November 7, 2012 - Are They Addressing a Person or Me?

Are They Addressing a Person or Me?

Agent Smith: You hear that Mr. Anderson?... That is the sound of inevitability... It is the sound of your death... Goodbye, Mr. Anderson…
: My name... is Neo! (from the movie “The Matrix”)

Allow me to speculate, so throw this out there for consideration and feed back…

When we were born, our parents did not give us a "last name.” The only name we were given is the “given name(s).”  When christened or dedicated or baptized as an infant it was only the “given name" that is pronounced.

The so-called "last name," "family name," "clan name,” or “surname" was just there by virtue or our birth and later used to identifying which particular Tom, Dick, or Jane we happened to be. 

The "last name" is not really a name, rather it’s more a modifier or identifier of the “given” name. 

Our “full name” is our full “given name”—Steven or Mary-Jane or John-Henry-David, hyphenated to represent one name, for one man or one woman.

The "last name" represents a particular family or group of people united under that common name. These "last names" became mandatory when governments forced, by law, their registration in many European countries. With this in mind look at the law dictionary definition of a corporation:

CORPORATION. An aggregate1 corporation is an ideal body, created by law, composed of individuals united under a common name… Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, 6th Ed.

Does the use of a ‘surname’ or ‘last name’ or ‘family name’ identifies the user in any legal setting as member of a corporation?

In legal settings such as courts, we are only and always refer to as Mr. Jones or Ms. Smith which would suggest or convey the idea that we were associated with a corporation in some way. Mr. is an abbreviation for “mister” and Ms. for “mistress,” both derive their meaning from “master” or “mastress" of a household.

MASTER. By master is also understood a principal who employs another to perform some act or do something for him. The law having adopted the maxim of the civil law, qui facit per alium facit per se; the agent is but an instrument, and the master is civilly responsible for the act of his agent, as if it were his own, when he either commands him to do an act, or puts him in a condition, of which such act is a result, or by the absence of due care and control, either previously in the choice of his agent, or immediately in the act itself, negligently suffers him to do an injury. Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 6th Ed.

As Master or Mastress of the Smith body politic we are responsible for the actions of our agent the JOHN JONES or the JANE SMITH who, as a legal entity, is obligated to obey the statutes. If that entity commits an offence we are responsible for its penalty.

The solution then is never identify ourself with a “last name.” Our name is only the given name. Do not respond to anything else.

Do you have any thoughts on this? Write me.

1 "formed or calculated by the combination of many separate units or items,” Oxford Dictionary of English 3rd edition Copyright © 2010 by Oxford University Press

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