There are names for human diseases, temptations, losses, dysfunctions, rushes, fears, shocks and pauses. There are names for the things that surround us. There are names for the conceptions that inform our actions. Knowing these words can be very powerful. That may be why we invent them with such alacrity and fashion ever finer slivers of meaning.
The creation story we have from the ancient Hebrews underscores this idea. Among the powers granted Adam was that of naming the plants and animals. We’ve been naming things ever since. Learning is often the retention and rapid recall of names and their meanings. Scholarship is often the coining of terminology. History often turns on the naming of events.
At the risk of getting too worked up over this, the unique power we have as humans to create and recognize a name encases our sentience. For as powerful and unique a thing names disciplined by grammar can be it is shorthand for what goes on in our hearts. Names are not sentient.
That’s why names can be dangerous and hurtful as well as being dispositive and uplifting. That’s why, for all effort bent to the contrary, misunderstandings flourish. That’s why it’s still possible to talk past each other, dictators remain normative and swindlers still earn a living.
I’m just sayin’