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  • Alejandra Bolaños

My Octopus Teacher on Netflix

Updated: Feb 19, 2021

A middle-aged man learns important life lessons from an eight-limbed mollusk. In this 2020 Netflix documentary titled My Octopus Teacher, a diver off the coast of South Africa films his encounters with an octopus and explains how his life was changed by this “friendship”. Those who watch this emotional story unfold might also be moved, to tears and to a new appreciation of how the natural world is truly our teacher.

Craig Foster was burned out from his job and wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of modern life; he had become distant from his family and disconnected from his world. He decides to take up scuba diving in the freezing waters near Cape Town to deal with his stress. On the first day, he sees an octopus and decides to track its movements.

Over a year of filming, the diver develops a special bond with the octopus. He follows the octopus as it escapes harrowing encounters with predators, displays amazing abilities to learn and adapt, and ultimately surrenders to the inevitable.

Thanks to the lessons he learns from it, the diver realizes what he himself must do to reconnect with the people around him and heal his wounds. His octopus teacher leaves him a new purpose, which involves the protection of the area where the documentary was filmed.

I highly recommend watching this beautiful and touching film to discover what lessons you can learn from it, too.

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?” (Job 12:7-9)

Octopus swimming in a kelp bed with an onlooking diver.

By Jennifer Rogers.

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