My Octopus Teacher: Unexpected Siren on Love vs. Law

Oh dear, I saw My Octopus Teacher on Netflix and had such a strong reaction I had to walk–I couldn’t finish.

Like when everyone started turning to ash in Avengers: Infinity Wars. By the time Peter Parker was blowing away, I was eyeballing the Exit at the bottom of the theatre.

My Octopus Teacher was worse. It was real life.

Ok, Rewind.

-Filmmaker recovering from burnout.
-Starts healing through visits to local ocean nature.
-Meets octopus who so intrigues, he is moved to get camera back in his life.
-Amazing cinematography, unseen underwater wonders, soothing sounds and tender storytelling. We were in!

(*And tremendous Shout to Craig Foster for sharing this incredibly deep, vulnerable journey <3)

So What Happened?

After weeks of encounters, the little octopus responds to the filmmaker’s outstretched arm and–GASP— extends hers.

A bond is forming, and the “creature” allows the filmmaker to follow her on her rounds. Even, in one scene she stays on his hand as he goes to the surface for air. OMG!

(btw, did I mention filmmaker was doing all this with simple mask and snorkel?)

And then it happened.

For a moment, the earth stopped. Close to the surface, surrounded by ocean, the little octopus curls up on the filmmaker’s chest, just near his heart, just like a kitten would.

What Universe is this??!

But later in the movie, pajama sharks come to prey and the filmmaker doesn’t intervene, despite sharing his “gut reaction” was to fend them off.

Cue Emotional Hijack.

The little octopus defends herself by herself. This is the way. (Mando peeps, I see you 😉 She hides in a small crack, but the little hunters track her scent and attack.

I left. Not because of the terror for this little creature as the small shark does a croc-like death roll, but because the filmmaker/new friend whose gut reaction was to protect, did not.

Law beats Love again? G*d Dammit.

The scene ended with, SPOILER, the shark tearing off one of her arms. She barely survives, but the filmmaker brings some food to help nurse her back to health.

We can help heal, but we can’t help keep from being killed?

Question: If you find a stray dog or cat, do you take it home? Maybe not, maybe you provide an occasional meal, maybe you do nothing. But would you stand by if bigger dogs came to bother or attack? Don’t you shoo them off?

Where do we draw the line on “Nature?”

Do we think we’re higher than the animals and creation around us? Aren’t we just mammals too? Or as a writing friend noted, “Dude, but you’re a part of nature!”

From a God/Love/Universe perspective, aren’t we all –trees, mountains, stars, skies, children, creatures…– from the same Hand?

Is that why we share 70% of our DNA with a worm? Or ~75% with a zebra fish, 90% with a cat, and–drum roll please50% with a banana! Come on people!

My kids taught me we’re officially more bacteria than human (56% at the cellular level).

How’s that for Humility?

In the end, the Octopus recovers and survives long enough to produce eggs, but it depletes her life energy. She uses her last strength to leave her den and come near the surface.

Arguably to be closer to her air-breathing friend..

But AGAIN!! As fish nip at her life-drained body, the filmmaker doesn’t shoo them away, nor touch her–though he desperately wants to!

Acck! “LAW OF NATURE!!!!”

Eventually a shark takes her away and puts ALL of us out of our misery.

Witnessing a pure heart’s impulse oppressed and denied, and the possibility and wonder of our deeper, boundless connection with the world around us, Wrecked. Me.

As humanity, we keep progressing in Love and breaking the “rules” against us. Like bans on interfaith and interracial marriages, or smashing paradigms and “traditions” that confine genders to certain articles of clothing, hairstyles, jewelry, ways of communicating..

Sure, we’re not truly blind yet– policing and judicial systems flag that, plus the daily siren of ads making people feel insecure.

But we’re working on it, on Everything as a Humanity.

Look, I’m not saying befriend a lion or gorilla (though some have). We must always be safe. But I’m flagging the heart.

Even plants, like people, do better when spoken to nicely.

And one geek bible verse says stones would literally cry out with joy if the people didn’t.

The film closes with the filmmaker exploring the underwater forest with his son. And some eggs of the octopus may have survived.

A few more chances to challenge one of our deepest boundaries.

If we make a connection, whatever the species or genus, shouldn’t we allow ourselves to think twice about the “Law?”

After all, isn’t Love the Ultimate one? ❤

Hey Peeps, you doing ok in these Covid-crazy times? ❤ What did you learn from My Octopus Teacher? Was I the only one bawling? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. ❤

You can also follow the blog (see below/sidebar) for auto-alerts on new posts, and subscribe to the Newsletter for the release of the rebel yet relevant, “Ready for Crazy: Pocket Guide to the End of the World.”

Related Posts

Photo Credits:

-The cover image comes from a lovely remix by Tourist, “What’s it Gonna Be” (Shura), and the image was the final “sign” of many to actually write and publish this post. *I listened to the track for almost all the writing. ❤
(Love: “if you let me down, let me down slow..” seemed apropos)My Octopus Teacher Netflix
-The Snorks, 80’s flashback.
-Wt* is going on face, giphy
-Robin Williams giph, form Dead Poets Society (classic, but heavy themes so please watch with friends or loved ones and know that your life matters and this world can not do without you!)
-“Be humble you are made of earth. Noble, you are made of stars” – Serbian proverb
-Octopus rescue from Finding Dory
-Trolls sharing some love with Christoff via Disney’s Frozen.

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