“Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”
— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone
When a new entity enters into the world, its christened with the same small ritual that has solidified every being since time immemorial: it’s given a name.
There’s a lot of power in naming. Things that are nebulous and dark are able to haunt us in the shadows of our memory or perhaps even the caverns of the real world — formless, intangible, ineffable. .
Whole civilizations have been tormented by nameless specters.
But giving something a label — a name — strips it of its mystery and perhaps even some of its danger: a ghost, a mental ailment, a devastating sickness. It helps the mind to put a container around fear and arms it with a particular plan of action.
Names can also help us work through emotional pain and trauma.
“It was abuse.”
“I was betrayed.”
They help to open up a path to closure. They bring definition to healing.
However, names can also be restricting. They can deceive us into thinking that a certain label is now an identity we have to adhere to. A simple label given in early can confer an inescapable identity for years to come — one that may not even serve us.
So we must take care of the power of names. For, like so many powerful things in this world, they have the equal power to confer life — and also to destroy it.
Making the unknown…known. That’s a world-shifting prospect .