Sunday, June 29, 2008
People of Influence # 1
Andrew Denton has a new show on ABC TV – ‘Elders’. The program introduction talks of how we are a society obsessed with youth. The 6 part series is made up of interviews with elders of our society and their views. Two weeks ago the subject was 82 year old David Attenborough.
Three comments in particular resonated:
Q: What is the secret of a successful marriage?
A: Tolerance. A person who questions whether the decision they have made, or are yet to make, is the right one is not going to be happy. But once the person has made a commitment to the notion of being part of a family they can work towards a successful marriage.
Attenborough’s father was a teacher by profession and a great teacher by nature – because he encouraged a young Attenborough to ask questions and find the answers himself. Attenborough loved perusing the rock cliffs near his home. When he would find a fossil he would take it to his father who would say ‘How interesting. A sea fossil found in the middle of Britain. How do you think it got there?’ and a young Attenborough would go to the library and find the answers and the story of the fossil.
Attenborough also pointed out that ‘Early humans lived with enough space around them that if they are confronted with people they didn’t like – they had the space to find people they did agree with. The over-populated planet means that humans don’t have the space to find their own way. But wherever there is 1) female emancipation and education and 2) the choice of when to reproduce then the birth rate can begin to decline and the human balance needed can be readdressed.’
This rang true in an Attenborough documentary I saw recently about pandas – the same theory applied. That pandas were faced with more confrontation as their natural environment was being depleted.