SOMEWHERE BETWEEN CLOUD-9 AND ROCKBOTTOM: HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

Andrew CrightonAndrew Crighton

Editor-in-Chief

If you haven’t been able to tell from my writing last week, on occasion these editorials are going to stray into deep waters. How often that happens is something that I have been struggling with ever since I knew I would be writing a weekly column.

I know that a lot of people don’t want to listen to rantings that can at best be described as philosophical, but more likely as just weird and sometimes dark.

These are things that I think about though. These are the topics that get stuck in my head and keep me awake at night.

It seems that the longer you keep something in your head without discussing it with other people, the more you want to talk about it.

When something is stuck in your head and weighs on your mind, all you want to do is share it with another person.

While I’m not an antisocial person I also don’t have a lot of close friends. It’s just one of those things that I never got good at doing and so therefore avoid it.

But the problem is that in order to have conversations that are centered in politics, religious beliefs, social norms and gun laws you have to trust the person on the other end.

There is an intimacy within these topics, which requires an equal amount between the individuals discussing them.

Note that I didn’t say like-mindedness. It is a common mistake that a person would be able to have the best conversations with someone who shares their ideological beliefs; but the exact opposite has been what I experienced throughout my life.

You may discuss hot button topics more in those circles, but you never uncover new information or perspectives from the opposite side of the issue. It’s just a big circle-jerk where everyone agrees with each other and congratulates themselves for it. 

What I love is when a real debate happens. Not a fight or shouting match, demonizing each other for not having the exact same beliefs. Those are pointless and just keep us from understanding each other.

When you get into a real discussion with someone who disagrees with you on a fundamental principle of your life, you can start to make sense of the topic in a way that you never have before.

From inside an echo chamber you only know one side of the topic, and staying inside all the time just makes you dig your heels in when presented with information that may prove you wrong.

The way to fix that is to talk with people who you like as a friend already and trust to not think differently of you just because you disagree on a particular subject.

A perfect example that comes from my own life was one of my old roommates. For nearly two years he and I were best friends; and we had staunchly different opinions on the existence of god.
We would have two hour long discussions, fighting tooth and nail to disprove each other’s arguments; but when it came to the inevitable conclusion that ‘you believe what you do and I believe what I do,’ there was never any bad blood. We simply went back to our nightly ritual of beer and Ghost Adventures.

That’s why I find these deeper topics so intriguing. I think about them a lot and don’t have many people to discuss them with, and writing out my thoughts is cathartic. 

So I will try to keep the mood as upbeat as I can throughout my time as editor; but I know myself well enough to say that I don’t know when something turns into too much.

Do me a favor then, and bear with me; and if you’d like to, write a letter to the editor and  maybe we can have an argument together.

It would be good to get it out of your system every now and then.

Andrew Crighton is a senior majoring in political science and secondary education with a minor in history.

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