Hello, and welcome back to my blog. Today, I’ll be talking about – you guessed it – our latest project in PLP 11. The project is called Fear Factor.

Let’s start by discussing our driving question: “How has fear been used as a political, defensive, and cultural tool to shape our society?”. This connects to the project’s big idea, which is that conflict has been a powerful force in shaping our world.

This project really challenged me to extend my thinking, and if I’m being honest, I think I could’ve done a lot better, although I’m still proud of my final product.

I’ll link the learning guide here so you can follow along:


The goal of this project was to pose a question related to both the big idea and the driving question, which we would then answer in the form of some wort of media directed toward an audience. The topic just had to relate to the aforementioned topics and the Cold War. I decided to look into psychological warfare and the role it played in the Cold War. This is something I’ve always been interested in and so I decided I’d delve even deeper, looking at the ethics behind psychological warfare as well as its use and role in the Cold War. My final product would come in the form of an infographic, which, unbeknownst to two-months-ago-Dylan, would not be without its own slew of obstacles.

Since I was already somewhat familiar with the topic I was looking into, I figured it would be the right place to try to extend my thinking. I did this by looking into the ethics of psy-ops (psychological operations) and psychological warfare. At first, I thought that it would be a simple task – I already had come up with an answer: “No, psychological warfare is not ethical”, but the deeper down the rabbit hole I went, the more I began to second guess myself, much to my surprise. The ethics surrounding psychological warfare are far from straightforward. When I started my research, I was looking primarily into accounts from survivors, but the more I looked into accounts from the perpetrators of these operations, the more confusing it got. This is what my brain sort of looked like during my research: Psychological warfare is bad, it’d bad to take advantage of peoples’ minds… but psychological warfare is obviously better than physical warfare, isn’t it? Right? Hmm… well, isn’t it better not to hurt someone? But maybe the effects of psychological warfare are worse than losing a limb or an eye or even your life? 

You can see how easily muddy this became, and this is part of the reason why I feel I could have done a much better job with extending my thinking and learning. If I was to approach the topic from an indifferent perspective, I would have been more inclined to have taken into account both sides of the debate, which is why I believe my final product did have some bias against the use of psychological warfare, simply because of my own personal beliefs. It’s always difficult to stray from your beliefs, but as soon as I surrendered to my own lust for an unbiased analysis and started taking into account the other side of the story, I became more and more confused and frustrated with the reality of how these things play out. There isn’t really any right or wrong answer to these questions, only opinions on them.

Now that being said, I still believe I somewhat successfully extended my thinking, just because I was able to step out of my comfort zone and take into account a perspective that I strongly disagree with. As someone who tends to be pretty critical of government policy and authority, I found it hard to take into account their perspectives, but I believe that I was able to do so eventually, and that is reflected in my infographic.

Throughout this project, we used a knowledge management system called Zettelkasten. Zettelkasten is German for note case. The system was very effective and helped me with organizing my knowledge and notes surrounding the project. Since the start of the project, I have been able to apply the principles of Zettelkasten into my everyday life, taking notes on movies I’ve seen and conversations I’ve had. Here’s an example of a note that I’m really proud of:


By now, I’m sure you’re curious as to what my final product looked like. I’ll start by showing my first draft

I felt that my first draft didn’t do a very good job of answering the driving question, so I revised it.

Unfortunately, this second draft of my infographic had some formatting errors that wouldn’t go away no matter how I tried to restructure and download the file. I tried many times to revise and reformat the infographic but no matter what I did, there was some text overlap on my paragraph about Operation Wandering Soul.

Looking back on the project, I realize just how important it is to learn about these things. Through my research in this project, I gained a more detailed understanding of how political events tend to play out, which is an extremely important thing to know, being that I live on Earth and care about the rest of the world. On top of this surface-level understanding, this project also challenged me to do my own research and work on structuring my work and schedule without having guard rails to keep me on the right track. This is such an important skill that I will continue to use throughout the rest of my life.

This brings me to the transferable skills I worked on in this project. Time management was a big one, along with scheduling, researching, and taking ownership for my work. It was difficult not having a metaphorical safety net in the form of constant help from teachers, and though this isn’t the first time we’ve done a project like this, it was certainly still important for me to remain on task as I’m still getting used to this style of work. I also put a lot of effort into staying on track and maintaining healthy work habits during the span of this project.

Well, the sun is setting in the east and it’s time for me to hang my hat and hitch up the horses. Hopefully you enjoyed this post, and keep a look out for desperados on your way back to town. Happy trails, now!