Winner of the 2020 Oscar for Best Documentary
You’ve heard about the latest decadent trend: super rich guys fly a little rocket ship up through the clouds and into the Earth’s upper atmosphere. I suppose they are in search of a temporary thrill or an ego boost. Who knows?
What I do know is that briefly leaving the Earth is not as interesting or wholesome as learning about and learning to respect the amazing creatures that currently live here.
Those who only appreciate animals for how their muscles and skin taste are missing out on something beautiful and educational. There are some animals out there – like pigs and dogs and cats – that are intelligent enough to teach us new ways to see and experience the world. My late cat Lucy taught me a lot about empathy and love.
One of the most intelligent animals on the planet is the octopus. Because they look different from us and live in the water, we find it hard to believe that they are as intelligent as primates. “My Octopus Teacher” shows us how impressive they are.
“My Octopus Teacher” is as beautifully filmed as a nature documentary. But South African Craig Foster is not a scientist. He is just a diver who befriended a single octopus.
At first, the octopus was understandably scared of Mr. Foster. But after a few days, it concluded that the diver is not a threat and started interacting with him. They hold hands. The octopus cuddles up to his chest. It’s heartwarming.
But life isn’t all friendship and hugs for the octopus. Sharks are a constant threat. In one harrowing scene, a shark bites off one of our hero’s tentacles while it tries to cower under a rock.
The octopus recovers. And it also devises a much more sophisticated shark defense for the next attack.
A few months later, when another shark threatens the octopus, it has some inventive tricks up its sleeve. It hops up on land because it rightly concludes that the shark can’t chase it up there. It uses its suction cups to coat its soft body with protective sea shells. Finally, the octopus sneakily attaches itself to the shark’s back, utterly vexing and defeating its attacker.
This is a fantastic action scene.
And it demonstrates the absolutely elite intelligence of the species. Octopi only live a year or so and they do not socialize. It boggles the mind to imagine what they could accomplish if they worked together and lived and learned as long as we do.
Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos is so bored of Earth that he feels the need to trash it for profit and leave periodically.
With so many wonderful, fascinating, beautiful creatures down here, it’s a mystery that the super-rich don’t spend their money and influence helping them.
They’d certainly find something more rewarding than the cheap thrill of adventure. And they might just earn themselves an old-fashioned one-way trip up through the clouds without a rocket ship. And that trip is way better.