By Any Other Name

I thought I should mention something about how I chose the name for this blog. Currently the blog is called “A Bridge and not an End.” (My understanding is that WordPress allows blogs to be renamed, so it’s entirely possible I’ll rename the blog eventually). The current name wasn’t my first choice. Originally I came up with two possible names that I liked quite a lot, after realizing that calling my blog “Paul’s Blog” was lame, predictable, and prosaic.

The first name I invented was “Utopian Nihilism,” which I arrived at by playing around with the term ‘utopian socialism’, but I Googled it and it turns out someone wrote a book called Poems for the Utopian Nihilist, and I wanted to be original so I rejected that first name. I had started by playing with ‘utopian socialism’ just because I was sort of thought webbing out various concepts that had relevance and meaning to me. So continuing with that I tried to play with ‘Dungeons & Dragons’, which is a game that’s meant a lot to me over the years. I came up with a name I fell in love with, “Curmudgeons & Dragons“. But to my horror I Googled that and it turns out someone else already has a blog with that exact name! Unbelievable.

So I moved on and started thinking of ways to subtly reference things I find meaningful. My next attempt was an homage to Edgar Rice Burroughs, the favourite author of my youth. I recalled a quote from The Gods of Mars where Tars Tarkus says something along the lines of, “we are caught between the mad zitidar of fact and the wild thoat of certainty.” A zitidar being a lion-like beast with six legs and a thoat being a sort of Martian buffalo, if I recall my ERB correctly (which I may not, it’s been a few years, and incidentally he wasn’t speaking literally – that statement was the Martian version of “between a rock and a hard place”). So the blog’s name for a brief time was “The Wild Thoat of Certainty,” which I still think has a nice ring to it. Ultimately, I decided that reference was a little too subtle and the meaning behind it kind of hard to relate to my blog.

Finally, I turned to Nietzsche – a man whose name I have never once spelled correctly on the first try. I only agree with about 99% of what Nietzsche has ever said, but despite our occasional differences I thought that I might be able to give him a nod in my blog’s title. Thus the title was born, “A Bridge and not an End.” It actually comes from Thus Spoke Zarathustra: when Nietzsche outlines his theories on the übermensch, he describes mankind as a rope connecting the beast to the overman, “a bridge and not an end.” So there it is. In relation to the blog, I suppose it means that the blog itself is hopefully going to connect ideas and thoughts to lead towards something bigger and better in the future. Or else it’s just a jab at mankind, a way of saying, “one day you’ll look back, and you will be mortified at your former self.”



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