By Caden Ziegler
Web Content Contributor
Common Experience at Texas State is the amalgamation of reading, seeing, hearing and internalizing the world around you through the lens of each year’s theme; but it is also so much more. It is an experience that aims to awaken a sense of wonderment and curiosity within ourselves so that we can navigate the rest of our lives with these values and skills.
The US1100 class that every freshman is required to take acts as a mental playground to discuss, study and internalize the themes discussed in the Common Reading. As a part of the class, you have to attend seminars and events that show how the selected theme can be expressed.
You see artists pour their heart and soul from a bottle of ink to a stretched canvas to convey the undercurrent of what you’re studying. You hear from speakers and musicians that tell you their story in hopes of inspiring you. There is something for everyone to enjoy, because it is an experience for everyone who is willing to participate and engage.
The selected theme for this year was “Truth.” The goal is to incite an investigation within yourself so that you are always searching for the truth in any context of your life. How it applies to your studies, your job, your relationships and to society as a whole.
You are looking at how truth can be found even when there are people and ideas in the world that attempt to hide it. Building these skills and learning to sift through all of the garbage is the Common Experience.
Arthur Schopenhauer, a German philosopher, stated that “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
There are times in this world where the truth gets halted at stage two of its journey. Where the truth is cast aside to be replaced by alternative facts. This is happening all around us, which is why the Common Reading for the 2019-2020 year is “What the Eyes Don’t See” by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. Dr. Hanna-Attisha recounts her story of helping sick children in the city of Flint, Michigan in the midst of their water crisis that continues to this day.
The truth is out there, and throughout the year there will be events all over campus that hope to show you how you can help truth get to the third stage of its journey. This is the opportunity to speak your truth, become vulnerable enough to see how different perspectives change individual truth, and finally to see how empathy is the answer to bring the truth of the society away from violent oppression. Investigate truth through this common experience.
Featured image by Caden Ziegler.