Skip to content

Personal Names, Identity, and Culture

A couple weeks ago, I was chatting with PrettyNerd and we stumbled onto an interesting topic: the lack of power in deciding one’s own name, and symbolically one’s identity, in today’s society.

i don’t think i ever actually told you, but i love your name.
Cody A. Ray:
thank you. (not that i had anything to do with selecting my name)
rhahah yeah, right? you didn’t exactly have a meeting while in the womb to discuss your future identity
Cody A. Ray:
isn’t it interesting that in today’s society we as individuals have no part in selection of one of the central tenements of our identity–our own name?
yeah. and its the most fundamental thing of our identity

Perhaps there’s something to be learned of ancient Rites of Passage, after which one assumes a new identity, often including a new name (either self-selected or selected together with your tribal community).

I found a couple interesting posts on this subject:

Some related traditions still include such events, most notably the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, the Débutante Ball (which still occurs in some social circles), and the Sweet Sixteen (which can be argued has lost all significance and meaning through its modern popularization, e.g., the television show of the same name).

What do you think? Should modern culture rethink our “given” identities and our lost rites of passage?

Posted in Wisdom & Life.

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.


Log in here!