Calling something by its real name is a key to unlocking parts of the creative process. If you feel hypocritical about something you are writing about, be sure to name that hypocrisy to yourself. If you hope your writing will change the world for the better through some kind of written critique of that world, be sure to identify the (possibly small at first) steps in your own behaviour. This might be a good principle: for each step you think others should take, take a step yourself in the same direction.
Naming sometimes needs to take place at different stages of a collusion of mediocrity. Naming is essentially about describing something truthfully when that truth has been distorted or “diluted” or exaggerated. Naming can be quite a risky thing to do as it is often the messenger who gets shot! There are skills to naming one of which is to seek permission to name something. This at least can prepare others for the impact of something being revealed through naming that is uncomfortable:
“Actually this business will run out of cash within three months”
“Two people in this group are currently undermining each other – everyone knows it, and no one has had the courage to say it”
Naming can also be used to overcome a distortion towards the negative.
“Actually your predictions are pessimistic – if you look at the facts, we are actually in a much better position”
“You have been talking yourself down for the last twenty minutes.”
Naming can also be devastating. It can be part of a the bad news given by a doctor to a patient, at diagnosis. It can be the confronting of someone with their real reputation in a group. And so on.
The general principle for this is what I call the Law of Collusion Breaking: If the damage done by naming is going to be greater than the benefit gained, the naming should be withheld for the moment.
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