What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
This is a question posed for a long period of time: what is so important about a name? Does a name truly define you as an individual? Surely were I to call myself 'Greg' or 'Bartholomew' or 'Lewis' that would not alter who I am now as an individual. I am not merely defined by my 'Jonathan' name after all right?
I write this post because of an interesting little circumstance connected to who I am and what I do in my life. In my life I have many names. Or rather, many nicknames. It is a very Australian thing to do. I have gone by: Headspin (because of a joke linked to not being able to dance), Duke (for my catching ability), Earl (because of my leg spin bowling), Jon/Jono/Jonny (or other variants) or even simply by my surname. Each of these little nicknames is a reflection on some part of who I am, yet they do not define me in whole. The power of a name is that it exists to provide a particular definition (without knowledge of a person, animal, plant or other item) as to what something is.
For example, I named this blog 'An Ironic Contradiction' for a reason and in doing so I provided a definition of what this blog serves to talk about. For me, that is the ironic contradiction that exists in the ways that we as human beings conduct ourselves: saying one thing and doing another. Because contradictions and how they form have always fascinated me, this lead to me naming my blog a particular way. There is however another example of a name about definition. There is one character in the Bible only mentioned for several verses, by the name of Jabez, which means something roughly along the lines of 'sorrow'. Yet, Jabez is featured in the Bible because of his prayer of faith which leads to increase and prosperity for him. The point I am here making is that while names create definition for other people, they do not necessarily form you into who you are.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!
I refer here therefore to another Shakespeare quote, this time from Hamlet. My point as it stands is that names only in part define you. If we allow ourselves to be defined by any name given to us then most of us will walk around with an 'Idiot' tag connected to our personalities for the rest of our lives. The important thing is not to merely be defined by names or how people act around you but to be true to yourself and to live as you really are - not limiting yourself to a particular view of how you feel one group should see you. It is a harder thing to do than it is to say but it is something I have been working on across my life and something I think we all can strive for. The power of a name is that it provides part of a focus in your life, but we are all far more than merely names on a list.