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The NonVerbal Dictionary of Gestures, Signs & Body Language Cues

Invisibility


Come, my son, let us go look for a place where I may hide . . . . --Cervantes (Don Quixote, 1605:565)

Keeping reflections to a minimum is necessary but not sufficient for invisibility. Light must also pass unimpeded through the body
 . . . . --Sönke Johnsen (2000:88)

Not seen. Nonverbally, the condition of being difficult or impossible to see, as in the use of camouflage, concealment, flatness, thinness, hiding, or transparency.

Usage: Animals from jellyfish to humans have devised ingenious ways to be stealthy and to avoid detection.

Jellyfish. In the featureless ocean depths which make up ca. 99 percent of Earth's living space, jellyfish have no place to hide, and thus rely upon transparency to become "invisible." Their clear, gelatinous bodies (the interior as well as the exterior surfaces) allow from 20 to 90 percent of light to pass through, thus enabling these simple creatures to sneak up on prey while avoiding detection by sighted enemies (Johnsen 2000:88).

Human beings1. In the corporate world, humans may become functionally invisible by keeping a low profile (e.g., by remaining silent), and by covering their bodily exteriors with the uniform of the day (see, e.g., BUSINESS SUITISOPRAXISM). 2. In private life, human beings spend a great deal of time in seclusion behind closed doors (e.g., in bathrooms and bedrooms) and other partitions designed to shield their bodies from prying eyes. Scientists have determined that too much visual monitoring can be harmful to human health.

Hunter's camouflage. According to Konrad Spindler (1994:147), the 5,000-year-old grass cloak of the Copper Age Iceman would have provided "excellent camouflage" for a hunter.
Sighting distance. "At some distance, depending on the animal's original contrast and how the water affects the light, the contrast drops below what the observer can see. This distance is known as the sighting distance, and beyond it the animal is invisible (and safe)" (Johnsen 2000:87).

Spy Museum. So cryptic is Keith Melton's Florida-based Spy Museum--which houses some 7,000 espionage artifacts (including concealed cameras and listening devices, dead drops, and an Enigma decoder)--that its exact location is kept secret. "'Dead drops are a way of separating the spy and the handler, by time but not space,' he [Melton] explains" (Schlesinger 2001:53).

Underground. "Throughout history, tunnels hidden below the earth were far from public gaze and thought" (Langrall 1994:4).

Drawing of "Showing My Nonverbal Side" by my son Aaron Huffman (copyright 2012 by Aaron M. Huffman)