This might be a silly question, but what motivates the name "locally convex" for locally convex spaces?
The definition in terms of semi-norms seems to have nothing to do with convexity or with the other definition involving neighborhood bases -- and the neighborhood basis definition makes little sense to me either, because it refers to sets which are "absorbent", "balanced", and convex.
Why the restrictions? And then why aren't they called "locally absorbent, balanced, and convex spaces"? And why do we never here about the terms absorbent or balanced in any other context?
Also, I know that Banach spaces are locally convex, but this just confuses me further -- what do Banach spaces have to do with convexity? And why are locally convex spaces a natural generalization of Banach spaces?
I have some vague ideas -- the Hahn-Banach theorem (and hyperplanes) are used a lot in convex programming, and the "p-norm" is only a norm for $p \ge 1$, the same values for which $x^p$ is a convex function -- are norms somehow "convex", does this follow from the triangle inequality? Then why aren't arbitrary complete metric spaces locally convex?
Any insights would be greatly appreciated.