I allow myself to voice a thought based on mere observation and intuition but it occurred to me that nicknames are going out of fashion. I rarely see a post or an article signed by a name that looks fake. People use real, or something that looks like real, names to communicate and present themselves. Names that follow a format. Especially when it goes to a serious content, something that has to be reliable and credible. When the signature consists of a first and a last name it radiates more trust so we buy into it. There is no preliminary suspicion about the content which provides a good entry point to convince the reader. While, this is the case, the truth is becoming more and more inaccessible and vague. What is going on here and does it has an effect on how we experience people on individual level? When we become suspicious about the content would that also make us suspicious towards people in general? It feels like a self-perpetuating situation that reinforces self-initiated negative feedback loop.
What makes a name so credible? It is in the passport, on official documents, you are interwoven with it in myriad of ways but what does it actually has to do with you? Everything that name accumulates is formed by the social and cultural domain. It can’t be seen beyond that. To change your name isn’t easy from legal perspective, what it represents must be difficult to alter. And it is understandable of course, it allows us to function as society, build agreements and hold each other accountable. No system is interested in supporting untraceable and fugitive individuals. And as we know, we like the support and safety the social structures can provide. When used wisely structures are very handy tools to cultivate virtue and live fulfilling life in harmony with the environment. I do feel though that by clinging so much to our names, especially when we enter adulthood, makes a lot possibilities of personal mental development inaccessible.
Made-up names are definitely used in particular contexts, sexually tinted and illegal activities still pretty much operate like that. Everywhere where your personality must remain secret, in the case above either because of shame, play or a criminal justice and privacy. In both cases, I feel that the function to nicknames is different. In sexual play you want to be found in a certain way, other than your default social role. And in illegal activities, you don’t want to be found at all.
I see three possibilities to use names. A name that can be found at any moment by everyone. The name that wants to be found but not by everyone and not always. The name that doesn’t want to be found unless you want it yourself.
I miss the potentiality and this multifunctional depth a name can serve. I’d like to be able to change the paint on my entry door when I meet someone without it being seen as asocial and dangerous behaviour. Today I thought of changing my name in the messenger app into something else. I opened the settings to make the change but didn’t do it in the end. It feels so big and sacred that I doubt whether my desire to explore the change is a good reason for such a move. And the stronger I feel the tension and weight of this decision the more curious I become about my experience if I would dare to do it. Even thinking about it and sensing this internal conflict is already quite fulfilling.
The longer I carry my name the more inflexible it makes me. Context can be great but also so difficult to get rid of and arrive to something other than knowledge. I was fantasising about the possibility of not having a context, once in a while I talk to complete strangers trying to sense their being without additional framing. Very rarely I escape the temptation to look them up online, but once I do it I feel that the possibility of a different type of contact slips away. There is something truly magical in knowing nothing and be left with what is. You must activate your senses and do some work to experience the other. This layer of connection is only possible for a brief moment, its luring liminality is evanescent.
The name change seems appealing and potentially dangerous. The temptation is strong, let’s see where it will bring me.