[LMB] Religion and one-up-manship

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Sun Jul 18 12:46:21 BST 2021

From: Eric Oppen <ravenclaweric at gmail.com>

One reason for the existence of such things was that knowing and using the
true name of a supernatural entity gave a mortal power over that entity.
Or that was what people believed.
Kind of like how our word "bear" is not the original Indo-European word for
this animal.  It derives from "brown one," AIUI, and was used as a
substitute for the real word because saying the real word might attract the
creature's hungry attention.  Kind of like "Speak of the Devil, and he will
appear," or in Chinese, "Shuo dao Cao Cao, Cao Cao jiou dao."

Gwynne: Australian Aboriginal cultures ban the use of a person's name for
a time after their death. They believe that the spirit takes time to move on,
and if you say their name you'll call them back. In Western culture we place
great value on a person's word; you give an oath in court, and if you lie
after that it's a criminal offence in most places. Words and names have power.

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