The activity that gives me the greatest joy is, undoubtedly, intellectual discussions with people from diverse academic, professional, cultural, economic, and social backgrounds. This activity is meaningful to me because it helps me become a better person.
This life is only given once and most of us are lucky if we at least live into the 70s. But even if we could live for thousands of years, it would not be enough to learn the collective knowledge of mankind so far. Thus, one’s capacity to learn on his own is quite limited because he can only read so many books and can only experience so many things. When I engage in conversations with others, it allows me to benefit from their experiences that I may never be able to go through myself. It allows me to gain life lessons for free, the lessons other may have gained by paying a price.
I also enjoy intellectual discussions because they help me become better aware of my own biases and prejudices that may cloud my judgment. We all are the product of our life experiences and circumstances and as a result, we have the tendency to perceive everything through our own cultural lens. But there are as many perspectives as there are cultures. A better way to evaluate things is to realize there are not always right or wrong ways but just different ways. People have different values and their sense of morality and right or wrong may be quite different from ours. We should also realize we ourselves might have been following a different value set had we born in a different culture.
Intellectual discussions help me expand my thinking horizon. Others often point out perspectives or point-of-views I had not considered previously. They sometimes also help me see the flaws in my logic that I had missed out. Becoming aware of different point-of-views help me become a better thinker and also improve my logical reasoning skills.
I also enjoy intellectual discussions because they make me more effective consumer of information and a better citizen of the society. Many of us know that media is rarely objective because they are often driven by commercial interests and/or the need to promote a particular ideology. In other words, they only show us the side of the mirror that promotes their own views and interests. Intellectual discussions help me see other sides of the mirror that media may not show and, thus, improve my ability to differentiate between facts and opinions.
Intellectual discussions have significantly expanded my worldview and make me a better citizen. They have helped me realize that the world is quite huge. As a result, I have learnt to appreciate diversity and change even more rather than seeing them as threats. This will help me fit more easily into today’s world that is increasingly being shaped by forces of globalization and in which geographical boundaries among nations are becoming less relevant. Intellectual discussions also make me fall in love with life even more because I realize the world is so much more exciting and beautiful than we realize. Beauty is not always limited to geographical features but is also inherent in cultures such as food, music, festivals, and folktales.
In fact, one of the greatest appeals to me of attending a college is that I will be in an environment where I will have tremendous opportunities to engage in intellectual discussions. People go to college to learn, thus, I will be more likely to bump into those who are as passionate about discussions as I am. I have no doubt college will expand my thinking perspective even more and help me become more productive member of the society.