South Africa’s popular ‘50|50′ television programme recently ran an interview with the ageing but ever lucid and inspirational Dr. Ian Player (see below to view the interview).
The short but powerful interview uncovers the loss of the sacred connection between ourselves and earth. A loss which is very much a part of our insulated urban lives and which ultimately desensitizes us from the natural world.
Dr. Player talks about how the wilderness saved his life and how he has subsequently devoted his life to helping others save themselves though wilderness experience. He and close friend – the late Sir Laurens van der Post- reminisce on the how ‘natural peoples’ such as the San Bushmen and the late ranger Magqubu Ntombela were remarkably in tune with nature… and sometimes displaying amazing sensory abilities.
Taking time for silence in nature is considered an essential ingredient for one to come to again know themselves. But the overriding theme – and one which is mirrored here on eyes4earth.org – is that of reconnecting. Dr. Player believes restoring that connection is fundamental to healing ourselves and the planet. It is necessary for us to remember the fundamental ecological principle that everything is connected to everything else. And the wilderness experience catalyzes that understanding. Dr. Player concludes:
“I believe that wilderness experience is so important, because that reconnects us with the natural world and the majority of people who have that experience – particularly if that never ever really had a close encounter with the natural world – it is an overwhelming experience.”
For me personally, this documentary was very poignant. Particularly because on the 27th May I gave a presentation of my research at our Annual Research Day (in Stellenbosch University’s Dept. Conservation Ecology & Entomology) . At the social event afterwards, a fellow student came up to me and said, “Speaking of synchronicity, did you watch 50-50 on Monday?” I replied, “No, I didn’t”. And he said, “Well they interviewed Dr. Ian Player and that he mentioned many of the same themes and quoted similar people as you did in your presentation…and I thought that was quite interesting.” He then proceeded to share with me some of his own emerging realizations of the importance of meaningful nature experiences – and this meant quite a lot to me especially on his particular day…
Journey with Dr. Ian Player – Part 1
Journey with Dr. Ian Player – Part 2