What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Naming the Nameless, Defining the Undefinable...

"Love" or "Ai" in Chinese
So I'm back at it with thinking about names..  I spent some good time with a friend on Monday trying to talk through the naming process and came to only more questions.  I am very fond of this name 'Mozi', but again it carries some connotations if looked into.  It is not just a word, but a man, thus its meaning goes beyond a simple definition and to an entire philosophical school in ancient China.  Much easier to bring about stigmas.  My concern is that people - particularly here in the US - will view this in polarizing terms as some sort of religious scenario.  Which is exactly what I do not want.  I want the organization to be as neutral as possible, and thus I think the name should also try to remain as such.

This is of course to my personal disheartenment given that his ideas of universal love and respect for all, including treating everyone equally and as you would your own family, truly resonate both with me and with the causes and methods this organization will be undertaking.  However, we had to move on.  We want it to be eclectic and catchy in name, rather than the standard acronym creating non-profit titles.  It needs to be something that can become a brand in itself as things grow.  What we came to was individual words, foreign words that mean things that speak to the organizations principles and purposes.

"Balance" or "Ping Heng" 
The words that we are playing with are words like, balance, harmony, symbiotic, cooperation, things that talk about finding a harmonious mutually beneficial balance amongst things and each entity.  We need one word, a word in any language that means such things.  I have always been particularly fond of Chinese philosophy, thus this is my first thought.  I would love to find a word that means similar ideals and can be 'romanized' in pin yin.  I will have to look through some of my books/online and see if passages or words come close to our meaning and then see what the translations are.  But more importantly I need to contact some Chinese/Chinese speaking friends as well.  However, I should say that we would take word and or meaning from anywhere, any language.  We just have to make sure it does not create stigmas where we plan on going.  That is why I like the chinese concepts - there is a lot of respect for ancient chinese philosophical thoughts, Confucius, Lao Zi, yin and yang, balance, quieting the mind and looking within.  These connotations carry a nice and somewhat more neutral feel for me.
"Harmony" or "He"

Anyway, I write this in asking if anyone has ideas, thoughts, and/or friends/family that could help in either translating these ideas into words or other concepts/ideas.  It may seem easy to search online and find things, but there are so many cultural nuances, meanings, and translations that it must be researched and done right.

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