Learning by Watching a Conversation Evolve

I’ve been in San Diego the past couple days for a basketball tournament, and besides playing ball and working on my tan, I’ve had a number of extremely interesting conversations with my friends on a multitude of topics. Most of my friends know that I’m bound to steer a conversation into one of the many waters which interest me (what are we doing on this planet, race/gender/sexuality, psych, etc). My friends are very accomplished academically (my private high school has more National Merit Scholar semi finalists than every other Bay Area private school combined) but sometimes haven’t thought as much some of these more abstract/professional topics as I have. This being said, I still learn a ton from them.

Last night we were at a Mexican place for dinner, and I heard across the table two guys debating whether "outsourcing" is good or bad. I was shocked that they brought this up, and naturally intrigued as someone who is a practitioner and supporter. Most of my buddies have seen "outsourcing" on a newspaper headline or heard about it in the ’04 election, and while most of them were completely off (in my opinion) on what outsourcing actually is, they all agreed on one thing: outsourcing is bad. Whoa! Eventually, they came to a distinction between cultural globalization and economic globalization. They were staunchly against the fact that local cultures are being homogenized, but started to see why capitalism and free trade calls for outsourcing.

It was hard to restrain myself from jumping feet first into the conversation, especially since I love conversations and I love arguments (I learn well this way), but my experience last night taught me that there’s much to be gained from sitting quietly, observing how people form an initial opinion, and then change that opinion in accordance with a more refined perspective.

Now, back to sun, basketball, reading, and most important, more conversations about genetics (is there a gay gene?), gangsta culture, and the relationship btwn religion and evolution.

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