Did you have the opportunity to experience open debate in college?
Risky question that will likely get me in some trouble. I don’t mean this to be. Just throwing this out there because it’s been on my mind…
I’ve been trying to figure out why there are so many ruffled feathers here on fluther lately, and it occurred to me that it might be cultural issue about the nature of investigation and debate overall, that is often fostered in college.
The nature of (good) college experience is to get that critical thinking reflex to start firing. Nothing is sacred or off limits. So gender, class, economic theory, sexuality, religion, history, science, race, etc. are all things that are debated constantly. More importantly, you can’t make a statement without being prepared to back it up. “The sky is blue.” “Oh, really….I’d be interested in your evidence for this.” It’s not personal, and it does wonders for sharpening those important faculties that humans have for reason and critical thought.
So, it occurs to me that many people might not have had the opportunity to experience this. To them, it might feel less like the discussion and debate of ideas, and more like an attack on the very essence of who they are. If you’ve never had to look at – and defend with facts and reason – all of those things I listed above just so you can pass a class, it might feel very uncomfortable.
Outside of the type of hyper-critical environment that college provides, there are very little opportunities to experience this, unless you surround yourself with these type of people.
So, at risk of sounding like I am making a “oh, so you haven’t gone to college” snob argument, I will make these comments and prepare to feel the heat. If I’m wrong, let me know. If I’m on to something, let me know. It would be helpful to understand why things that seem to be “obvious” to some (that debate of all ideas is important) feel “offensive” or “oppressive” to others.
Disclaimer: I am not very bright. This has nothing to do with how smart someone is. I’m trying to discuss the habitual patterns that our minds take when we approach the world. What is our take (critical, noncritical, etc) on experience and ideas? And what influences such approaches?