Thoughts & Insights

Flight of Fantasy

For whatever reason, we human beings do not have a very difficult time conceiving of an earthly being that is so vastly superior to us physically that it could snatch up our tiny selves and swallow us whole in a heartbeat were we to encounter it unprotected anywhere in its element.

Yet how easy is it for us to imagine that such a gigantic creature would, upon encountering us unexpectedly, approach us not with aggression, but with a mixture of gentleness and intelligent curiosity? That it has no interest in wielding its physical superiority to devour us, but instead is interested in lessening our fear of its size so there can be a connection between us? How easy is it for us to imagine that the spirit of such a being could surpass its physical magnitude by leaps and bounds and perhaps even be superior to our own?

Brian Skerry is one of few people to experience an up-close underwater encounter with such a giant. He has documented this encounter impressively in a personal account interspersed with pictures that show him at the bottom of the ocean floor – right next to a massive sperm whale.


I find it captivating how this whale’s gentle approach could make one person’s heart start to pound so much that the encounter could be translated into a message that touches and can be readily understood by other people. No one will ever know if that was the whale’s intention. The fact is that it happened and it is having an impact.

Hypothesis: If I were an intelligent, non-human being and biological constraints precluded me from expressing my interest in people, or perhaps even in shaping life on this planet, through some type of activity or even cooperation, and if I also had an interest in signalling this to people, then in a similar situation I would behave exactly like the whale Brian Skerry encountered.

Click here to watch Brian Skerry’s report.