Art of argument

The United States is a pretty diverse place.

There are over 310 religions and denominations, differing political stances and a wide array of cultures.

Yet it seems all we want to do is talk with people with whom we agree. We associate only with people who have all the same opinions as us, have shared almost identical life experiences, and see the world from the same perspective as us.

To be frank, this does nothing to benefit an individual.

All this does is confirm biases, validate shortsightedness and create a belief that there is only one way to look at the world.

College provides the unique opportunity for students from all over the world to study side by side, allowing students to create relationships they might never have otherwise.

Yet, is this opportunity being taken advantage of?

Are students actively seeking to broaden their perspective, or are they pulling deeper within themselves and their small circle of friends.

It is easy to spend time with people who agree with you, but it much more fun to discuss life with people who think the polar opposite of you.

How interesting to speak with someone whose life experiences shaped their opinions to be so different than your own.

Argument and debate are treated as negative words, but they aren’t supposed to be.

Argument doesn’t have to be yelling and finger-pointing, and debate doesn’t have to result in attacking a person’s character.

That’s actually an example of poor debate skills.

You may never agree with someone else’s opinion, but being able to hear someone else out without becoming angry and offended is a quality college students should strive for.

Being able to respectfully and sometimes playfully disagree on almost everything, but also be able to walk away in good spirits is a quality our world is in dire need of.

Most people have opinions engraved in gold, framed in steel and fastened permanently in the essence of everything they are.  

In short, your opinion won’t change someone else’s opinion, especially if it seems you are coming off angry and judgmental.

Learn to respect someone else’s viewpoint without feeling your own is being jeopardized.

Who knows, maybe you will realize you don’t actually have it all figured out.