and who hears the echoes of stories never told

I often laughed, and you often gave me a dissatisfied look, till you pressed me to unfold my past before you as if it were a roll of pictures. It was then I felt respect for you. Because you unreservedly showed me your resolution to catch something alive in my being, and to sip the warm blood running in my body, by cutting my heart. At that time, I was still living, and did not want to die. So I rejected your request, promising to satisfy you some day. Now I am going to destroy my heart myself, and pour my blood into your veins. I shall be happy if a new life can enter into your bosom, when my heart has stopped beating.
-Natsume Soseki, Kokoro

I read Soseki when I was in high school for my Filipino class (language and literature). I was drawn to the first lines of the Japanese novel translated to Filipino. I still have the words inside my head. Some lines never get erased from memory.

Lumilingon at tumatanaw,
hinahangad ang wala sa kamay.
May halong pait
ang pinakatapat na halakhak.
Pinakamatamis ang awit
tungkol sa pinakamatinding sakit.

-Soskei, Tatsulok Na Daigdig

I’ll briefly translate it in English in my own words (making this a translation of a translation of the original Japanese):

Looking back and looking forward,
yearning for what’s not on hand.
There’s a hint of bitterness
in the most honest laugh
Sweetest is the song
that tells of the worst pain.

-Soseki, The Triangle World

That is how I would personally translate it. I’m no expert so the translation may be a bit literal. Commercial copies of English translations have been available. Someone ordered for me (from the US) a copy of the English Translation “Three-Cornered World” a few years back. He also got me a copy of “Kokoro”. I have always loved the depth of Japanese literature. I have always loved Soseki, his art and the dark and beautiful pictures he drew with his words.

I’ve been wanting to talk about the paradox of value for the past week but I could not seem to collect my thoughts. Finally today, I got the courage to talk about how it’s been been bothering me inside I really need to spit it out. My college textbook talks about diamonds and water to explain this. Everybody needs water to live. But why is it free (or has a negligible cost at most) whereas diamonds (which no one needs to live) are so expensive? That is the paradox. If this world is one of rational people as Economics assumes, why would the world value things from an upside down perspective? If you’ve read my last entries (especially the first one), you would know the answer. Or I could just tell you straight-forward… but I won’t. Today, I am just not in the mood to lecture or teach. Only to write.I’ve been thinking about it lately and yes, most things in our society are valued paradoxically. But really, what can we expect in this fallen world of ours? The paradox of value is most evident with how we deal with time, how we neglect it, how we spend it and give it away. Look at how we waste it because of its abundance. Sure, we will have our daily supply again tomorrow. It’s free, why bother? Well yes that’s true and it’s up to you. Thousands of articles have been written about how we are not to waste our time, spend it with people who matters most and express the emotions we hold deepest.. and today, I’m not going to give you more reasons why or enumerate more instructions on how to make better use of it. If you want to waste it, that is up to you. Today, I’d like to write about something.. I’d love only to write.

I want to know… how do you value memories? In nominal terms, mine would probably have no value. Who would buy them? Its importance is solely limited to me. If it were a business, I’d be the only one who’d patronize it. How much more do you value memories of events no one else knew about? One might be in a slightly better position if the memory is shared. There is value in a mutual agreement, something is set. But what good does it make if the person who shares it never talked about the memory shared? Stories never to be let out, never to be shared, remains in the mind. Or do they? Or are they forgotten for good over time? Do they waste away with the passing of the years? Have they really ever existed, or were they only fragments of the imagination? In a special place that a person guards, are the doors always locked? Or have we only not attempted to knock?

There is a uniqueness in the experiences one person shares with another. And the value of that is in the exclusivity. That a mutual agreement never happened regarding the meaning of experiences, that words weren’t spoken makes it expensive. This is why people hold on to it, the perceived value is highest because the supply has been withheld. The hoarding of another person makes us unsure forever.. but in our own little world we are, we know.. so we hold on.

Moments may or may not come, it differs for each of the memories, for every person, too.
But when that moment comes, when we spit it out or the other person does, or both do…
the moment it is out, it loses its value.. so we let it go.

Just when the value can be measured, when it can be acted on and judged for what it’s really worth,
that’s when we give it up.

The value is in the hiding. In embracing the suffering of a lifetime of secrecy. When we know that only ourselves know. When we hope someone else somewhere at the other end of that string of shared memory knows just as we know it. The value is there. Within the closed doors.

There are also moments that come when,
Reality whispers, there was nothing.
There’s a song in my head that goes:
“who hears the echoes of stories never told?”

Yet we keep them. When we couldn’t touch them, we hold on to them.
Isn’t that the paradox of value?

That’s the absurdity of the human heart.


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Sailing with the wind, fighting my way out of loneliness and into life, I seek the face of God day by day as I walk in the light of His daily sufficient grace.

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