There is my wife, my two daughters and my son, and then there is a fifth family member who they all know but I have never met.
Oh I know what he looks like, at least in the sense that I can identity him in a picture, but if I hear a recording of his voice it’s the voice of a stranger, and if I see a video of him, his mannerisms and body language are quite different from those I’d expect. I’ve very rarely seen what he looks like when he doesn’t know he’s being observed, only momentary glimpses in the background of pictures of other people.
I’ve been told many things about him: the things he characteristically does do and the things he characteristically doesn’t. As I grow older, these stories add up in my mind into a somewhat more rounded picture than I used to have, but I’m still capable of being completely surprised, and there are still some characteristics which baffle me, even though I’ve been told about them so often that I know they must be real.
I wonder if I’d really have any sense of him at all, if it wasn’t for these reports from others. It’s true that I have access to lots of information about him that no one else has, but it would be such a strange and limited picture if I had to rely on that information alone, like that odd remote view you get of the sky and the outside world from underwater, looking up through the silvered undersides of waves.