It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Originally posted by tgidkp
what is this "true name"?
in the story "Needful Things" by Stephen King, the evil character was defeated in the end by someone learning and speaking his true name. it was said that by being able to speak the name of a person, you are able to assume total control over them.
what is this "true name"?
Needful Things is a 1991 horror novel by Stephen King.
A Wizard of Earthsea, first published in 1968, is the first of a series of books written by Ursula K. Le Guin
In A Wizard of Earthsea, the young wizard Ged guesses a dragon's true name and forces him to promise not to attack people again.
A true name is a name of a thing or being that expresses, or is somehow identical with, its true nature. The notion that language, or some specific sacred language, refers to things by their true names has been central to magic, religious invocation and mysticism (mantras) since antiquity
According to practises in folklore, knowledge of a true name allows one to magically affect a person or being. It is stated that knowing someone's, or somethings', true name therefore gives the person (who knows the true name) power over them. This effect is used in many tales, such as in the German fairytale of Rumpelstiltskin - within Rumpelstiltskin and all its variants, the girl can free herself from the power of a supernatural helper who demands her child by learning its name. It is also a major part of the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini.
A legend of Saint Olaf recounts how a troll built a church for the saint at a fantastic speed and price, but the saint was able to free himself by learning the troll's name during a walk in the woods. Similarly, the belief that children who were not baptised at birth were in particular danger of having the fairies kidnap them and leave changelings in their place may stem from their unnamed state. In the Scandinavian variants of the ballad Earl Brand, the hero can defeat all his enemies until the heroine, running away with him, pleads with him by name to spare her youngest brother.
In Scandinavian beliefs, more magical beasts, such as the Nix, could be defeated by calling their name.
Much of Renaissance demonology is based on the idea of achieving power over a demon by knowledge of its true name.
The ancient Jews considered God's true name so potent that they believed its invocation conferred upon the speaker tremendous power over his creations. To prevent abuse of this power, as well as to avert blasphemy, the name of God was always taboo, and increasingly disused so that by the time of Jesus their High Priest was supposedly the only individual who spoke it aloud — and then only in the Holy of Holies upon the Day of Atonement.
This belief is employed in many fantasy works. Bilbo Baggins, in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, uses a great deal of trickery to keep the dragon, Smaug, from learning his name, which even the sheltered hobbit seems to consider a very foolish thing to do. The concept is also prominently present in Vernor Vinge's famous story "True Names", and in Ursula K. Leguin's Earthsea series (including the story "The Rule of Names").
Socrates in Cratylus (dialogue) considers the possibility without taking a clear position. Hellenistic Judaism emphasized the divine nature of logos, later adopted by the Gospel of John. The true name of God plays a central role in Kabbalism (see Gematria, Temurah, JHWH) and to some extent in Sufism (see 100th name of God). Bhartrhari and his followers advocating the sphota theory argued for an identity of word and meaning in spite of the outward (phonetic) form of a word taking various shapes.
The early modern efforts towards a philosophical language were the quest to recover the language that refers to all things by their true names.
The notion of a "true name" is related to the field of phonosemantics, the study of a possible intrinsic relationship between sound (the spoken word) and the thing referred to. The opposite position is known as conventionalism. This is the default position of modern linguistics at least since Ferdinand de Saussure (l'arbitraire du signe), although some scholars, such as Otto Jespersen and George Steiner, take an intermediate position, and there is some renewed research in sound symbolism notably by Margaret Magnus and Vilayanur S. Ramachandran.
"...the name that is the Name is not the oridinary name.
Men steal life; they are outside the center and draw outside of it the virtues that should remain deep and invisible. They construct the puppet of "personality," instead of being; then they grasp it, clinging tenaciously to it like beasts.