Monday, July 24, 2006

A rose is a rose by any other name

What's in a name ?

A rose is a rose by any other name.

But still we consider rose different from say a lotus? We know that both belong to the phyla flowers, but the properties of both vary to an extent. And it is in these that we sense a distinction. An aberration. A classification which helps us remember that a rose was meant to be a rose. If for a moment, we remove the curtain and see this phenomenon as a flower, or better yet a plant, or still better, 'life' we have contemplated the real meaning.

In programming parlance, Variables have a name, functions have a name. There is a name for place where you store names. It's called memory. Names are also available for data structures like stack. This is still farther from the truth. And then comes the individual components of the program strung together in a formation called a program. And we name this program say Portfolio Tracker. And what does it consist of - an avalanche of still further names. We have names and namespaces with still more names. So many so that we could run right into the definition by using some simple semantic constructs.

In fact our liking for names is so much that we cannot live without referring to a name. A name evokes certain kind of emotions or feelings, if I may, in the tenets of our subconscious. Although, there is one thing about names - they can mean different things to different people. A rose may win you a date, or it may be a heart breaker. But one thing is for sure, we react to names. Names sound a little tricky (considering global references) but then I guess we have substitutes. Take for instance marijuana. Do we know that it's chemical name is metamphetamine; the scientific name is cannabis sativa, (the plant's extract); street names include grass, ganja, thai sticks, smoke etc.

Even the great mantras that are so promulgated in the Vedas are nothing but chants of a name. Imagine if we had no name, how would we ever refer to 'God' probably by a pictogram, or maybe a movement like a cricle - a simple one I presume, or something else, which would appeal the same to all people on this beautiful planet.

Then it will not matter whether you call your God 'Allah' or 'Krishna' or 'Wakan-Tanka'(Red Indian name for God)

Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
(John Lennon, Imagine)



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