Jane Goodall was self-taught.
Jane Goodall on Science and Spirit: The Iconic Primatologist Talks to Bill Moyers and Reads Her Poem "The Old Wisdom"
Alan Lightman's superb recent meditation on science and religion reminded me of a 2009 Bill Moyers conversation with legendary primatologist Jane Goodall, in which the celebrated scientist contemplates the question of science and spirit -- a question previously pondered by such great minds as Galileo in 1615, Ada Lovelace in 1844, Albert Einstein in 1936,Isaac Asimov throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and perhaps most famously Carl Sagan in 1985.
In the interview, found in the altogether fantastic Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues (public library), Goodall also reads her beautiful poem "The Old Wisdom," inspired by the eternal inquiry and found in her 1999 book Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey (public library), which further explores Goodall's views on science and spirituality.
As human beings, we can encompass a vague feeling of what the universe is, and all in this funny little brain here -- so there has to be something more than just brain, it has to be something to do with spirit as well.
THE OLD WISDOMWhen the night wind makes the pine trees creakAnd the pale clouds glide across the dark sky,Go out my child, go out and seekYour soul: The Eternal I.For all the grasses rustling at your feetAnd every flaming star that glitters highAbove you, close up and meetIn you: The Eternal I.Yes, my child, go out into the world; walk slowAnd silent, comprehending all, and by and byYour soul, the Universe, will knowItself: the Eternal I.
A transcript of the full discussion, absolutely stimulating from beginning to end, can be found it Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues, which also features conversations with luminaries like E.O. Wilson, Karen Armstrong, John Lithgow, Michael Pollan, and Jon Stewart.