Tag Archives: Name

Christopher

When the men hammered the head of the fish, the boy screamed, crying. In the short time it had lived in his bathtub, he had grown fond of the big swimming creature. He’d named it Christopher. It’s understandable that the boy loathed the act of his uncles. But our Christmas meal was at stake and the young emotional bond had been destined to be ignored.

It’s a Buddhist belief that if you give someone or something a name, you make a claim to that which you name. It means that young parents who, out of duty, name their newborn Pete, immediately make it their possession. But it also means that if you give your partner a nickname, this person or the aspect you named, becomes your property.

Adversely, when you give someone your name, you give that person ownership over you. And every time this person calls it, he or she summons your attention. Have you felt that? It’s an excellent sales technique and a good way to get yourself liked to call another by his name. The other way around: creating a name for yourself or your organisation, makes you graspable to the audience and by that less threatening.

It would be an act of liberty, in this perspective, to invent a new name for yourself and keep it secret. That would give you a claim to yourself that no one else has. A different approach would be to behave in a way that is not expected from your personal or family name. But the freest is he or she who detaches from all names that are given to him or her. The one who doesn’t have a name.

I would take this idea a step further and say that any judgement people make of each other is an attempt to seize something. Calling another by his or her profession, for example, or by a political preference, or cultural background has this same effect of occupation, even if you don’t attach a value to it. Even thinking it has that effect. We allow each other a certain degree of possession over ourselves by sharing who we are, but set limits as well. And by conceptualizing, we are determining our place in a hierarchy.

You could say that the idea of ‘not being understood by anyone’, something we all have to a certain degree, is a result of being judged in an inacurate way. It could be solved by giving your loved ones the names you secretly hold for youself. Yet while we give these names away and create a space for trust through which we can bond, we also hand over part of our autonomy.

As we could see in the case of the death of Christopher the fish and the reaction of his young friend, these things can have enormous emotional implications. ‘You never call me honey anymore’ means that you’re no longer taking your claim of this aspect of her that you once shared. Changing your official name is a deliberate act of breaking out from the property of your parents. The name switch of women after marriage is comparable.

A friend once called me ‘joyful sailor of dreams’. This blog is a tribute to something she observed in me. Reappropriated, as you can see, but I’m still thankful. By that simple act, she called something into life. This is what the boy did with Christopher. It’s no more than a memory now, but who knows what that will grow into?

It’s probably because I agree with this Buddhist theory that I have become a writer.

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Revolution

Whoever wants to deny it is welcome to. Things are easy to deny in days with enough information to support any point of view. Some would believe such a denial at first. People with their eyes closed. Still, we’re at the dawning of a global revolution. Perhaps it needs a new word.

Some are speaking about it. Internet revolution, plastic revolution, food revolution… even Yoga revolution is a used term these days. The Arab people take over leadership. The Tibetans burn themselves to tear the Chinese credibility apart. In South America, people slowly start benefitting from the global economic growth. But this revolution is not about these rebellions.

I have looked for work for more than a year now, and I have spotted a hype in the job market. “Space for talent development in a quickly changing professional environment”. All employees mention it. The authorities are allowing us to become who we are. This revolution is not about that either.

It is becoming clear that our impact on the Earth’s environment has many facets. Programs are being shaped to avoid the sea from becoming a plastic soup. People bring down their own CO2 emissions and choose to live in healthier environments, eating healthier foods. This revolution is not about them.

This revolution is about you and me. Friendships, or, as someone just beautifully misquoted on Facebook, soulfucking. It is about the fact that in each others’ eyes, we can be more than a name, more than a number. It is about learning that instead of being robbed of our attention by smartly designed products, we can give our attention to those in our surroundings that we love. It is about the realisation that regardless of our circumstances, we are free. Once again we learn to exchange.

So how about Soulfuck Revolution?