To Name an Idea

to name an idea, essence, cognition, word, bartimaeus
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A quote from Thomas L Friedman about naming an idea.

In the world of ideas, to name something is to own it. If you can name an issue, you can own the issue.

In the Bartimaeus Trilogy, the Djinn called Bartimaeus gains power over a magician, and his master, called Nathaniel when he learns of his true name. The true name had enough power that it could control the owner of the name! The novel itself is brilliant, the sarcastic wit of Bartimaeus has to be savoured. I shall write a detailed review later but suffice to say more than handful of wonderful possibilities occur in the novel. 

On another note, forget what it means to an idea, with that we come very very close to the mystic sense of what a name aught to be!

A name is said to stand in for the actual thing it represents in the world of thought.

To understand what I mean by that, let us do a simple exercise. i)Think of nothing, imagine a white sheet, blank space whatever..but nothing and next ii) Think of a white elephant.

Now if you had played along with me, from nothing we could concoct a picture of a elephant in your mind, with just the suggestion of a word.

If we were to talk this up, we could say a word could create stuff in your mind, or the word could materialize things. Perhaps not in the tangible world of flesh and form, but still could create in the mind.

Perhaps this process we followed in my little game applied with some alchemy, could lead to the actual creation of things? Say you utter a word and the thing manifests in flesh and form! I shall pursue this line of thought in another post 🙂

Names were originally the phonetic equivalents of the essence of thing or action or idea.

Follow for instance the evolution of early Sanskrit in an essay by Sri Aurobindo, called Origins of Aryan Speech. In it you would see that root words were inextricably woven close to the actual sense of the act, not the act itself or the thing itself but some untraceable essence of the thought or thing.

Guess that is enough rambling for now! What do you think? What connections could you make?

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Can a Single Word Contain the Universe?

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The short-story has seemingly lost its provenance. The novel as a literary art form seems to wash out everything else in its surge. This is the basic premise of an essay on the New York Times and a brilliant one at that and filled with acute insights as an essay should be.

What made it interesting enough for me to share it with you? Well read on. First the key quote:

Its(The short story’s) method is revelation. Its littleness is the agency of its power. The ponderous mass of the novel strikes it as the laughable image of weakness. It exults in its shortness. It wants to be shorter still.

It was here that my mind slowed down, to mull in delicious anticipation on where this line of thought could lead to. And then came this..

It wants to be a single word. If it could find that word, if it could utter that syllable, the entire universe would blaze up out of it with a roar.

Oh boy! My mind stood stunned at this. How can an essay on the short-story as an art form lead to such a conclusion?! And I thought about Om..

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Om, was the word the Rishi confronted when he plumbing the depths of consciousness. At the very heart of things, when rolling back time and creation, there stood this word in isolation. Om it was, the pranava.

What amazes me above all is the connectedness of things. I have heard that the degree of separation between each individual on earth is 6. By that measure what would be the degree of separation between everything and the Creator/Unknowable/Divine/Father etc.?

I found this story via a post on Kottke. Head there right now, if you want to stumble upon interesting stuff! 

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