This blog has moved to Medium

Subscribe via email

The power of names

The power of names has been discussed in our culture for millennia. In fantasy novels, people guard their true names and banish or control their enemies by invoking their names.

There is a basis to this lore.

Giving something a name, or learning its name, is powerful. It allows you to refer to that when conversing with other people, to seek knowledge about it, to attack it or connect with it. It allows you to build upon it.

Language is, by and large, a never-ending collection of names. Names of people, of actions, of ideas, of things. When you reason about something without giving it a name, your thought process is more cumbersome than it can be. The act of naming a thing encapsulates it into a box, and allows you to build greater and greater ideas from these boxes.

P.S. I can’t finish this post without giving one cool example of a name used as a key theme and plot point – our beloved Doctor Who. This idea is pivotal to the very name of the show … Doctor Who. What is his real name? Nobody knows, he is just “The Doctor”. His name is later in the show actually used as an incantation, a secret his enemies seek, a riddle, a signal of trust. There is even an episode called Name of the Doctor.

One Comment

  1. ponetium:

    Lovely. I learnd some new stuff from the links you posted.