Thursday, 7 February 2013

There Is Nothing Like A Dame

There is nothing you can name that is anything like a dame.  That song along with the rest of 'South Pacific' strikes me as a potential work of logical theory.

Speaking of names:

People choose their own usernames and they reflect their personalities, unlike given names, which are not normally chosen by the people concerned.  YouTube and Google clearly want people to use their real names rather than usernames on here.  My real name is no secret:  it's Mark Ure, as is recorded on my Wikipedia page since 2005.  However, usernames interest me and in any case a lot of people online know me as Nineteenthly.

I chose Nineteenthly due to a probably apocryphal story i once heard about a philosophy student who was reading 'On The Plurality Of Worlds' by Giordano Bruno, also known as "The Nolan".  The book opens with a series of paragraphs starting "Firstly", "Secondly", "Thirdly" and continuing in that vein.  The story goes that on reading the word "Nineteenthly", the student decided it wasn't worth it, he was wasting his life and packed in philosophy to do something more worthwhile.  The actual paragraph reads, in translation, "Nineteenthly, more is added to that which has been said under the second heading".

The reason i chose that user name is that it reminds me not to be verbose, not to waffle and to balance thought and action.  For that reason also, when i'm using it on the Halfbakery i never write numbers in figures but always spell them out.

I'll come back to Giordano Bruno in a minute.  In the meantime, the external reason i chose that username was that the moderator of the ideas bank website disapproved of me sharing my account with my wife, so i changed it to a personal account, Nineteenthly.  The old user name (incidentally, i'm alternating "username" and "user name" for tag purposes) was "Grayure" one i still share with my wife.  People have rightly said it sounds like a cheese.  Before that, it was "Uregray", which of course sounds like a South American country, and way, way before that, in 1986, it was PLL1_25, which means "the twenty-fifth user of the Philosophical Logic account on the Vax at Uni - another era!  Another one was Zerothly, which is more imaginative but didn't last for various reasons.  I am probably now the only person who still sees it - it's my user name on here but i show up as Nineteenthly, which is to do with various merges which Google did.

Back to Bruno.  Giordano Bruno was a sixteenth century philosopher who is a hero of rationalism and secularism.  He was one of the first people to see the Universe as infinite and eternal, and crucially, saw each star in it as the centre of a solar system of planets.  For this belief and a number of others i mention in the video, he was burnt at the stake for heresy by the Catholic Church in 1600.  The starship NCC-1320 in the Star Trek universe is named after him.  (Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise are all registered trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. No copyright infringement is intended)

However, although he is hailed as a hero of rationalism for those reasons, he shares a number of beliefs with me which are not generally held by scientists today.  He was a hylozoist or panpsychist - believed that the Universe was alive or that consciousness was an inevitable property of matter - and, as i've said, that the Universe is both infinite and eternal.  Unlike me, he believed in reincarnation and was a Neo-Platonist like Nostradamus and Iamblichus.  However, he is still a kind of hero of humanism and so forth in my book.

Anyway, please let me know why you chose your user name, screen name, handle, moniker or whatever you want to call it.

This is aimed solidly at regular YouTubers rather than anyone on my social networks.  I very much value how much all you people on FB, G+ and Twitter, among other places, are helping this project to succeed.  The problem is that i need to break out and make connections with strangers more, and as it happens, i've long thought that a video on my username, and usernames in general, would make a good companion to one about my hair.  "Nineteenthly" is my cyberhairdo.  Just as people in "real life" probably think of me as that bloke with the leggings and the hair, people online think of me as "This guy Nineteenthly" as one particularly bummed-out denizen once described me shortly before complaining about how much my stories disturbed him, and not in a good way.

"Nineteenthly" is of course a persona, but one which is getting more like the person behind the mask, if there is one.  In particular, it links the hidden and open sides of me because i make a point of using the same username everywhere.  Yes, that means that all that weird stuff that pops up when you Google me really is me as well, but i'm not so egocentric that i imagine people do that much.  Again, that would be the delusion that leads people to worry about online privacy (as adults, that is).  In any case, it's who i am and i do it with not only a clear conscience but use it as a deliberate strategy as something positive.  I won't go into that now but would be happy to dilate for anyone who would lend an ear, i.e. no-one at all.

Back to the question of usernames though.  A few months ago, YouTube decided to encourage people to use their real names, possibly to reduce cyberbullying.  This is all well and good, but i am known as Nineteenthly to a lot of people and have felt rather hampered by having an unspellable, unpronounceable (to the English) surname which begins with an unusual letter and is near the end of the alphabet for my entire life.  When i was at university, my pigeonhole used to fill up with crap because people bunged whatever they didn't want into it, assuming that nobody's name began with a U or a V.  Yes, "U" didn't even have it's own hole!

To be honest, i remember those pigeonholes with a bit of an embarrassed shudder, but - NOPE, NOT GOING THERE!