected, the question itself becomes of no purpose.

In that light then, I see that though I do not know where he is, Waldo is where Waldo wishes. Perhaps, that is all that matters.

Holt [Contributor] 1602  
Jan 8, 2018   #2
Syed, in my opinion, this is a highly enlightening response to "Where's Waldo?" It is analytical and calls for self reflection, which is not always the approach that is taken with this essay by the applicants. I like its philosophical approach to the question. You show a degree of intellect that indicates you will be a "high brow" student UChicago should you get in as a student. I would like to strengthen the essay though, and remove the redundancy, by having you consider removing paragraph numbers 4 and 5 so that you manage to hold on to the interest of the reviewer, who at this point is surely interested in reading what you have to say. By hitting him with the epiphany sooner rather than later, you maintain the strength of your presentation and close it on a strong note while the reviewer is still impressed by your presentation. You need to avoid his being affected by the potential of the aforementioned 2 paragraphs to become redundant in the presentation.
OP smaa  
Jan 17, 2018   #3
Sorry for the extremely belated response. Thank you for your corrections! I see your point.

Unfortunately, however, I had to submit it before I saw your corrections. Thanks for the assistance regardless!


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