Don’t Shy Away

The ephemeral excitement I felt five hours ago has drifted away. My eyelids feel like stone, but succumbing to the fatigue that permeates every corner of my body is not even a remote possibility. The objects around me have melted into one another, and the room steadily becomes a blurry mess, intensified by the harsh fluorescent light that pounds relentlessly against my forehead. Weariness has invaded my brain to the point where I can barely read, let alone compose a sentence to busy the cursor that blinks on my computer screen, no doubt taunting the feeble products of my beleaguered brain. My digital clock reads 5:00 a.m. And I begin to doubt whether it is worth finishing. And then it’s over. At 6:00 a.m. that same morning, I completed and submitted my application for a position on Associate Board CXXXIII of The Phillipian. If Andover stereotypes mean anything at all, then you will agree that staying up all night as a Lower is something that is just not done. Such deranged antics are best left to Upper Spring, finals week and Head of School Day (who knew there were people on ChatRoulette at this hour of the night?). After all, what kind of farcical notion could possibly cajole frail young Lowers to subject themselves to the trials and tribulations so ominously known as the “all-nighter?” Although it took me this quite miserable experience to formulate a decent answer to this question, I earnestly believe that the result was worth the ordeal. I find solace in the chaos of argument and conflict. I feel more comfortable when there is disagreement than when there is not, and I am sure that I am not alone in this outlook. This is not because I take joy in tearing others down or diminishing the significance of their ideas. On the contrary, such an approach goes directly against the foundations of rational and productive discourse. Rather, I mean to state that the only genuine progress that arises at this school, as well as in other communities, is the offspring of rational discourse and debate. That is why I put myself through what I consider to be the worst night of my Andover career. That is why I am grateful I was put in a position where I could both facilitate and promote the discourse that is necessary to produce change at this school. And that is why I am even more grateful that I now have a chance to continue encouraging that type of discussion on the Andover campus. To point to a specific example, I would like to address the recent Letter to the Editor written by Julianna Meagher ’11. There are elements of the letter that are both controversial as well as disturbing, and am not in a position to comment on whether the statements made in the letter are true or not. However, I fully support Meagher’s to decision to include these comments in her piece and urge the rest of the Andover community to act in a similar manner. We cannot afford to shy away from issues simply because they may be uncomfortable to discuss. If any progress is going to be made in addressing these potential problems, we must handle them through the use of rational, intelligent discourse. To avoid discussion, argument and debate simply because of a lack of interest, a sense of unfamiliarity or a feeling of nervousness towards the issue at hand is both dangerous and irrational. We are, as a whole, a community geared towards the concept of intellectual progress, which can only be fully accomplished through intelligent argument. Andover is an environment perfectly suited for such discourse. That isn’t to say that you should stay up filling out applications. However, if that is what sparks argument, then so be it. Chris Meyer is a three-year Upper from Darien, CT. He is a Commentary Editor for The Phillipian.