Researchers studying the Amazon rainforest in Brazil recently released aerial photographs of a tribe of men, women and children who have had no contact with the outside world.
They are one community of perhaps 100 around the world that are not in communication with anyone else.In one of the photographs, men from the tribe are seen pointing bows and arrows at the sky, understandably feeling threatened (it would seem) by the plane capturing the aerial photos overhead.
I looked at that photograph and thought about how the sighting of that aircraft must have played in the psyches of the previously 'uncontacted' tribal members on the ground.The first response was, clearly, fear and a corresponding commitment to protect themselves by force.That's an understandable reaction when the unknown presents itself as a flying machine disturbing the peace of the Amazonian sky.
It speaks to the inherent capacity of man to join together, create a community and protect it.It shows the inherent bravery at the core of every great people-whether numbering 250 million or a thousand.It means that we are related in our souls even to the most "primitive" men and women, because the highest attributes we possess are not expressed in the machines we create or the buildings we build, but the relationships we forge, the value we place on our "villages," and the courage we can summon in the face of adversity.
Perhaps the villagers will prepare for war.Perhaps they will pray for peace or for strength.Perhaps a sense of wonder and possibility will mingle with their raw determination to survive.Perhaps that hope for something miraculous from the sky will overtake their fears.I pray that they will not interpret the machine in the sky as the beginning of Armageddon, as the final chapter of their existence-but we know that communities much closer to home have needlessly seen the end looming near.
I imagine they will hold their children closer or kiss them in their sleep or prepare for them an oral or written history of the great event that took place in their lives before they were old enough to record their own life stories.Maybe those who rushed outside at the sound and then sight of the aircraft above will be remembered for generations to come as heroes.
The truth is we could share gifts with these Amazonian people.We have learned so much about maintaining our health, journeying to frontiers of scientific and technical knowledge previously unthinkable, and expanding the range of human possibility in communication and travel.
Yet we also should be careful to note-for them and for us-that some of our achievements have transported too many of us away from our connections with ourselves and one another, away from our connections to nature and away from our connections to God.And reminders of these invaluable assets, inherent to man, may be among the gifts these Amazonian people can offer us.
Late tonight, when I arrive home to my family after a short trip, I will kiss my wife and son and daughter in their sleep and remind myself-in honor of the "uncontacted" men and women and children in the rainforest-that human beings are much more alike than different in what we need and what we can give, and often more afraid than we need to be.
Dr. Ablow is a FOX News psychiatry correspondent. Visit his Web site atwww.livingthetruth.com.
Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team.