An old friend recently posted an amusing rant on the comparative benefits of Aldi’s aftershave named ‘Ferocious and Conflict’ versus some designer brands with fewer shit names (even thinking about ‘Savauge’ makes my face crease with amusement and disdain) He put the question ‘what’s in a name?’ (label in this context) an age-old question put by Shakespeare’s Juliet when ruminating “that which we call a rose would smell as sweet by any other name.” However, she was wrong. Well, Shakespeare was. Yes a rose would most likely smell very nice, to most. But really it’s through time and universal consciousness that the rose has become so synonymous with beauty and fragrance. Yes, it’s heady and sweet but so are lots of other flowers. The truth is named can really matter because what we call by any name becomes coded by our perception and stored in the part of our brain called the amygdala, which doesn’t run on logic.
It fires emotions like the trigger of a gun so we never just smell, touch, or hear, we code the experience in our brains along with our perception of it, and our perception is affected by more than our single sensory experience. What does this mean? It means that the early labels we are given in life by others and ourselves can wreak havoc on our self-esteem. It also means that whilst Shakespeare may have written plays and poetry which transcend time and understanding of the human condition he didn’t delve much into the magic of hypnosis or NLP. If he had he could have got Juliet to close her eyes and imagine that Romeo was a small, ugly slug, who smelt of aftershave bought from Aldi and anytime his image popped into her mind she could have chanted and tapped: ‘toad be gone’ and Romeo would be a rose no more and Juliet would have been released from her addiction and found someone else instead of killing herself at 13.