What’s In A Name? A Rose…

A rose by any other name….. Maybe, maybe not.  A new French book, La Force du Nom was reviewed by Mavis Hines.  The book  sounds like a real gem – makes me wish I paid more attention in my high school French class. So, this post is taken from a review making it at least three degrees of separation from the original work.  Oh, well.

If you haven’t given much thought to the power of names, here are some fascinating facts:

1. We respond with our own name when asked “who are you?” when we are introduced and many other times. Point: When called into question about being in this world, we respond first with our own name.

2. The author calls names “our most intimate house”. We greet people from this place.

3. Other people may imagine us through our names. Just think about your image if I tell you that Gretel is joining us vs. Brittany.

4. Our name testifies to a personal and collective history that includes family, religion, culture and even the popularity of a particular decade. When I hear that a woman is named Linda, I expect her to be around my age, not in her 20s, 30s, or 40s.

5. Our name may have predated our birth make it less about our uniqueness than our parent’s predilections.

6. Naming a child

my friend found a good site

is surrounded with rituals that acknowledge the significance of bestowing a name on a baby.

There is much more but I found that these ideas gave me much to think about, including the names that I gave my own children. It also makes me think even more about adopted children who are renamed, people who choose new names for themselves, women who choose to not take (or to take) their husband’s name, and the “Americanization” of names for immigrants.

Source: Spring, 2012, Division, a quarterly Psychoanalytic Forum

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