What’s in a Name? Help Wanted.

Warren Kinston 8. February 2012 10:52

I am currently struggling to get a phrase right.  Well, not exactly a phrase—a name.

Can you help me?  I hope so.  Let me put you in the picture.

The heart of the Taxonomy is identifying something and then giving it a really good name, so that everyone can immediately recognize what is being referred to.  The goals are: precision (i.e. exactness), resonance (i.e. generates the right vibes) and differentiation (i.e. discriminates from related, similar things).  Of course, in the process of identifying anything, I have to use words to describe what I am focusing on.  These are usually imperfect names,  that get refined as the discovery and development work proceeds. 

If you wish, read more about getting names right.  

Occasionally I get a good fix on the thing, but I just cannot get comfortable with a name.  I am currently in the middle of such a situation.  Perhaps egocentric bias is standing in the way.

It would be great to get some proposals for a name, or even suggestions for how to think about the name.  Let's get to the substance now so you can turn your mind to the issue.

This problem lies in the purely personal part of the Taxonomy, near its origin.  Inside “PURPOSE”, there are systems that form our “purposes of life”.  I call these our Primal Quests.  When we pursue our personal Quest we feel happy.  The Primal Quests were fairly easy to name.

Inside one of those Quests—OBEDIENCE—there is a set of rules that we use when we want to activate a “better self to inhibit or restrain our natural egocentricity.  I call these the Primal Injunctions.

The Primal Injunction giving me difficulty was called Know your Duty, during my early explorations.  But I quickly realized that this was unsatisfactory, because mafia bosses and politicians alike know their obligations but that doesn’t bother them.  I did not like “Do your Duty” because, although it is active, it seemed more suitable for boy scouts, the military, or perhaps a civil service bureaucrat.

This Injunction has to do with handling especially chaotic or complicated social situations where there is no definitive answer.  In these cases, it is up to you to perceive, value and act, in accord with what you think is right, given your situation and who you are.  This means that you have to virtually invent your duty and then act on it, knowing others may well not support you.  Such situations are exactly those where there is a strong inner tendency to do what everybody else does (or even whatever you can get away with)—even though that may certainly violate ethical maxims, agreed obligations, duties &c.

I tried “Know What’s Right—but this is no better than “Know Your Duty However, it is progress, since I much prefer using the term “Right—because it balances “Goodness in another Injunction.  Then I thought that perhaps we had to indicate a sense of awe and inspiration.  Perhaps: “Revere What’s Right—we can be sure Mafia bosses don’t do that!  But is this phrasing too precious?  What about: “Adhere to What’s Right?  I don’t like four words, even if one is small, so “Follow What’s Right—at least that’s only three words.

I’m giving up at this point.  Give your view of these various options or, better still, suggest something else: something that really hits the nail on the head.

I’ll be most grateful.



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Warren Kinston is the creator of the THEE-Online website as an open forum for the further discovery and development of THEE. He writes this blog as an escape valve for the excitement and frustrations of the work. More info here.

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