In the Name of a Name

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What do we mean in the name of the name? Everyone has a name. Some have a family name, others are named after their father or a deity. Some even have nicknames. Naming involves an auspicious ceremony. We live and die to make a name. Our name makes us feel proud as well as humiliated. It is the sweetest sound to us. We invest a lot to make a name. The name also makes us. The name becomes our identity. It is through the name that others recognize us. There is no one without a name. Our name opens and closes the world to us. It fixes us and somewhat limits us. Our life then remains within the range and radius that is allowed by our imagination that is intertwined with our name. It opens us but it closes to only the possibilities opened by its range. We live in the name of a name. We live in our own name, in the name of our caste, community, and nation. We are called into being by our name. Our name opens the possible world. But we can do the impossible and go beyond the limits of the name.

How do we deal with difference and otherness? Often we exhibit cannibalistic tendencies. We seem to eat the difference of the other. This tendency to assimilate and digest otherness is the cause of several ills that we face today. We can see this tendency to claim mastery over the other in the process of naming. We can see that it all began with Adam. There is politics in the name as well as in the practice of naming. Naming can set us into action to live by our name. We are drawn to save the name. Our name survives us. It is archived into memory. Our name also delimits us. It sets us a role to live. It does not limit us. It offers us possibilities to reject the role and become someone that counters our own name. We can erase our name by de-semiotizing its layers of meanings. This means our name is made to pass through a semiotic black hole and we reach an amorphous namelessness. We can live without our name.

This means that the name that we have been given is not a real name. It is a name for our real name that cannot be named. It is a name without a name. Namelessness is a name. Actually we are nameless. Our name archives us. It is a mode of identification. We are not reducible to our name. We are not our name. Our name cannot capture our reality. Our names name our nameless side. Unfortunately, we invest a lot into our name. Our name is sacred to us and cannot be violated by anyone. But the real sacrality of our name is in the fullness of its uname-ability. We cannot limit its unbound texture by the boundaries of our name. Names merely call us. They do not fully call us into being. There is an irreducible side to us and naming cannot exhaustively empty it. Our name cannot be named and is nameless and remains unknown to us. There is a crypt that hides our nameless name. It is a void and a point of dispersion. This means our names are haunted by its unname-ability. We are haunted by our namelessness when we act in our name.

Someone may ask, what is there in the name? It simply says that our name fails. It cannot name us. There is already namelessness in our name. This is why when we ask the rhetorical question, ‘what is there in the name?’ the answer to this question is nothing. But that nothing is not no-thing. Here nothing means namelessness. This means namelessness slips into our name leading it to the truth of our life. We are truly unnameable. Our unname-ability is our real name. Our name, therefore, is nameless. The name that is used to call us cannot name us. The nameless name, therefore, names us without naming us. We carry the signature/ trace of unname-ability in our name. There is excess in our name. Our name is transgressive. Our name somehow names our unname-ability. Our name is displaced and dislocated by the fullness of our unname-ability. Our name therefore while naming us also names the unnamable in us. But it also unnamed our unname- ability. It both names and unnamed our unname-abilty. This is because the name belongs to the generality. It cannot fully stand for our unique singularity. It is overnaming the nameless. This singularity has another name. We call it: difference. This is why there remains excess that is unnamed by the name. Name castrates the unnamed. In some way, it does not allow us to name it. Paradoxically by not naming it, it names it. It points its finger to it. It manifests to us the inadequacy of the name. This is why our name is carnivorous. It eats the unnameable in us.

Seeing the unnamed in the name is humbling. It opens us to the fullness/ pleroma of being. It manifests that name is lacking. It lacks the fullness of unnameability. It opens a gap between the nameable and the unnameable. This is why we seek to save our name or make our name. Name, therefore, becomes sacred to us. It is the sweetest sound that we like to hear. It makes us give our name to everything. We enjoy seeing our names inscribed in the signboards, newspapers, books etc. We think that everything has to come under our name. We get drunk under the power of our name. When we lose our name, we feel that we have lost everything. Therefore, our name becomes everything. But our name is fragile. It cannot be inscribed everywhere. It also has a tendency to sink into the fullness of unnameability. We have to understand the limits and possibilities opened by a life lived in our name. It is also possible to live life in the name of the unnameable. We are all unnameable. Besides us God is unnameable. Entering the domain of the unnameable, we can do the impossible.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao