Ideas that add up #76

In his short novel Le Cure de Tours, Balzac writes of a cognomologie by which a personal name may express an entire personality. What would he have made of Mr Rich Ricci? (“Barclays’ Ricci cashes £17.6m in share bonuses”, report, March 21.)

Letter in FT, March 23rd, 2013

Delighted to learn this week about this newsworthy banker, name pronounced “Rich Richie”. Nominal determinism — ie name shapes destiny — strikes again!

The current Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Judge Judge, fits the pattern, as perhaps do the author of Pole Positions: The Polar Regions and the Future of the Planet, Daniel Snowman, and the (oft-cited, non-apocryphal) researchers behind an article on incontinence in the British Journal of Urology, A.J. Splatt and D. Weedon.

Carl Jung took this phenomenon (too) seriously, pointing out that while Freud (Dr. Joy) championed the pleasure principle, he, Jung (Dr. Young), focussed on the idea of rebirth.

There seem to be a lot of these in the field of medicine. Dr. Douglas Hart, the cardiologist, the orthodontist Dr. Chu, and, er, Dr. Harry Beaver the obstetrician-gynaecologist.

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