August 02, 2021
A few weeks ago, a friend suggested that I watch the documentary
My Octopus Teacher, He mentioned that the film is a bit out of the ordinary.
I got curious and watched it a few days later. Then, within a short period, I had watched it three times. The second viewing was with my very good friend Lara and then I watched it another time with my husband. And actually, I could easily watch it again.
We were all smitten and taken aback by the slow pace of the filming and the intense emotions.
A man in Cape Town, South Africa, tells the story about his special friendship with an octopus. He doesn't just tell us their story but has also captured a lot of it on film.
This beautiful octopus lady eventually gives this man her trust and decides to show him her life.
This film is about the relationship between a human man and an octopus lady, which gives us the opportunity to think about how we treat others, especially if they are very different from us.
It's like diving into another world, and it’s one that we humans know very little about. But just because we don't know much about something or someone doesn't mean that their life is unimportant or less worthy than ours.
It’s probably obvious by now, but I recommend wholeheartedly that you watch this film. Enjoy the deep dive into an appreciation of the world of an extraordinary being.
My dad and his turnaround
My dad grew up on the west coast of Sweden, where fishing is a part of life (well, not for the fish; they die!). Most children there grow up learning how to fish, just like their parents and grandparents did. My dad fished as a hobby with a string and a hook.
One summer day, when my dad was already in his 70s, he was out fishing alone. He felt a tug on his fishing pole, and while pulling up his string, he saw a fish that had gotten caught with his lips on the hook (I wouldn't like that to happen to me!). Then the fish and my dad caught one another's eyes.
My dad said it was a split moment of true consciousness like the fish had seen straight into his soul. It was a realization of what he actually did to someone else. He released the fish and never fished again. He didn’t even participate in catch and release fishing, not wanting to ever traumatize or hurt another fish with his hook. For a while he still ate fish, trying to brush his conscience away. But then a few years later, we both went vegan.
Often when we encounter someone, we compare them to ourselves. We notice how similar they are to us. The more similar, the better. Why do we do that? Why does someone have to be like us to be respected for who they are?
I think it's time we realize that we are all very different in so many ways: size, biology, how we live, what we like, how we communicate. Animals communicate through telepathic communication. Imagine being able to do that? Some walk, some fly, some swim and so on and so on.
Remember Gulliver's Travels? He didn't pull the legs out of the small people he encountered just because they were tiny compared to him. And when he met the giants, he was lucky that they didn't scare or make fun of him just because he was so small.
The late philosopher Tom Regan said: Their lives are as important to them as our lives are important to us, whether we care about it or not.
Another great documentary
While I am on the subject of documentaries, there is one more recently released that will take you on a journey to the sea, but not in the same beautiful way as
My Octopus Teacher. It is called, Seaspiracy and it is about the fishing industry and its consequences on the fish(es), the oceans, and human slavery.
I believe it is such an important film to watch. There are just so many things that are going on that we have no idea about. And I think we all have the right to know.
Most of us want to do good and to be kind. That is human nature. But we have to be informed in order to make compassionate choices
Again, here are the two documentaries (both are available to watch on Netflix):
My Octopus Teacher
Another suggestion, something to eat!
As I mentioned before, growing up or living in Sweden, you will bump into fish and crustaceans everywhere. And I didn't stop eating them because I didn't like the taste.
So if you also like salmon, I highly recommend the raw spiced "salmon" from the company Wild Foods, made from carrots. Yes! Carrots! It is super delicious
You can also make it yourself. My friend Lara suggests this
vegan salmon recipe.
PS For all the Swedes out there, August is the time for crayfish parties. I used to think that the animals died instantly when thrown into boiling water. This is what I was told as a kid, and probably what you were told as well.
Here is a
short video of a crayfish trying to escape; it is heartbreaking but essential viewing in order to realize the pain that we cause.
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