Aris Silzars Display Technology Consulting


The Display Continuum


“When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name.
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
T.S. Eliot

Appreciation at Last …

When I was in grade school and high school, I hated my name. I did not like my given name or my family name. I would much rather have had a nice common first name such as perhaps John or Robert, and an equally typical last name like Smith or Brown. When I was in the fourth grade, I envied my friend – John Smith – for that very reason. Now there was a name that no one could make fun of.

It was not until I was in college that I even found anyone with a first name such as mine. I finally saw it on the door to a small law office in an older building in Portland. I don’t remember the gentleman’s last name – it may have had a Swedish feel about it -- but I still remember seeing ARIS in bold print on the frosted glass panel of that door. Then sometime later, I noticed that the most exclusive department store in Portland carried a line of ladies leather gloves with the name ARIS on them. Well, at least there were a few other folks in the world who had heard of this unusual combination of four letters that had become the way for others to address me.

To add to my youthful frustration, my family’s last name turned out to be even more unusual than my first. At least in my birthplace of Latvia the name Aris is recognized in the church calendar and is assigned the “names-day” of January 13th. In Latvia all names are assigned a day on which one is expected to celebrate with friends who drop by unannounced. That is a very nice tradition that I would recommend for other cultures to adopt as well. But our family’s last name is unusual even by Latvian standards. To this day I know of no one else who has that same last name. The word itself – Silzars – sounds quite traditionally Latvian when pronounced. The last part of the name “zars” translates as a branch on a tree. The first three letters “sil” I can’t find in a contemporary Latvian dictionary although I was once told by my parents that “sils” may be an obsolete word for a “forest” or “glen”.

So there I was trying to get through those tender and sensitive grade school and high school years stuck with a name that most people couldn’t pronounce, and even if they did, immediately thought of me as someone most likely from another planet. Oh how I wanted a name that would make it easier for me to “belong” – to be like the other popular kids with names like Terry and Fred. There was only one other person that I could at least partially relate to in this naming area – a classmate with the name, Ancil Nance. His parents had been missionaries and he had been born somewhere in the Far East. He seemed much less concerned about this whole name situation and having him as a role model provided considerable comfort to me.

Well, the years passed -- about 40 of them. And suddenly here we are in the era of the Internet, instant worldwide communications, web sites, 24/7 e-mails, and Google searches. And I finally get my payback. I type in my name on Google – and I get ME. No one else! Hundreds of listings – all mine! This is finally fun. I can have a web site with my name and not have to worry that someone else has usurped it. I can have an e-mail address with just my last name and it’s mine alone. (That darn glove company I think beat me to it for the use of just my first name). When I call people or leave voice mail messages, I only need to tell them it’s “Aris”. No need to give my last name – they will know who it is.

Our worldwide connectivity and proliferation of electronic databases has finally made uniqueness more valuable than trying to “fit in”. Standing out is now better than blending in. And computers don’t make fun of my unusual name. They think it’s cool.

Am I at the very forefront of a new trend? As the world becomes ever more interconnected will everyone begin to search for a unique identifier. Today, if you tell me that Mr. Kim from Korea or Mr. Lee from Taiwan just called, you haven’t narrowed it down very much. But with a name like Silzars – now there I can instantly tell you all the possibilities.

These days, I am feeling very good about my name – quite blessed actually. It just took about 40 years for the world to catch up. Therefore, with virtually no effort you can reach me directly from this web site, by e-mail at, by phone at 425-898-9117, by fax at 425-898-1727, or by typing in my name on a Google search.