What’s in a name?

I have several names.  Which one is  used depends on the context I’m in.

To my mother, I am Barry, because that is the name she and my late father gave me.

To my friends I am Ba, Baz or Bazza.

To my wife, I am Hubby.

To the children I teach, I am Sir.

To the Karma Kagyu Buddhist sect, I am Karma Yeshe Nyima.

To the person I meet on the street or in a shop somewhere, who doesn’t know me,  I am “mate’ or ‘butty” (or “Sir” if they work in the shop and want to sell me something).

Each of these names addresses a different facet of who I am. Everyone sees a different side of me, depending on where we are,  how well they know me,  what I’m doing, and probably various other factors too.

Which one is the real me? Or are they all the real me, simply being expressed in different ways? Or, given that the self is more of an ongoing narrative than a fixed, permanent thing, does each of them represent  fully who I am at one particular time? Am I an integrated person or am I all over the place?

I don’t have the answer to that.  The question itself, though, fascinates me. I suspect that I will spend plenty of time reflecting on it.


3 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. I’m not so bothered about my own concept of self. I see the self as an ever-changing narrative rather than as a fixed phenomenon anyway.

    By “the real me” I mean the real me *at that particular moment in time*, at that point in the narrative that I call “myself”.

    I don’t have a fixed concept of myself any more. However, I’m interested in the idea of whether I am integrated in my dealings with others, or if the different facets they see really do represent discrete, non-integrated personas.


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