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Two authors who draw out the connection between naming and our identity:

A) The first does it by making a deep connection between the sociology of naming and the nature of a community in a fictional world.

B) The second draws our attention to what is essentially a contrast between the post-specification, labelled and defined world of law (in the Build habitat), and the more demanding open system approach of naming ourselves (Scope)


“Anyhow, the people of the Valley had no objection to long names. They liked them. Perhaps they enjoyed the fact that they had plenty of time to say them. They were not ashamed of having time. They lacked drive, that great urge to get done which powers us, sending us forward, ever forward ever faster, reducing San Francisco of the slow settlers to Frisco and Chicago of the even slower natives to Chi and the town of the mission of our lady of the angels becomes Los Angeles, but that takes to long so it becomes L.A., but jets go faster than we do so we use their language and call it LAX, because what we want is to move on quick, to go fast, get through, be done, done with everything. To get it over with, that’s what we want. But the people who lived in the Valley and gave interminable names to their houses were in no hurry.

It is hard for us to conceive, harder to approve, of a serious adult person not in a hurry. Not being in a hurry is for infants, people over eighty, bums, and the Third World. Hurry is the essence of the city, the very soul. There is no civilisation without hurry, without keeping ahead. The hurry may lurk invisible, contradicted by the indolent pose of the lounger at the bar or the lazy gait of the stroller along the hotel walkway, but it is there, in the terrific engines of the TWA or BSA supersonic planes that bought her from Rio, him from Rome, here to NY, NY for the IGPSA conference on implementation of GEPS, and will rush them back tomorrow, hurrying across the world of cities where there is no tense left but the present tense, every second and tenth of a second and millisecond and nanosecond clocked, the readout moving always a little faster, and the A rising. Mozart’s A was a hundred and forty cycles a second, so Mozart’s piano is out of tune with all our orchestras and singers. Our A is a hundred and sixty, because the instruments sound more brilliant tuned up higher, as they all rise like sirens to the final scream. There is nothing to be done. There is no way to heighten the pitch of the instruments of the Valley, no way to abbreviate their institutions and addresses and names to capital letters, no way to get them to move ahead.”

Ursula Le Guin

Always Coming Home

1986, pp 409-410

“As long as the law is upon us we feel safe. Its bitching, score-evening presence assures us that something out there has our number. Whether it approves or disapproves of us is almost a matter of indifference; the main thing is that, having our number, it absolves us from the burden of learning our name. The law of retribution reigns supreme in our fantasies precisely to keep us off the main question of our lives: What would you do with freedom if you had it?”

Robert Farrar Capon

Between noon and three p6