Nothing has happened to me. I am perfectly okay. I am traveling and working and meeting with other judges and justices of the peace around the country, and meeting with researchers into topics of law and history….. all the things you can see that I do, sometimes require travel and collaboration and face to face meetings. For the next three weeks I will be on a short tether so far as time to write articles is concerned, so, please bear with me.
The last few days have focused on the topic of names—- what is a name, what do we use it for, what is a legal name versus a lawful name, etc., etc.
Most people take their name for granted and identify themselves with their name. They think that they are “Joseph Allen Blount” or “Virginia Marie Casper”—but in fact, their name is a separate and alien thing. Your name isn’t you. It is instead a tool and a possession, like a shovel or a rake or a lawn mower. It is yours in the same sense that a bicycle is yours.
So that is the first thing you need to understand about a name.
The second thing you need to look at is that names are not necessarily unique. If you have a name like “Anna Maria Wilhelmina Hanna Sophia Riezinger-von Reitzenstein von Lettow-Vorbeck” chances of there being more than one of you are significantly decreased, but it is possible for there to be more than one of any name. And with some names like “James Robert Brown” it is almost guaranteed that there are multiple people who use that same — or a very similar —- name.
Humans use names primarily for two purposes— to identify and to categorize. It’s part of our sorting system. ‘We have a category we call “Horse” and in the category we have “Feverish Fetlock”—- the name of an individual horse.
So also we have a category called “Texan” and the category “Hank William Coleson” — the name of an individual Texan.
Usually our sorting system uses names or terms to identify what something or someone is in our system of thinking about things, and the name to specifically identify one individual.
But what happens when you have two or three “Henry Johnsons” to deal with?
Over the next week or so, we will discuss this topic more—- for now, please sit down and think about your name. What is it? How is it used? By whom? Why?