Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thanksgiving in April: Daniel Mason-D'Croz

Daniel was my best friend in high school.  We ended up going to the same university and going to the same combined computer science and business program, so we decided that we had to room together in the dorms.  This meant a lot of late-night conversations, about anything from video games to philosophy to religion to Jessica Alba, and I adored those conversations.  And of course I had those conversations with other people over the next four years too, but something about insomnia and sharing a cramped bedroom with your best friend leads to an inordinate number of interesting discussions.

Daniel has the rare honor of being the only person I can think of who has actually changed my mind on a religious topic through the power of persuasive debate, which I suppose is pretty impressive given the number of professional preachers I've heard in my life.  I won't get into the details since that's a good topic for an entire series of blog posts, but suffice it to say it was a good discussion, and probably one that kept us up way too late into the night as always.  So thanks, Dan.


Daniel said...

Travis, I was surprised to get a shout out on your Thanksgiving series of posts. I have to say that I also greatly enjoyed our 3.5 years as roommates. I found those long, deep-into-the-night conversations to be equally valuable. Although I must admit I don't recall the religious topic I changed your mind on. I think what was so special about our conversations was that they were less about being persuasive than they were trying to be explanatory and exploratory. Having such an open-minded and rational "sounding board" really was helpful in forming my own ideas. I appreciate your unique and analytical perspective; it has honestly made me better at defining my own opinions and beliefs. I have often missed the tenor of our conversations in the years since we graduated when having to deal with many irrational and close-minded individuals.

As for giving thanks, I feel I owe you as much if not more from our friendship. I don't know if I would have survived JDE with another roommate. In large part, I feel that thanks to your help I was able to learned how to program in spite of the curriculum and JDE professors (Spyros, Chuck, Elbaum, ect.). Since graduation from JDE, I have unsuccessfully tried to escape programming; it has proven to be a black hole that keeps sucking me back in. Your help has proven invaluable professionally. Your clear and logical style to problem-solving has greatly influence the way I approach complex problems.

So before my response goes too far into the realm of bromance ;-), I want to say I greatly appreciated your post. I likewise greatly value your friendship, and the important role you played in an important time of personal and professional development.

Travis said...

The particular issue at hand was divine inspiration of religious texts. My position at the time was that it was irrational to use a religious scripture as a foundation for one's system of morality if you didn't believe it to be divinely inspired. I changed my opinion on that topic a while later and then realized that it all started with that conversation. So basically, inception.