The Silence Equation


Silence is an enigmatic creature. Its void bespeaks plenty – a whole range of possibilities that we know exist but never know for sure if they do. It’s because they are buried in its very name, ‘Silence’.

We never know if silence is an agreement or disagreement. We never know if it is knowledge or ignorance. We never know if it is any of the latitudes between North and South or the North or the South itself because its true voice, or color, or degree is hidden somewhere in the name, ‘Silence’.

Out of convenience, however, we often put our own voices, colors, or degrees on it. We often think that silence means agreement because it is what we do when we agree. But the opposite can also be true because that’s also what we do. Silence is a contentious ground that opens to any interpretations – those of our own, our subjective reflections of it.

Suppose I’ve been silent about a thing or two, about myself or others, about an issue closest and dearest to me or the one far and removed. What do you make of it? Am I being secretive? Am I hiding something? Am I afraid that you’d find something shameful in or about me?

Perhaps it’s none of them.

What about ignorance – that I don’t know anything about anything that should be voiced, or don’t care?

Perhaps it’s nothing like that either.

Even if I know a lot about something, or care deeply about it, don’t I still have the option to be silent?

Perhaps it’s only about time; there will be the right time to speak, it’s just it’s not now. Perhaps I just don’t have the time just as yet, being busy or unwilling to make the time to speak.

Then, perhaps it’s about other things: I may be concerned what others’ reaction would be in hearing my voice; my own safety and protection, because my voice may be too unpleasant to hear or too offending to some that I choose not to share anything I have or know for the sake of my own safety and protection from any threats I might have to face from those who dislike my voice.

Silence is like that. And that’s silence. Enigmatic. Charming. Baffling. You’ll never know.

Eki Akhwan,
9 June 2015

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