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Monday, October 6, 2014

In Bow's Eyes

Have you ever gazed deeply into someone's eyes? It's usually not allowed. There are privacy concerns and intimacy taboos and so when we look at another person, we usually make the glance quite cursory, even with people we know very well.

Bow is also a very private person. He doesn't talk to just anyone, and he takes time to get to know people. It takes a very long time to convert someone from a stranger to a friend. It takes a commitment to get really close.

But here is your chance. Look deep into Bow's eyes. He allowed me to film him close up. It's okay. It's not invasive.

Now that you've looked, it does not mean that you know him, nor does it mean -- certainly not! -- that he knows you. But it gives you an idea of what it might be like if you did know him well.

Knowing someone, just like seeing someone, is not reciprocal. You can see someone and yet he cannot see you. You can know people, but they cannot know you. Sometimes people are fooled into thinking that if they see, then they are also seen, and vice versa. That's a mistake. Reciprocity is an illusion.

The problem in today's world isn't just that we don't get to know chimpanzees well, and that even those who call themselves experts on chimpanzees will rarely spend all their time with a single individual. The biggest problem of all is that the more experience someone has, the less he tends to know. The more people we know, the less we know anyone.

You may meet hundreds of people every day. But how many can look you in the eye? Have you ever been close enough to anyone to gaze as deeply as I can into Bow's eyes?

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