The naming of names

Everything has to have a name. Or does it? My favourite no-name is Innominate Tarn in the Lake District. There’s also its close relation, Innominate Crag, and I gather even an Innominate Crack up on Simonside in the Cheviots.

Roger Deakin in Wildwood mentions two moths which also have had partial success in resisting our urge to name everything, the uncertain and the anomalous, yes, both names, and both members of the Noctuidae.

Moving from moths to movies, there is of course not the moth but the man with no name…

What is it, not to have a name? Tarn, moths, cowboy, they all have identities. But no past, and no future. That’s the idea anyway. And then there’s Juliet:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.”

She loves the person, not the name. Not Montague.

Well, don’t we have to name everything? Any experience, whether a person, an object, a thought or emotion, even a state of mind, has to have an identity if we’re to recall it. But that way we bring all sorts of other associations into play.

That’s why I like Innominate Tarn: no associations. Uncertain and anomalous moths: they come from nowhere and fly back into the night. And Juliet: she willed that there might be no name, no past, and sadly for her, there was no future either.

I will, if I may, coin a name: innomination, the act of not naming. (Maybe it does exist, maybe someone has beaten me to it.) Something we can only do by not doing. Something to engage in when the hurly-burly gets too much for us.

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