Well, here we go.
I’ve decided to call this blog Name Pending, a somewhat ironic title because the title seems to be self-contradictory: how can someone name something Name Pending? Obviously, the name cannot be pending, as the title suggests, because the title itself is Name Pending! And there we have it. A paradox in the first few words of the first post of this blog. Great.
But a paradox is only something that seems to be self-contradictory and really isn’t when it is examined from a better, more comprehensive perspective.
That means we really can name this blog Name Pending without condradicting ourselves, but we need to broaden our perspective in order to see how it isn’t self-contradictory. By naming this blog Name Pending, I don’t only want to convey the possibility that Name Pending may not be the name of this blog forever, but what I’d really like to do is look to the future in a sense. What I am really doing by calling this blog by the name I have given it is asking the question, What’s in a name? And that’s a question that I hope hasn’t become cliche. Because giving a thing a name–calling it something–is naming it. And naming is strategic, whether we acknowledge it or not.
Let me illustrate with a story.
“You think way too much about it,” my friend Ron told me. I had just told him that I had been thinking about starting a blog for several months but couldn’t come up with a name for it. He asked me to share with him a few of the names I was thinking about, and we brainstormed a few more ideas together. And while we discussed ideas for this blog’s name, I suppose he got more than he bargined for because I eventually started talking about the act of naming in general.
“I think the real problem I’m having,” I told him, “is that as soon as I give the blog a name, I bind myself, since in order for that name to be accurate, everything I write under that name should be related, somehow, to that name. And I don’t want to put myself into a box.” The name is a general principle that guides the rest of what will be written, and I’d here add something one of my favorite writers once said, “Each brand of imagery contains in germ its own ‘logic'” (Burke, Philosophy of Literary Form, 148). I continued, “I guess the most accurate thing I could call this blog would be Jarron Slater’s Blog, since everything I’ll be saying will necessarily be filtered through my own perspective.”
“Nah. Do something better than that!” Ron countered. He was right. Jarron Slater’s Blog is pretty bland.
Well, as of right now, Name Pending seems to be the best I can come up with. Not just because it implies the possibility of names changing in the future, but also because it implies that things change in general and our perspective of things also changes over time. Just as my understanding of a car changes when I learn how to drive one and then changes again later when I learn how to perform maintenence on it, so our understanding of words, thoughts, and ideas changes over time as we progress in life. Here’s a really wordy version of that idea: my perception of what I call one thing at one point in time may change I later return to it. That’s why the name of this blog, in one sense, has to be Name Pending.
So, what exactly is this blog about? It’s about things we’ve discussed in this post. It’s about naming, perspective, and change. It’s about understanding and misunderstanding. But it’s also about something else, a word that I’m hesitating to use. We could say, if you promise to keep reading after I say the word, that this blog is about an age old word that is unfortunately used not often enough and has become taboo in some of the circles in which it is used. The word is philosophy.
But what is philosophy? That’s a question that I’ll have to answer another time. It’s also one that won’t be answered once for all time, but will continue to be answered over time, as we’ll see later. Hence, again, this blog’s title.