Saturday, October 23, 2010

I am a suffix angel

I am a suffix angel. Well, not really. But I might as well be one.

I was walking home the other day when I passed a little boy and his mom on the street. And the little boy said to his mom that I was M***'s godfather. He did not know my name, but he knew my function. At that moment, I realized something about suffix angels; we are knee-deep in them and a lot of them are flesh and blood beings.

Real quickly, for the Zelator reading this post (*waves hi to them*), the term "suffix angel" comes from practical kabbalah. Occasionally, you need the help of an entity which name you do not know. The standard method developed among kabbalists was to take the name of the area you needed help in and add the suffix "-al" ("-el") or "-ah" to that name. It allows you to call the entity without knowing its actual name.

For instance, I deal with the RTD (Regional Transportation District) a lot. There are times that I pray that I can get to the lightrail station on time, so that I can get to my class on time. Or failing that, the lightrail shows up in a timely manner to serve my purposes.

(I favor the lightrail over buses because it triggers less migraines.)

Now, I don't know the proper name of this angel (or is it a demon). The ancient kabbalists listed no name for this entity when they were compiling their lists. (In fact, if one learns something about the languages used by the ancient kabbalists, one learns that there are actually a lot of suffix angels in the angelic lists.) The only thing I know about the entity (at least initially) is their function.

Function: RTD, add the "-al" and you get RTDal. Sprinkle a few vowels in for my non-Enochian tongue, and I end up with something like Ratadal or Rotadal (depending upon my mood).

And we have all used a suffix angel at one time or another. Often they come in the form of real life flesh and blood human beings. Imagine for a second that your hot water heater springs a leak. Do you shout, "Call me a plumber named Bob!" No, you just want a plumber; you could care less what their actual name is. The same holds true for the pizza guy, cable guy, the police, firemen, and paramedics. You don't care who is sent as long as they can fix the problem at hand.

Furthermore, at one time or another you have been a suffix angel yourself. Think about your job for a second. Does your employer (or customers) care more about your actual name or your function? How many times have you asked someone what they did for a living (again function)?

The reason we are knee-deep in suffix angels is this is one of the ways that we view the world. In fact, the computer that you are reading this blog on is a suffix you know its name?

1 comment:

Pallas Renatus said...

Damnit, now all I want to do is name my computer(s).