Coded messages

『14  41  47 5  3  24  21  43  2  11  3  16  43』
『14  41  47 5  3  24  21  43  2  11  3  16  43』
『14  41  47 5  3  24  21  43  2  11  3  16  43』
『14  41  47 5  3  24  21  43  2  11  3  16  43』
『14  41  47 5  3  24  21  43  2  11  3  16  43』
『14  41  47 5  3  24  21  43  2  11  3  16  43』
『14  41  47 5  3  24  21  43  2  11  3  16  43』
『14  41  47 5  3  24  21  43  2  11  3  16  43』
『14  41  47 5  3  24  21  43  2  11  3  16  43』

Coded messages, at least in my eyes, have always had this soft air surrounding it. I never think of spies with dark coats or plastic wheels in snack boxes, I think of intimate messages, secrets shared away from the world. There’s never any real meaning to those little notes between friends, but there’s always that surprise, that little tingle of happiness when you work out what each part of the message means. That view has been distorted somewhat by two stories I recently read. One was part of Xxxholic: another holic by Nisio Isin, and the other one was the second volume of Bungaku shoujo by Mizuki Nomura. Aside from how they served as plot elements and how they built to the atmosphere, it also made me think of something else: this entire world is a code, isn’t it?

I won’t forgive you.

I don’t want to die.

In both of these stories, these messages was a way to retain someone’s memories, to connect the dead and the living. Through the coded words there was a way to escape fear, loneliness, guilt. It’s so easy to say hated words when you think no one else can find out why they’re said.

“The person I hate is here again.”

I was surprised when I heard a friend say that. The person she’s referring to can’t understand Chinese, which was what we were talking in. I was surprised not that the comment was directed at someone (I consider that person to be a lazy leech) but that it came out of the mouth of a girl whom was normally careful and proper. Obviously, she wouldn’t have said what she said in English. Does the difference in understand build walls around people? Does it add to a person and divide people by elevation? Is the freedom of being able to say what you want worth what it does to the people around you?

All language is code, isn’t it? Even without going into language structures and all the rest of that, the context, the connotation, the wording, no one can get a complete picture of what is communicated serve for the one speaking or writing. I wonder if anyone should ever try to completely decipher the code of another…

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4 thoughts on “Coded messages

  1. Deciphering can be synonymous with demystifying, and some people happen to like the nebulousness of words. Imagine what would happen to doublethink and innuendos if their meanings were perfectly transparent. Now, doublethink and innuendos can cause problems with computers.

    For example, does 0.002 mean 2/10 of a cent…or 2/1000 of a cent? If this number represents how much you pay for phone data, this could make or break you day!

    I wouldn’t say “Different strokes for different folks” since that says that everyone can be defined by strokes, of which they have a constant set of. Rather, every situation requires a different set of strokes, but many people can choose the same set in a given situation. They’ve chosen clarity for business, opacity for romance.

  2. “我恨的人又来这里.”

    “Is the freedom of being able to say what you want worth what it does to the people around you?”

    I happened to have a lesson on that recently and is still facing the consequence. This only strengthened my belief on the power of words. “Languages are a series of signs that points to other signs” is one of the things we were forced to remember in our culture class.

    Sorry to be cliche, but in anime, the “perfect” world is always where people understood one another, then everything will be at peace. Apparently in the Japanese anime ideals that conflicts come from the lack of understanding. It’s one of the ideals that I never quite agree with.

    Supposedly we DO understand one another, then what? Do we become accepting of one another because we understood? I simply don’t believe so. Individuals naturally have their likes and dislikes, and as long as people are unique to one another, there’s always going to be conflict. So yes, I do believe difference in understanding built walls on people, but it’s used to protect ourselves from one another. As long as free will exist, humans will never all get along.

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