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The Philosophy of Names

Commonly, names are but combinations of words and/or sounds we use to address, mention or call others. At their most basic level, they are merely tools to identify people and distinguish them from others. That could, or could not be, the only function that is necessary to our names.

If we so choose to see them as more than a way to recognize, then, in theory, they could mean much more. They could, possibly, mark our lives' purpose and destiny. That, however, is only a possibility, but a possibility we don't, nonetheless, have to deny.

In fiction, names usually have much more meaning, as they symbolize a character's function in the plot of the fictitious piece. Scar from Lion King is possibly called like that not only due to his actual scar on his eye, but also because he scarred his nephew's life, Simba, by killing his father, Mufasa, and banish him from a kingdom he was supposed to be its next ruler.

Likewise, Darth Vader is an invader of sorts; his ever-first appearance was when he invaded an enemy ship. The name Lazlo means "He who commands glory", and indeed, Lazlo from Suikoden IV was both an excellent fighter and naval commander.

You see now, that in fiction, characters are often named for a purpose, otherwise non-existent in the real world.

Why? because life isn't a plot as a movie, book or video game is. People overcome many arcs in their lives, and for many people, life is too uneventful to be even considered a story, worthy of our time. Many of us are just too regular, too mundane, to monotone, to interest at least most people.

We don't all have villains, or a conflict, or even a definitive conclusion, other than death itself. When you finish a relationship with someone, the "curtains" don't necessarily set on the "stage"; life just keeps moving on whether or not your next event will be worthy enough of a story to be written on them.

But... what if this isn't always the case? What if this isn't the case at all? What if our names actually refer and influence what's to come in our lives? That, you see, depends on if there is, what one could call, a cosmic writer, just like a writer of a piece of fiction. As long as we don't know, as said before, we cannot deny that as a possibility.

I rarely liked my original name, Tom. It means purity, naivety, and most commonly, finality. Even the first letter, T, is in fact the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, my native tongue. I find it strange, to be born and be referred to as "the end". It's why I've planned for years to change this name to something I would find more appealing to my taste.

We in Hebrew have two variations of Tom, due to this language having two variations of T's. The other T... what does it mean, actually? To be honest I have no idea.

In theory, all our names have literal meanings that could be converted into titles. I used to be the "Final Master of the Ruby Grace", and now I am the Heretic Master of Grace (it changes depending on if you include surnames).

My mother's full name? The Victorious Queen of Printing, and indeed, she's a poet who wrote 2 printed books that were sold. My father's? Red/Ruby Joy, and indeed, I mostly remember him being happy to this day.

Based on these examples, maybe it is possible that our names could change things beyond the form we are identified with. Maybe, the universe, is a one, big stage, defined by a single or group of writers, unseen by us, but perhaps, recognized through our human logic.

Now that I am a "heretic" like Thomas the Apostle, I could better fit into the role I've given myself: to philosophize. Even philosophers who were religious, like Spinoza and Solomon Maimon, were considered heretics by their communities and were persecuted as a result.

Socrates himself was accused of corrupting the youth with his constant questioning, and if I'm not wrong, Ludwig Wittgenstein was a sceptic of philosophy itself, due to his alleged desire to "end it".

When I was a Tom, come to think of it, life was a bit different. Many things ended so quickly, mostly relationships with others. The vast connections I had with people throughout my life, have been vanished, and I eventually became a loner, a hermit, to this day.

I will see, from now on, how many connections with people will end, now that I am not a Tom. Perhaps, after 20, 30 years, I will report about it, and compare, to better try and understand, whether or not, our names have greater power over us.

As for my "nemesis"... Why I was so attracted to her, all these years? I remember thinking, that she was so similar to me, and yet she wasn't... and yet she was, by our names, at least. Now that she's married, I think, let's just say that her new surname now contradicts my former name.

"Chen" means grace, and I am Avichen, or the so-called Master of Grace. Does it mean, that she is now beneath me? A lesser grace? A person, now beneath me?

My former master, the one whom I learned the basics of philosophizing, sees himself a common man, and indeed, his surname means, "A common person". Perhaps this is why he finds so much comfort in anonymity, despite being a veteran philosophy professor. His adoration for laying low, quite saddens me, because I believe he can do so much more for the world. His son's name literally means "intellectual".

Now, with all of this in mind, my readers, I suggest looking at your own names, and consider the contents of this article. Perhaps you could then know better of yourselves, as I did, on myself.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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