Português | English

In English

The Boto and the Devil by the Banks of the Amazon River

The Boto and the Devil by the Banks of the Amazon River

People living in the interior of the Amazonas, throughout the Amazon River Basin, believe that their daughters get pregnant as a result of the irresistible enchantment of the incredible creatures known as botos, or blunt river dolphins, who have the power to transform into human form and ascend onto dry land. According to the legend of the boto, no woman can resist his/its intense charm. The boto-man enigmatically arrives into the evening parties, chooses the virgin he wants and takes her to the river bank, where he makes love to her with all his charm. Just before dawn, the boto dives full dressed back into the river where he transforms into a dolphin again. The real legend of the boto is simply wonderful. It is interesting that something apparently so dull, represents, in fact, an agreement of the collective unconscious about the need to have someone from outside to justify the unjustifiable, seeing that society itself can’t punish according to the established moral, which do not contemplate forgiveness. So, the unconscious creates the boto. A creature from the river who is not a man but who has the power to transform into a man and seduce the girls object of desire of all local men. Yes, just one of these men “catches” the girl, but the collective unconscious says that this sanctuary must be conceded to this lucky guy, once all local men desire her, but only one can have her. The boto makes a fatherless child; a girl escapes from the moral condemnation of the defloration. This way, a simple family guarantees their right to live with the respect of the community. In some cases, this family is even admired for the “visit” of the mysterious river power. Every country, city, neighborhood, street, building, village, shantytown, house, family and relationship has its own boto. The devil is the boto of the Christians. The irresistible devil. The almost-almighty-devil. The devil who permits life to go on without demanding people to look at themselves. But when a girl says that it was not the boto but John, so the moral laws need to be evoked and practiced with no right to forgiveness. To many people, it is better to be justified by the devil-boto, than to assume one’s own condition and reality, and live with the consequences. The consequences of the reality have paternity. Having paternity is fundamental to escape from schizophrenia. Thus, when one uses the devil-boto as a scapegoat, one steps out of reality and starts loosing self-perception, transferring the responsibility to someone or something. It generally results in unreality and fantasy. Consequently, many people end up living within this bubble of nothing. He who does not focus on the devil, not even to blame for something, will surely have better self-perception. The more devil, the less self-perception! Caio Original title: O Boto e o Diabo na Beirada do Rio Translation: Wanda de Melo Link: Reflexões May, 2005