Why "Aihal"?

Aihal is the true name of the sage, or mage, in Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea series. The central character in the first story, named Ged, is taught by Ogion, a reclusive wizard who once stopped an earthquake but spends most of his time wandering the mountain. Ogion's mantra is "To hear, one must be silent"—frustrating advice for an energetic pre-teen, who soon rushes off to grander adventures. But he returns after years of chasing his own shadow and says "you are my true master". Ogion's wisdom informs his approach from then on, ultimately allowing him to perceive the nature of a threat to the fabric of existence which he had a role in creating.

"Ogion" is a "use-name", by which people in Earthsea are generally known; their true names encompass their existence and can be used to gain power over them, so are generally known only after death. Ogion's true name is revealed to be "Aihal" at the beginning of the fourth book, Tehanu.

This domain name is thus an homage to the character and the philosophy he represents. Like much of LeGuin's writing there is a Taoist aspect to him. I come from a culture with unquestioned views about its relationship to the world, not informed by interaction with the world, and have found it very hard to know when I am failing to understand someone's point of view. Usually, there are myriad voice coming up with rebuttals to everything I hear. I have to constantly remind myself, "to hear, one must be silent" and shut down the editorializing and reacting.

People who know me might be surprised to see me express a value for listening. Experience shows me that people tend to value and seek not what they have, but what they do not have. Understanding this allows us to explain the confusing and contradictory behaviours people exhibit, and can bring surprising suggestions about peoples' motivations. The quality of listening silently in order to hear the truth is something I lack, and thus value enough to represent here.