9.25.2004

The Bubble That Exists

The Opinions editor at the Echo has been bugging me to write a letter to the editor since the beginning of the year. I think this is mostly because Matt, the photo editor said to her, "Opinions? Joanna has opinions! You should have her write something!" and got this whole thing rolling. But that's ok. I've been racking my brain for an idea since early in the year, and I've finally got one. This blog entry is basically going to be my brainstorming-that-will-hopefully-turn-in-to-a-letter.
So here's my idea: There was a letter to the editor in today's paper denying the existence of the Taylor Bubble. The author specifically said the bubble is "a myth" and "completely absurd." He argues everyone is in a bubble, and the way to pop the bubble is "to surround oneself with similar people who hold different views and ideas, have easy access to high-speed internet, read papers detailing world events, have ideas waiting at your meal table, maybe live within 30 seconds of a huge library..." and then makes the claim that we at Taylor fit this criteria. It is the last point I take issue with.
"surround one self with...different ideas"
I'm not sure what 'different ideas' Alex is talking about, but, as you would expect, I haven't run in to any staunch atheists or Unitarians or Muslims at the DC or Union. We go to a Christian school, so everyone has the same worldview on life, the universe and everything, go figure. In my book, different ideas on petty issues such as women in the church or infant baptism does not count as 'diverse ideology'.
"have easy access to high-speed internet"
This one I agree with, obviously, but do not think 'having high speed internet' necessarily equals 'people utilizing the internet to break out of the bubble'
"read papers detailing world events"
First, I have yet to see a 'paper detailing world events' to show up in my dorm this year. But that's another issue. When they are delivered here, 75% of the papers are never touched, and the ones that are generally have been picked through for the comics and crossword section then replaced. This makes me sad, for if we claim to care about the world, wouldn't we also care about the happenings in it? I don't see a passion for that, generally, around campus.
"have ideas waiting at your meal table"
I really respect the group I sit with at meals. I wouldn't trade them for the world. With a certain combination of people, we can have profound conversations, but it often ends in everyone agreeing with each other, due to the same worldview. To truly refine what I believe and why, I need to dialog with people who disagree-people who exist, but not within the bubble we tend to exclusively dialog inside.
"live within 30 seconds a huge library"
I love books and I love libraries. They are probably my favorite hiding place- I even worked at one for over 2 years during high school. However, I would by no means describe our library as 'huge'. As for it enabling us to get out of the bubble, it helping us understand the world outside and how they think... I did a small study. I checked to see which of the authors in the Publisher's Weekly top 10 of non-fiction best-seller list are contained in our library, and which of the top 10 authors on the religous best-seller list are contained in our library. I omitted one book contained in both lists, and found that 8 of the 9 authors on the religious list had books in our library, while we have access to only 2 of the 9 overall non-fiction best seller authors. While I am delighted we have the resources we do, I think it is not completely fair to say that the library provides an opportunity for us to 'get out of the bubble' in a way relevant to communicating with the world outside of the bubble.

As has been demonstrated, we are sheltered in a bubble, of sorts. I have talked to people who are glad of that, saying they need the haven from the stresses and confusion of the world. I would challenge students, however, to not be content to passively accept this bubble. If we are to reach the world, we must be relevant to the world. I would suggest our message is relevant and timeless- there's no denying that, but if we can't communicate with the culture, we are lost.
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I need ya'll's input here... this post is almost exactly TWICE as long as a letter to the editor is allowed to be. What here ought to be taken out? What do you think about the "mythical" bubble? What points ought I to mention but didn't? Am I way off on my observations? Let me know.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

I finally read the original article that you refer to, so I feel that I understand a little better. :-) First, I kind of got the impression (though I don't think he expressed this very clearly) that he is saying that we use the bubble as an excuse, and is encouraging us to make the efforts to break out of the bubble. But in response to what you said... Living offcampus (even if it is Fairlane) has given me a different opinion of Upland. For the first time, I've noticed that Upland is more than Taylor. I like living in this community. I feel that it's easy to have no clue about Upland outside of Taylor if you live in the dorms the whole time. The bubble is not a myth; it is very much there. You have to make an effort to not live in it. Some people do this, but I believe the majority of Taylor students don't. I appreciate groups like IFC (Integration of Faith and Culture) because I feel that they are trying to help Taylor students relate to the secular world without compromising our Christian beliefs. When was the last time the campus got into a huge debate and really disagreed over an issue? I think all your comments are good... I'm trying to find something that you should take out and I can't... I'm sorry!! Maybe I'll talk to you in person about it because this comment is getting long. I would email it to you, but you complain that no one comments. Here! this makes up for all the times I haven't commented. :-)

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