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A creative blog by Philip Horvath on The Whole 9

Philip serves as a catalyst working with individuals and organizations on turning change into transformation, and ultimately creating meaningful experiences and relationships. He combines his years of experience architecting and running projects for Fortune 500 companies with over twenty years of studies in yoga, alchemy, various esoteric systems and transformational psychology.

… and who are you?

It is always funny to me to watch people in social gatherings. We all like to meet each other and get to meet interesting people, but we never know who will indeed be interesting to us. In part, this is due to social convention and rituals that have been established. Most of the time, we introduce each other by name, and typically, the next question is “and what do you do?”

What’s in a name?

Most of us did not choose our name. It was given to us by our parents and included their hopes, aspirations, familial obligations, and often their projections and hopes for legacy (as if they were able to extend themselves through their children). The old Romans used to say “Nomen est Omen” – our name is an omen for who we will be. In Numerology, people go so far as to take the letters of your name and convert them to numbers, then adding them up and creating life path and soul urge numbers for you.

Decided to run a test on that. Mine (based on philip) apparently are 7 and soul urge 9. Characteristics of a 7 are analysis, understanding, knowledge, awareness, studious, meditating – and 9 indicates that I am interested in humanitarian and philanthropic endeavors, and that I am generous in sharing my knowledge and experience – perfect for someone writing a blog about creating better meaning and relating in our world – wouldn’t you say?

Of course, I had to run it for Bob, Michael and John (because those names came to mind as somewhat common), and for a few of my friends’ names. Turned out, several of them seemed pretty appropriate.

What does this mean? Who knows. If we live in a fractal universe, as seems to be indicated by many of the esoteric traditions and even modern science, I guess it would make sense that everything has a level of coherence and that you would be able to gleam insights into anything through analysis of anything else – as long as you have coherence in your system of analysis.

For now, I suggest, you think about some of the people you know who share the same names, see if you find correlations. You can also find many name calculators online, so check out what your name might indicate…

…but what do you do?

My friends and I have a running gag based on one of my friends being a poet. Most of the time when someone asks him what he does and he says “Poet”, the next question is “yeah… but what do you DO?”

Typical introductions seem to include occupation. There also appears to be a running list of appropriate occupations, and then the “meh” category, meaning “I don’t care about you, you are not useful to me.”

Especially living in Los Angeles, if the list does not include an industry profession, oftentimes the conversation ends up being rather short. One of my friends, who has produced and engineered some groundbreaking records over the years likes to answer the question “What do you do?” with “I make shoes.” This is a pretty good indicator. If the other person is indeed still interested in going beyond this introduction, they are probably worth talking to…

You are being profiled

In today’s world, we are used to filling out profile information: name, age, sex, relationship status, etc. What this is doing is getting us used to viewing ourselves through the lens of structured data. Each time we fill out a profile, we are learning about socially accepted ways to present ourselves. While this is helpful (especially to marketing companies who mine this data in an attempt to determine your shopping behavior), this is also very limiting. For example, I have yet to find a system that would have a classification I would deem appropriate for my relationship status. There is no way to explain the complexity and “It’s complicated” also does not sound too enticing.

So while it makes sense to create a common basis for how we look at a human, we might also want to add categories that are more meaningful for humans themselves, and not just for those who want to sell products and services.

Hello…

A couple of years ago my friend Dyana brought these wonderful “Hello – I am really good at:” stickers to the Artwalk opening I was hosting. Inspired by her, I created the sticker below for the last Artwalk I opened for a couple of weeks ago:

hello I am changing the world by...

The result was close to a thousand people asking themselves – often for the first time – how they are impacting the world they live in. And beyond that, they got to proudly show it off to each other and were seen for how they change the world by the people around them. We all want to ultimately be seen and heard for who we are – something we get little opportunity for in most of our daily lives. Shifting toward thinking about the impact you create rather than the job category it might fit in allows you to be seen for what you do much more so than a title could possibly convey.

Think about “I am a lawyer” – does this mean you help under-priviledged wrongly accused people? Does it mean you like to find ways to screw your greedy company’s partners? It does not state much about the impact you create. It’s a title, it means you learned to think, analyze and find patterns in other legal documents that might apply to your case. It does not say anything at all about your motivation, about what you value, about who YOU are.

Who are you?

“Who are you?” is a tough question. I have confessed my love for Alice in Wonderland before, and how she realized that she kept changing. Also love the idea that I seem to be a verb (as Buckminster Fuller expressed it). We seem to be processes not static entities, so it would make sense for us to describe ourselves through our processes, too, rather than through static nouns.

So, the next time someone asks you, or you get to meet new people, think about how you want to be known. You can share your designator, your name, if you wish, but instead of stating your profession, think about what you are passionate about, what brings you joy, what you are good at, and how you are benefiting others by doing what you do.

It will probably make for a more interesting conversation. And if whoever you are talking to doesn’t get it, tell them you make shoes…

  1. Outstanding blog as always Philip. Would have loved to be at the Brewery Artwalk to see your experiment :-) Look forward to hanging out one of these days and talking more about changing the world.

  2. Thank you ;-) Look forward to talking, too, and thank you for all you are doing already: with this community, the Peace project, Operation Rise… Seems to me that sticker might be too small for you ;-)

  3. We’re all in this together, my friend. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that sticker became too small for everyone :)

  4. Well written and insightful post. The buzz-word these days is “brand’, as in creating and promoting your personal one, your signature so to speak. That’s what’s supposed to attract attention, cut through the clutter, make you stand out and be remembered; whether it be applying for a job, selling your art or getting people to read your blog. But for many, particularly the ones who take this advice seriously, it’s a tough assignment. Reducing the complex, often contradictory and typically diverse nature of ‘who we are’ to a logo, a tag line, a sound bite or a twitter message is virtually impossible. It requires a dumbing down and flattening out of our multi-dimensional selves to a caricature, a sales pitch that rarely does justice to the fullness of our lives. Yet that is what our easily distracted consciousness and ADD culture demand. And it’s not all a bad thing. Summing up what’s important to us, the essence of what we’re up to or trying to say or searching for can be a valuable exercise. And even if it fails to encompass the totality of one’s multi-dimensional being, a lot can be learned by it if we’re honest. The world demands a ‘log line’, a way to identify us, when it comes to that cover letter or artist bio or internet profile or presentation. Just beware of buying your own hype once you’ve reduced your soul to a slogan.

  5. Great post! And yes dangerousideas…reducing your soul to a slogan…sad.

  6. Good point! Thank you for bringing it up… There definitely has been a Brand YOU movement. The key in that, as you mentioned, is not to reduce your soul to a slogan. Just the other day someone suggested to me to replace branding with bonding. I like that as I consider brands – or online personae for that matter – as an interface to a specific group of people who resonate with its characteristics. While I have multiple personae (e.g. who I am with my parents, my friends, my lovers, my clients), the first thing about integrating self is about always being your self to begin with and simply using appropriate strategies depending on who you are relating – or bonding – with. As such, I also have different online brands. There is this blog, my website, facebook, twitter, each representing slightly different aspects of my self. While there is an overarching tone, each “brand” is specific to the respective audience.
    And – as with personae – if you don’t hold on to yourself, you can lose yourself in those relations. That’s when you believe you are your brand – and you have just lost the multi-dimensional being you are…
    Will write more about this topic. You sparked some great thoughts. Thank you!

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