My Octopus Teacher

Terike Haapoja in FB wrote this nice text about it:

“Watched this last night. It’s a strange nature documentary, because it lacks all the scientific data and marvel about the biological features that’s typical to the genre. But then I understood that it’s not really about the octopus (that they’re pretty amazing is not big news) or even about interspecies friendship (there are documented cases that are much more spectacular and out of the ordinary than this) - but it’s about this guy and what happens to him when he opens up to the relationship with the octopus in a way that allows for them to become friends. It reminded me of how someone (I think the primatologist Barbara Smutts) wrote about personhood and that it’s not something anyone has before the encounter, but something that emerges_in_the encounter. And how Matthew Calarco wrote in reference to Levinas that if the other is radically beyond knowing, and the”face" that triggers the ethical encounter has no predetermined features, then not only human face but literally anything living can suddenly appear to us as a “face” that utters ‘don’t kill me’. And how Elisa Aaltola writes about empathy and reaching beyond skepticism that only when we approach the other without any wants or expectations can we form an ethical relationship with them.
I’m also thinking that this guy was able to encounter the octopus in this way when he himself was in a stage on some kind of vulnerability (after burnout, it seems) and went in there not to get something for himself but just to co-exist. So I think this is a beautiful record of what happens when we open up like this and that it’s possible for anyone to form these kinds of deep bonds across all kinds of ways of being."