It is several weeks into the Veritas program, and already, drama is starting to brew. Not the catty, high school drama that you’re probably thinking of now (you know, with the gossip and the rumors and the cafeteria confrontations …) No, I’m talking about a whole different kind of drama: The intellectual kind. The kind that teaches us students to wrestle with the ideas of others as well as our own in terms of spirituality and the human nature. The kind that causes us to take sides with one perspective and oppose another. The kind that could start an ideological sparring match between classmates, or maybe even a professor. I guess it is kind of like high school drama, in a way -- you know, minus the hair-pulling.
The reading to blame for the “drama” taking place in my Veritas Symposium is called “Drugstore Athlete,” written by Malcolm Gladwell. In his writing, Gladwell raises plenty of thought-provoking questions: Is an athlete’s use of steroids the equivalent of, say, a depressed person’s use of Ritalin? Should the same rules that apply to the athletic realm also be applied to the social realm? Does dependence on an artificial aid always count as “cheating,” even in medicine? The excerpt was a short, five-minute read, but it was chock full of subtexts and implications that would take hours to read if also written out.
So you can already imagine the kinds of discussions and opinions that were raised in the class discussion. Some took the side of Gladwell, others took the opposite stance, and a few were somewhere in the middle. What really made the debates interesting, though, was how most of us were willing to use our personal experiences as weapons to support our points. Even I was able to gather the courage to share my personal experiences with the whole class, and trust me when I say that I’m not the type to share my personal life with just anyone.
I know a debate was worth my while when it leaves me thinking even long after the discussion ends, and that’s exactly what happened after the “Drugstore Athlete” class discussion was over. Seeing from the perspectives of other people (as well as disagreeing with them) helped me shape my own opinions about things that aren’t limited to those discussed in class -- not to mention that it was also pretty fun.