“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. This phrase – from William Shakespeare’s tragic play Romeo & Juliet – is among the most famous acknowledgements in Western culture of the power of naming to shape human perception.

According to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), the professional organization that defines Earth’s time scale, the current time belongs to an epoch named the Holocene – which began 11,500 years ago after the last ice age. However, in recent years, many scientists have advocated to name a new epoch to more accurately reflect the idea that humans have become the dominant planet-shaping force. The name they have proposed places humankind’s actions – and their consequences – squarely at the center: the Anthropocene — anthropo, for “man,” and cene, for “geological epoch”.

The need to name a new epoch is gaining wide acceptance as most experts agree that this time period has been marked by geologically significant changes brought about by human activities, such as an accelerated rate of species extinction and changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere, oceans and soils. The Working Group on the Anthropocene (WGA) – an international group of planetary scientists – voted to formally designate the epoch Anthropocene and presented the recommendation at IUGS’ International Geological Congress in August of last year. (1)

There you go.

Words give meaning.

In this case, meaning to our existence.

Defining it. Making it real.

We exist in the Anthropocene.

We seize to exist in Holocene.

It may seem like a game with words.

But look again.








There are no humans in the void…

Speak my name. And I will be there.

Reading robots’ mind? Not.

In a darkened, hangar-like space inside MIT’s Building 41, a small, Roomba-like robot is trying to make up its mind. Standing in its path is an obstacle — a human pedestrian who’s pacing back and forth. To get to the other side of the room, the robot has to first determine where the pedestrian is, then choose the optimal route to avoid a close encounter. As the robot considers its options, its “thoughts” are projected on the ground: A large pink dot appears to follow the pedestrian — a symbol of the robot’s perception of the pedestrian’s position in space. (1)

We build things.
Then we name things.
Then we imagine what we made and named is similar to something else we have named similarly.

The circle of knowledge seems too arbitrary to be true.

Or perhaps it is true because it is arbitrary.

Like the world’s reality we live in…

Thoreau. Naming things. Lost memories. Important things.

A vast pyramid of talus and scree in the Sierra Nevada range, it sits between the aptly named Wonder Lakes Basin and Mount Emerson, a namesake of the great 19th-century author Ralph Waldo Emerson. It might seem only fitting that it should bear the name of Emerson’s close friend and fellow transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau.

But the mountain cannot be named for Thoreau or anyone else. Since 1964, the government has decreed that except in extraordinary circumstances, unnamed features in federal wilderness areas will remain that way.

Now a group of 11 writers, printmakers, poets, wilderness enthusiasts, Thoreau devotees and fellow travelers is trying to correct what they say is a historic oversight. On Sept. 26, they made the trek to the summit of the unnamed mountain for a minor act of civil disobedience: a ceremony to name it for Thoreau. (1)

We like naming things.
We believe we can be immortals only if our name survives our death.

But our actions live eternally.
Our life always Is where we Are.

Seek grandeur in anonymity.
Seek eternity in the ephemeral of the moment.
Because this moment will always be there with you in it.

Let the rocks be.
Thoreau will Be as well.
His silence powerful.
As a flower.
As a rock.
As nothing.
And everything at the same time…

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