I usually hate it when people bandy around insightful quotes like so much sentimental, meaningless, pseudo-intellectual regurgitation. But a high school teacher of mine once said, ‘If everybody is in agreement, that means that nobody is thinking.’
Call me a hypocrite, but I like to toss that one around a lot.
After all, it’s the motto that I’d secretly assigned to the New University after three years on its editorial board. That’s three years of hashing out editorial topics with a dozen or so other college journalists with their dozen or so opinions.
On rare occasions, we agreed with each other easily enough. Vibrating cell phones really are annoying. Michael Jackson really is a freak. Finding a parking spot on campus really can feel like hunting for Sasquatch.
But on too many occasions to mention, we were a body divided, having tizzies over topics covering everything from financial aid for illegal immigrants to, of all things, soda in elementary schools. Unfortunately, it never came to blows, but maybe next year’s editorial staff can change that.
At any rate, if my high school teacher was correct (and I think he was) in equating disagreement with critical thinking, then the New U. is nothing but a big, fat breeding ground for intellectual struggle.
In short, it was everything I ever wanted from college. But where will I find something like this once I graduate?
Other people in my position worry about things like finding jobs or changing addresses. I do too. But I worry more about never thinking again, of never having my opinions challenged.
It’s not that I want to start an argument. It’s not even that I don’t believe in anything. But there is a difference between believing and thinking, between sticking to one’s convictions and recognizing one’s fallibility.
How can people evolve if they’re content to ‘agree to disagree’? They can’t.
I was lucky enough to work closely with people who didn’t resolve disagreements simply by acknowledging them, people who dared to debate and defend their opinions despite knowing that they might have to change their minds in the end.
There are more things in heaven and earth, after all, than any of us can be certain of.
UCI parking notwithstanding.
Gladys Rama is a fourth-year English major.