From ancient through medieval times, names and words were thought
to contain magical powers. It was believed a sorcerer could hold power over someone by the use of that person's name.
Therefore the ancient Hebrews were not allowed to pronounce the sacred word YHWH lest someone tried to steal even the power
of God. It was also believed that using magic words and names in incantations could unleash curses or
summon demonic spirits to do one's bidding.
And it is true that words coupled with strong beliefs
can have uncanny powers. Many primitive tribes believed most sickness and hardship came from an enemy's curse.
And once a curse was placed upon a true believer, it could lead to that believer's actual death! Such beliefs often
led to the Christian burning of "witches".
Names and words still do have surprising powers even today
- from the subtle on to the demonic. In merely hiking through the woods, think of all the interesting plant, insect,
and animal life your would miss out on if you didn't know their names and what to look for. And knowing a person's name
does give you a kind of power over that person. Any Dale Carnegie course will teach you the power in remembering significant
persons'names; they would go so far as to say one's name is the key to one's soul.
Words and names also produce diabolical powers, skillful propaganda
can program whole nations into rebellion or wars. Verbal harassment can actually make persons physically ill.
Slandering someone's name can ruin that person's life. And finding the assigned number to one's name can do likewise,
while profiting the perpetrator. Instead of the ancient way of coupling numbers with letters, all one has to
do is know someone's social security number to find one's medical, psychiatric or criminal history. Adding
that person's credit card number can result in identity theft, which is becoming common today.
Yea, there are still even diabolical powers in the adept
use of words and the possession of the right numbers and names...