The Power to Name is the Power to Control


Human beings know how to name things. Animals don’t. This enables us to take inventory and reorganize reality, or create our own realities – the results of which can be either amazing or disastrous.

To give an example, suppose your name was Dopey, Grumpy, Bozo, Dupe, Hustler, Killer or any number of other names with a specific meaning that is easily discernible. Chances are, as you grow, through no fault of your own, your life would take on a certain trajectory that mimics your name. After all, your name follows you wherever you go. There’s no escaping it.  Unless you take the trouble to change it, it shapes you; it defines you; it never leaves you alone.

The same applies to labels people assign to you, whether they be letters or numbers. If you’re a Nazi, a Skinhead, a Rapper, a Thug, a Racist, an Islamist, a Liberal or a Conservative. Your label precedes you and sets the tone. And so the power to name or to label is indeed the power to control and to manipulate, both those who are named, and those who come into contact with you.

Depending on your names, you are instant allies or instant enemies, with sometimes deadly consequences. So whatever you do, don’t let anyone define you or define the world around you. Or before you know it, you will find yourself an enemy combatant, cornered and alone.

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