Beyond the name: It’s time to dig deeper

Caricature of Xavier Quiles.
(Illustration by: Ian Jackson)
Caricature of Xavier Quiles. (Illustration by: Ian Jackson)

Hi. My name is Xavier Quiles. And that’s the end of this article.

 Just kidding. I would be fired if that were the case. 

But why exactly does this not work? Isn’t telling you that I am Xavier Quiles enough? I mean, this article is supposed to be an introduction to who the new opinion editor is, and that’s me. 

So, now you know my name. You know that I’m the opinion editor, and now you know who I am. You can stop reading and walk away now, right? 

Nope, that won’t work, either. Why? Because knowing the name of something or someone does not tell you what or who it is. When someone calls your name, you turn around and look to see who called you because your name symbolizes something, it means that you are more than the title you are given. What that means is that you have a definition. But you had to learn that after you were born. People don’t automatically know that John means John or that Rachel means Rachel; they gradually learn what their name means, they choose the definition of the term that refers to their own self. Eventually, they may come to realize that they are much more than their definition, so much so that perhaps a whole book could be written about who they are.

And why am I writing about this topic? It’s because many of us tend to be satisfied with terrible introductions like the one I wrote at the beginning of this column, not only when it comes to our personal identity but also when introduced to complex issues. We take religion, politics, science, philosophy and many other forms of information at face value.  We don’t bother to dig deeper, we just want to get on with our lives. But where does that leave us?

 We’ve become a society of weak arguments, increased polarization and constant battles on social media over hot-topic headlines. We generally do not know what is going on. But then again, do we even care? 

Reader, my job as your opinion editor is to help facilitate discussions about important issues challenging our society, but discussion only happens when we care.

 Right now, we live in an increasingly fragmented world filled with ignorance and injustice.  If we didn’t care before about the deeper meaning behind controversial issues, we certainly need to care now. Why? Because if we don’t improve as human beings, society will continue to unravel. We can all contribute to improving the world. And that contribution may start with abandoning preconceived notions about people and learning what someone else’s name actually means.

So, let’s try this one more time. And, hopefully, you will gain a better understanding of who I am  and why I am so excited about serving as the opinion editor this year.

Hi, my name is Xavier Quiles. I am a 22-year-old Puerto Rican who studies film production at Southern Adventist University. I have a passion for learning about people, talking with them and seeking solutions to problems that our world faces today.  

Welcome to the opinion column. I’m so glad you’re here!

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