In the eyes of

“In the eyes of” means “from this person’s point of view.”

Today's story: Boeing 737-Max
Explore more: Lesson #333
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In the eyes of

Today we’re going to talk about how to describe another person’s perspective. We’re going to talk about how to say how things look to another person. And the expression we’re going to use is “in the eyes of.”

In today’s main lesson, we said that Boeing deceived regulators and their customers. Boeing said, a few years back, that their then-new 737-MAX airplane would not require additional pilot training in a simulator. Pilots would just have to take some computer-based training and then they could fly the plane.

Why did Boeing do that? Before we go any further, this was obviously wrong and it cost many lives and put many more people at risk. And I should also note that not everyone at Boeing was responsible for this deception. But the point remains that certain people at Boeing wanted their planes to be as easy to buy and operate as possible. They were imagining how their customers—the airlines—would be thinking.

In the eyes of the airlines, additional pilot training on a simulator means additional costs. In the eyes of the airlines, a plane that requires pilot training on a simulator is more expensive than the sticker price because they need to invest that time and cost in the training.

When we say “in the eyes of,” we mean to say, “from this person’s point of view.” From the airlines’ point of view, additional pilot training is expensive. Certain people at Boeing wanted their planes to appear cheaper and easier to operate. They wanted their planes to be attractive in the eyes of—or from the perspective of—the customers.

Airline regulators have given the new 737-MAX their blessing. In the eyes of the regulators, the new plane is ready to go. They have probably scrutinized this plane more than any other plane in modern history, just due to all the public pressure. So, in the eyes of the governments of Brazil and the United States, this plane is good to go.

What about the public, though? In the eyes of the public, Boeing tried to cut corners and two of its planes went down. The public may not be as quick to accept the new planes.

We sometimes use “in the eyes of” when the same thing looks different to different people. To many people, Donald Trump was a disaster of a president and he did lasting damage to the United States. In the eyes of his supporters, though, Trump was standing up for their beliefs against an out-of-touch elite. Same president, different perspective.

Remember the lesson we did on too much tourism? Places like Venice and Barcelona are popular tourist attractions. Cheap rental apartments on Airbnb are attractive to visitors from around the world. It’s great that so many people can experience these beautiful cities. In the eyes of the local residents, though, the tourists are not always a good thing. They crowd central cities, make noise late at night, and drive up rents. Same phenomenon, different perspective.

If you’re religious, Christian, and study the Bible, you might recognize the phrase, “in the eyes of the Lord.” That means “from God” or “from God’s perspective.” In the story of Noah’s ark, in the book of Genesis, sixth chapter, God believed the human race had become corrupted and only evil lived in the hearts of humans. Therefore, He would flood the entire earth and destroy every living thing on it. But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Noah had behaved well and was an exception, from God’s perspective. So Noah was instructed to go onto an ark—a big boat—with his family plus two of every kind of animal.

There’s one more specific example I want to share with you and that is, “in the eyes of the law.” That simply means, “according to the law.” Here’s a perfect example, which I remember from my old driver’s education classes.

Let’s say you go out to a bar or restaurant—remember that?—well, let’s pretend you have a few too many drinks. You drove to the bar; your car is there. You don’t want to drive home because you’ve been drinking, but it’s late. So you just go to your car, sit in the driver’s seat, lock the doors, turn the engine on to get the heater going, and fall asleep. Guess what? You can be convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol. In the eyes of the law in some American states, that is the same as driving drunk. You don’t have to have your foot on the pedal. If you’re intoxicated and the car is on—even if you just turn the car on to warm up and go to sleep—that’s the same as driving drunk, in the eyes of the law, in certain places.

Is that right? I don’t know. It’s certainly not as dangerous as driving drunk. But a person’s judgment is clouded when they’re intoxicated. It’s probably best not to be anywhere near the driver’s seat of a car if you’re intoxicated. But guess what? It doesn’t matter what I personally think. An individual opinion doesn’t count for much if the police show up. In the eyes of the law, again in certain places, that’s the same as actually operating the vehicle.

JR’s song of the week

Today’s song of the week is “Venus” by the band “Shocking Blue.” I didn’t recognize this song at first, not when I just looked at the title. But I bet you’ve heard it. The main line is, “I’m your Venus, I’m your fire. What’s your desire?” The band is Dutch and the song was released as a single in 1969; it was number one in nine countries. “Venus” by the band “Shocking Blue” is JR’s song of the week.

See you next time!

And that’s all for today’s lesson. Congratulations on making it to the end. I still have not been on an airplane since COVID. I used to be on the road almost every week for work, and I remember my last flight. I was in Atlanta, coming home to Chicago. My company had just announced that all business travel was to be suspended, and everyone had to come home. And I clearly remember stepping onto the plane thinking, this might be the last time I do this for a while. And here we are, just about ten months later. Crazy times.

If you’re ready to get 2021 off to a great start, why not consider Plain English Plus? It’s a great way to upgrade your experience. If you ever find yourself unable to express an idea; if you feel like you just don’t have enough tools in your English toolkit to get the job done, then I think you’d benefit from our membership Plain English Plus. If that sounds like you, and if you’re committed to improving in English in 2021, then come join us at PlainEnglish.com/Plus.

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Story: Boeing 737-Max