A thought relating to names, creativity, existence and the idea of soul searching and finding yourself. It may be a confusing question, I find it tough to word it exactly how I would like but I hope I am able to convey my thoughts as smooth and well as possible. I have one main question but as you can tell I have others throughout the discussion.
As people, we simply percieve and identify. These two things are what seemingly make a human being “a human”. We have a name for something and that’s what it is. It’s limits are set, or should we say it’s practical limits are set. All other knowings of this thing are closed out as we now know it and we have now set it’s place and order. I’m focusing on this aspect in relation to ourselves. This is a thought I had very recently and has me asking myself, and now all of you…
– By giving our children names at birth are we possibly playing a subconscious role in supression of finding one’s most true self?
If you were to come into this world and you were not given a name, but instead you simply lived to be self introspective and learn about yourself, would you be more yourself than the one you know now? You would seemingly be the most pure “self” you could be, right?
Like I said, lately I’ve been pondering this question. At birth we are told who we will be for our life. Of course you can change your name but that’s irrelevant to the topic as I mean the idea of names as a whole, not just limitations of finding yourself due to certain names pertaining to a person.
Now obviously this idea of a nameless society is abstract. Some might say it’s irrational, impossible or ridiculous even because without a name there would be no real order in existence but if you were never told who to be…who would you need to be? Would you ‘need’ to be any one identity? Does a name essentially work as a border when it comes to ones existence? If life is simply existence and being, would it not be enough to simply be able to say “I am”? Because from here on out, I’m playing a part — as we all are, and we were given nametags before we even signed up for the show.
Also, in relation to a names, soul and the idea of reincarnation and the growth of consciousness(if you’re a believer of such things) – do you think names might help this journey and having different names benefits the growth of soul due to different experience or instead they might slow it down as it could act as a disconnection from your purest possible knowing of yourself as we further progress in time as we know it?
I agree that names can have an impact on ones development, particularly if it is a name that solicits bullying, but a name is just a memory tag. When I hear “black bear” as in the animal, the thoughts, emotions, and senses that come to the surface are likely going to be very different than those of the average person, as I worked many years in and amongst them, have been chased by them and even stalked by one. So the common ground evoked by the name is largely limited to shape, size, colour, etc, but we will all attach some kind of emotion to the tag and that will vary considerably.
With people it’s not as simple. John can be from any ethnic background, many different cultures, and many different environments. The only common ground is that we might assume John to be a male human…and that’s even is stretching it a bit. So name tags with humans require other descriptors. If you ask someone what a bear is they will give you their version without hesitation. If you ask them what John is they will need more parameters before they can relate enough to evoke the imprinted emotional response. Once you establish which John you are talking about then you are talking bear (or at least your perception thereof).
Of course it depends on ones focus also. If I was studying a population of bears i would tag individuals with names so that I can describe their individual characteristics.
So names are kind of like a way to narrow focus, but we have to drill down further to get a clear idea of what that name means to us.
@ojai, I just watched “Freakonomics” which talked a little bit about this. They couldn’t find any correlation between what one is named and what that person becomes. However, certain classes have popular names, so if one is born into an upper class and the name Brandy is popular, Brandy will be successful only because of her socioeconomic status and not her name. A person from a lower socioeconomic background will not be as successful–probably–because of where she started from. One rich man named Hogg named one of his daughters “Ima.” It did not I think make her unsuccessful. One man named his children Winner and Loser. Loser became successful, the other not. And of course there is Shakespeare who said that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
@ojai, when you ask the question, which I understand to be the main topic of this thread, “By giving our children names at birth are we possibly playing a subconscious role in supression of finding one’s most true self?”, I have to ask: is your intention to specify the limitations that would be imposed on one sentient being as the “most true self” or do you consider the “most true self” as life in general being labelled into different categories, which would not only consist of human beings, but bears (like Dick mentioned) and even other non-sentient beings such as: books, air, atoms, even the concept of a concept?
Nonetheless if the questioned was specified towards human beings in particular, I think it would be up to that specific person as to what limitations they place on themselves. After all, there are no limitations until they subjugate the consciousness into believing so. For some people, having that name could excel them in life (doing poorly or well in life is a subjective opinion) if they believe it to be so.
If your question was about the limitations we put on life based on the labels we attach to them, I’d have to mention Dick again and how our own experiences equate to the labeling of such events and the subjective knowledge gained afterwards. I obviously do not have the same opinion about bears as he does. In fact, even the most objective of data can only be acquired and perceived in a subjective way. This is because we are not computational beings that interpret reality through a series of one’s and zeros. We are a part of what we observe. Therefor, again, it is only the believed limitations we place on our observable, subjective reality that limit the reality we are a part of.
Lastly, to answer your final question about whether labeling could be a benefit for the growth of the soul, I’d have to ask you to specify again. Is this soul something that is an individual entity, or are you asking the question in which you place the soul as being one with the overall consciousness? I believe in such things, but I still can’t interpret if you do or not. Anyway, all I have to say to answer that question, in both regards, is that life is life. If life wasn’t suppose to do what it does, then there would be no life. It would not have a point. We’ve obviously used lingual labels for thousands of years. However, with all of this practical knowledge we’ve gained by implementing this concept, there is still (I believe) an underlying truth about life that seems to be ever present. I believe that during this period of time, technology and globalization is starting to put this presence into the forefront of our minds more and more often. We start to see the names of countries dissolve into one, unified world. We’ve begun to relate the atoms of stars to the atoms in our stomachs and in our toes. The labels that seemed to have separated sentient beings from the rest of life have appeared to guide us into the interconnectedness of life.
In regards to the quickness of this revelation and how the concepts of labels have sped it up or slowed it down, that’s a question that leads to another answer driven by subjective opinion. All in all, I am very aware that I could be wrong about this, but I believe that I am not. To expand on Pat’s quote on roses, Shakespeare also asked “What’s in a name?”…It’s whatever you believe it to be.