What's in a name?

It is a simple question but the answer goes very deep.

A child is a raw creative energy. The environment shapes this into a bundle of conditioned behaviours which for the child becomes an identity, bound to the child's name. Hearing that name energises this identity/ego (the way Pavlov’s Dog salivates upon hearing the food-bell).

As the years pass this raw creative energy tends to become buried beneath layer upon layer of unconscious conditioned behaviour. One lives as this identity, this persona, this character.

And that pavlovian trigger is an impediment to the quest of recovering the spontaneity of the child.

‘Pi’ was offered by a man named Jordan some years ago. It helps me remain awake, authentic.

We cannot choose very much in this life. We cannot choose our parents, our backgrounds, our talents, our bodies. But we may choose our responses. Choosing a name reminds us of the things that we CAN choose!

Of course it is no quick-fix. There is always the risk of forming a new identity/ego. We must remember that a name will eventually also have to go. We are all tourists.

One has to question where all of these names came from. It is only in the last few hundred years that we have had written records. This means that if we play by the book, we have to keep recycling the same surnames. This is uncreative! Names were originally chosen to be descriptive: Jacobson, Fletcher, Tanner. We should seek to return to a point where names are descriptive and reasonably unique. In my tennis club we have five Daves, four Adams, four Mikes. It is awkward. The whole point of a name is to identify and disambiguate. In Morocco the majority of first sons are called Mohammed or some variant thereof. This is just foolish.

My parents named me "Samuel Jonathan Edward King". It is quite a mouthful, and uninteresting. And the last name is silly. It is not appropriate. It is pretentious. If I were to identify with this name I would feel embarrassed.