Prof. Quillen: Homo Narrans

Tuesday September third, Professor Quillen delivered a speech akin to the first lecture we had in Humes a week prior. She argues that liberalism, despite its highly positive potentials, also harbors the power of rapid-fire dehumanization. The universalization narrative that liberalism tries to sell can easily lead to overlooking or discriminating against those who do not perfectly fit the mold. Prof. Quillen urges us all to push past such generalization, and value people through their presence as a storyteller than by the rights they bear. Though this approach in no way can solve the “metanarrative” of a situation, it is more helpful for creating human connections. Dismissal of someone else’s reality simply because you have not personally experienced the same hardships as they have is dangerously dismissive of their existence as a human being. It’s harder to exclude someone when you listen to their story. It can be fatal to remain complacent and choose a side when the stakes become high, especially when coming from a place of privilege. I strive to be open-minded in all conversations, and deeply love many who strongly disagree with me because we see each others’ humanity beneath our conflicting approaches to life. Though we may find it near impossible to empathize with other people’s opinions, we need to respect their validity because their ideas stem from their life experiences and not our own. The frame of reference that we use in our day to day life needs to continuously expand if we are to truly progress as a society.

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