Why I Have Two Names

2009-08-11 22:11 by Ian

If you are one of the few people to whom I have actually explained this, I may have given you a more prosaic answer for the sake of raising fewer questions. Sorry about that.
Here is the actual answer.

This all started in late 2006. I had made the choice to return to school to study science, mostly because of psychology and a tetracyclic psychoactive compound (with NO nitrogen!?!). I wanted to know WTF that drug did to me, and how. Around that same time, I was feeling socially adrift. I decided to try to split myself in half.


After sitting down and thinking about the possible risks to my sanity, I concluded that it was worth trying. I wanted someone to argue with who knew everything I did, and would be willing to call BS when an invalid argument was made. Somewhat like playing chess with yourself. By assigning contrary positions to each version of myself, I could pace and smoke a cigarette and sort things out with my intellectual negative and arrive at (what would hopefully be) a more objective conclusion.

I started a new job in January of 2007 and went to a school where I didn’t know anyone. I took a logic class to help my BS detector operate more effectively and embarked on another mental rewire. Everyone at work and school knew me as Ian. My family and friends from my old circles still knew me as Josh, and neither group had any idea I was anyone else.

The experiment lasted for about two years before my social circles intersected and the isolation between them was broken.

My sanity was not compromised. After being called Ian for a few days, it fell into place as a name as natural as the one I had been using for the past 24 years. At no point did I feel “split”, except while in the presence of members from both circles at the same time and place. The confusion was always worse for those who couldn’t agree on what my name was.

It’s strange… In a city of 3 million people, it isn’t very hard to completely disappear in plain sight and become someone else.

This blog entry marks the formal end to the effort to isolate my social circles, as such isolation may still exist. Call me by whatever name you like most.