my Tao

the Summer Child – part I

What is in a name? What hidden meaning can be gleaned from something so seemingly innocuous as a name? Or is there something more? This question was best summed up in modern times by Shakespeare:

“Tis but thy name that is my enemy; thou art thyself, though not a Montague. 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;

I wonder this now, having spent an evening face to face with a woman whose name contains a distinct meaning, a meaning from a culture which accepts and promotes usage of descriptions as names. And it has been many cultures across history, many nations, empires and peoples; most notably in this context would be the native peoples of North America.
Pain and private language was one of the first experiences I had in my adult life to be confronted with this question. I was first exposed to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus while working on my undergraduate degree in Philosophy. He started the question, one I have not been able to answer or get out of my head in the years since. In short, his ideas question our ability to communicate effectively from person to person. An aim of his Tractatus then was to reveal the relationship between language and the world: what can be said about it, and what can only be shown. Wittgenstein argued that language had an underlying logical structure that expressly provides the limits of what can be said meaningfully. The limits of language for Wittgenstein were the limits of philosophy themselves. He believed, much as I do, most of what we call philosophy involves attempts to say the unsayable:



“What we can say at all can be said clearly,” he stated. “Anything beyond that—religion, ethics, aesthetics, the mystical—cannot be discussed. They are not in themselves nonsensical, but any statement about them must be.” [134]

He wrote in the preface of the Tractatus:

“The book will, therefore, draw a limit to thinking, or rather—not to thinking, but to the expression of thoughts; for, in order to draw a limit to thinking we should have to be able to think both sides of this limit (we should therefore have to be able to think what cannot be thought).” [135]

To be continued…

But since this is a photo blog, I will leave you for now with is picture, taken while admits a very intellectually stimulating conversation. It had been quite a long while since I have had one of those. My companion thought it should be titled: Chucks over Hiroshima.
We will see about that.


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