What's In a Name?

Have you ever been told a story where some names were dropped and you had no clue as to who the people mentioned were? Or, have you ever seen the opening or closing credits of a movie and realized that you had absolutely no idea who any one of the people's names displayed were? If you have, you may have realized that unless you know a person, their name is a mere shadow of a representation of who they are.

Providing less clues to the nature of their character than a silhouette, a name only begins to have significance once the person it belongs to is known to some extent. Even then, a name is only associated with how we ourselves see the person it belongs to. If we are not exposed to a person's multifaceted nature, we usually only see them one way. The name becomes one dimensional.

Words are like the names of what ever emotion or concept we are trying to express at the time. They are static. Like a snapshot or a statue, they remain inanimate while the subject captured continues to live and evolve. This is how and why language so often gets in the way of true communication.

Words don't allow you to feel what the person who spoke them felt. You only feel your interpretation of what you think they felt. Sometimes your interpretation is accurate, and sometimes way off. When it's off, people think they understand when they do not.

Words like God, heaven, the devil, hell, blasphemy, sin, and a long list of others are all up for debate on meaning because people's interpretations of them are different. This is an illustration of why the experience of enlightenment can not be captured in words. The words can only serve as a pointer. Enlightenment is just a name, but you have to get to know who it really is.

Related post: Words Can Not Express...


Anonymous said...

Words do fall short. They can only ever serve as signposts. But I suppose we need them to function here on the planet. Or do we?

Anonymous said...

I like this...especially the last bit! :)

Unknown said...

It is sad but true. People confuse words with reality.
I guess that is why we have so many wars and conflicts.
We take words to seriously, meaning to lightly and we ignore reality.
Great post!

C. Om said...

@ molly
At least for now we do. Who knows? Maybe we will one day progress to a point where we can read each other's vibrations.

@ Anne Partain
My appreciation Anne

@ Buddha
Thank you! I knew you could relate :-)

Anonymous said...

Based on this post, you would appreciate Franz Kafka's book entitled, The Trial. The absence of name details does not detract from the impact of experience. I fact, some people would say that removing names and other labels enables you to get closer to the truth.

C. Om said...

Liara, I have heard the same about the absence of names making the truth more evident. There is less to associate with in the mind and more being in the moment and paying attention.

Thanks for the title. :-)