In English, we don’t have a similar phrase. We casually tell people “hi,” “hello” or even “wassup?” A few more sophisticated people still cling to more formal greetings such as “good morning.” Yet none of these have a connotation anywhere near the meaning of “I see you” in Na’vi. It’s a very revealing statement about our society that we rarely see each other as we truly are. We don’t look into each other’s eyes and feel the other’s soul. Instead, we remain superficial and distant from each other, not daring to risk the intimacy of truly seeing someone or of being seen for who we really are.
Even in English, this phrase of “I see you” is something incredibly powerful when used properly. In the movie Beyond the Lights, rising pop music superstar Noni attempts to commit suicide. Noni is sitting on the edge of a balcony several stories above the ground, and in a desperate attempt to save her, the police officer who eventually becomes her lover looks in her eyes and tells her, “I see you.” Having her soul acknowledged in her time of crisis contributes strongly to Noni’s rescue.
It is a sad fact of our society that we rarely see each other in the ways mentioned above. We run into dozens of people -- if not hundreds-- as we go about our days, but we don’t bother to look most of those people in the eye. We don’t recognize the souls within the bodies. We are far more likely to ogle the figures of people who pass by us than to actually acknowledge their spirits.
I believe this refusal to truly see other people comes from a fear of intimacy. We don’t want anyone to truly see us, flaws and all, so we don’t try to see others either. By hiding our souls from others, we avoid any kind of intimate contact. As a result, our society interacts at a very superficial level. Our friendships are not filled with love, and our love affairs are not filled with intimacy and honesty.
It is beyond time for our society to embrace this kind of intimacy and to truly see and honor each other. We are far more than our physical bodies. We are souls who are perfect even with all of our imperfections. If we were all to truly see each other, our society would shift dramatically. There would be a great deal more compassion and understanding. We would recognize the deep and amazing power within us all. This shift could help us become a more peaceful society filled with love rather than fear and hatred. The lyrics of Karen Drucker’s song “See Me” reflect how powerful the intimacy between us could be if only we would truly see each other.
There's wisdom and humor behind these old eyes.
If patience and kindness are part of our plan, then I could show you who I am.
And then you'll see me. Really see me.
When you take the time, there's more that you'll find, you'll see me