Koi, those large highly prized Japanese goldfish, are a frequent subject of painters. It’s probably the colors and graceful motion, and perhaps the traditional symbolism of the koi as perseverance in the face of adversity, strength and good luck. Step up to a koi pond, and the fish seem very coy, shyly approaching, then quickly swimming away.
It may be foolish to ascribe a human behavior such as coyness to a fish. After all, their wild heritage and instincts should make them naturally averse to any contact with man. On the other hand, their food often arrives along with the shadow of a person standing over their pond, rewarding them for approaching when this shadow of man appears. Their apparent coyness may just be the result of conflicting instincts and rewards.
Of course human coyness may also be a result of conflicting instincts, hungers and rewards. Perhaps the koi are not so different from us after all, and it is we who have learned to be koi.