Rev. Alan Jones leads a conversation on topics ranging from the environment to modern society with Jane Goodall at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, CA.
Dame Jane Goodall, DBE, is an English UN Messenger of Peace, primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist.
She is best-known for her study of chimpanzee social and family life in Gombe Stream National Park for 45 years, and for founding the Jane Goodall Institute.
Rev. Alan Jones
Alan Jones, Ph.D., has been dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco since 1985.
Jones was formerly the director of the Center for Christian Spirituality and Stephen F. Bayne Professor of Ascetical Theology at General Theological Seminary in New York City. Born and educated in England, Jones was also on the staff of Trinity Institute of Wall Street's Trinity Church. He became a citizen of the United States in 1975.
Jones is the author of several books, most notably, Soul Making, The Desert Way of Spirituality, Passion for Pilgrimage and most recently, The Soul's Journey: Exploring the Three Passages of the Spiritual Life with Dante as a Guide. He is widely known as a gifted preacher and travels throughout the world preaching, lecturing, and leading retreats.
Watching and listening over the years of which where you have been both as a scientist and in thissort of more - I would say generous humanism in the broader sense in terms of all of us being on thisfamily and in this and not just the human family, but the family of the planet is you also help atleast me in that and and we are fighting and arguing about a split between science and religion. And itseems to me you have such an integrated vision, a sort of undermines that nonsense that somehowreligious sensibility and and tough science can't some how flourish with one another. Have you hadany kind of people ask you those kind of questions in terms because you have four reasons for hopehave a deep kind of spiritual content to them?I was brought up to see no disconnect between science and religion, what an amazing mother you mustknow that because I am always talking about her and I remember being quite young and she said youknow, you have been born into a Christian family and we worship God. But she said you could havebeen born into a Muslim family and worship Allah or you could have born into a Jewish family or youcould have been born you know Buddhist. But she said, I can't believe that there isn't just one entityand it doesn't matter what name that entity has and then going on into you know spiritual matters, asfar as I am concerned the more science unravels about the mysteries of the universe, the more in awe Iam and the more the more it seems absolutely inevitable that there is a great spiritual power that isabove us and just looking at my life, look where it has led me. I didn't plan it, it happened I - nobodywould plan to travel 300 plus days a year, would they? I mean it doesn't make senseNo, no that we wouldn't plan that.Especially now with after 9/11 when you have to strip the airport and they treat you like a criminal andtake away all your nail scissors - I just looking and thinking, oh bother.Well, they say they say look at this Jane Goodall.Oh they they do do you know do you know, I travel around with Mary Lewis, we get S S S S onour boarding card which means special search suspect I can't remember what the other S is. We haveto be pulled away and have air blown at us and all these dreadful things going through and then andthen the funny thing is that more or less searching through my my suitcase, and fingering myunderwear, they say, I have watched every show you have did. Will you sign an autograph for me?I see, well I feel safer. I am that's another key, isn't it, I mean a sense of humor because if we didn'twe would be crying so much.One of the one of the tough balance is because of the and you see it in in politics and so on is howfar governments themselves by regulation and law can bring about sustainability and how far thepressure should be on lets say corporate responsibility? I mean that that political balance do you getquestioned on the politics of it and the - I am thinking of you know, social responsibility of the corporations.Well, yes indeed and fortunately we are seeing a change you know, there is more social responsibility,most companies are doing something for the environment or the people but you know and and thesame with the politicians but it it really comes back to us because if there is a corporation and it'smaking things which are harm - in a way that's harmful to the environment or bad for people, we don'thave to buy them. And it's the same with politicians you know, they have a job and if they don't haveabout 50 percent of their constituents behind them and when they make a tough decision, they are notgoing to make it because they want to be reelected so it comes back again and again and again to us, toour involvement and the thing here is that some people can't afford to make those choices when itcomes to buying different products. They have to go with the cheapest. So the more those who canafford to make the correct ethical choices, then the price comes down and then you know increasinglypoor people can make the same choices.The one of our first guest in the forum this season was Robert Reich the former labor secretary whosebook "Super Capitalism" argues that we are pushed the fact that we are consumers, that's the - theprimary model for what it to be human being consumers investors and really undermined the notion ofwhat it is to be citizens and one of the things I think you do in your work is really eliciting, calling usall to be citizens of of this world community and roots and shoots I think does that for children andyou are realizing the connection between the the chimps being preserved and and allowed toflourish and also the poor people around needing to needing to eat and is that kind of citizenship,would you agree with that? That you are calling people to a kind of - yes you you make a differenceEvery individualEvery individualEvery individual matters and has a role to play and we may not know it and you know I was in Nepaland there was a group of roots and shoots there - young people about 18 to 25 and they risk their livesgoing in to an area that's being under Maoists control, why because there are children there illegallyforced to work in the coal mines destroying themselves with the dust and they are the untouchable caste.The only hope they have of getting out of this horrible situation is if they get educated, but they can't,so the roots and shoots group is being risking its life going in, teaching them reading and writing andyou know so I am I am incredibly inspired, roots and shoots - and it goes right through university, itstarts a preschool, go through university, it's jumped into prisons, senior citizen, residences orwhatever you call them, it's jumped into the staff of big corporations starting roots and shoots, so it'sthe whole thing. You make a difference with your life I make a difference with mine every body in thisroom, every one has - you know you can't live through a day without making an impact if you thinkabout it.While we are on that, if you could tell because it's this is live on the internet too it's what what'sthe website or where have do people get in touch with roots and shoots?"rootsandsshoots.org"All one word? "rootsandshoots.org"All one word, yes.Yes and if they forget that, "janegoodal.org" jumps into it, they cant forget that.Alright alright that's good.And we have got we we are moving into being able to sell products so that the profit goes back tothe research, to the people, to the farmers, to the chimps but we got to seal - a seal of approval, we arenot using it yet but it says Jane Goodal at the top, in the middle is me looking at you as if to say, listenand at the bottom it says "Good For All".Good that's right.Isn't it fun?Yeah it is good. It isn't?You see my name was destinedThere it is, "good for all" good good one. I noticed - I mean back to the government - governmentregulation that Japan's solar power project seems to be an enormous effort to make a difference do youknow much about that? I mean I I think the president Jimmy Carter, way back in 79 unveiled a$28,000 solar cell system that capture the suns energy to provide hot water for the white house, thatwas in 1979 and it didn't you know he launched a campaign to make a difference and it didn't happenand then - and then it was removed for some leak of it was never put back, I mean so there were peoplesort of beginning to - now Japan is working to provide 23 percent the worlds electric power by 2025I mean it's an enormous - an amazing kind of effortWell there was a company, I forgot its name, but very very unfortunately the president doesn't speakany English, president of the company but all the way through the time when people were kind of sayingof solar energy to live on, never have enough you know wouldn't be powerful enough, this companywent on working at solar so I am sure that company because its very well known as behind this effortand when you these dogs - they are hard to ignore I think - they are not happy - any way you knowthe thing is that going to some of these conferences and listening to the modern technology don't youhave a feeling that when we humans have our backs to the wall, we really can do our best and I thinkpeople around the world are beginning to feel backs to the wall with this climate change?Well that comes actually in terms of your four reasons for hope, one of them is human ingenuity - thehuman brain and its resourcefulness in its own. The other of course is is the determination of young people.Yes.Can you say something about how about young people who - you talked about South Dakota andthe poverty there and the hopelessness of some of the young - you are seeing the determination ofyoung people as a sign of hope and it's patriotism but it's really there and it's happening.Yeah we will think how this roots and shoots program has spread and I think it's spread because theyoung people sit down together and work out what are the problems surrounding them and what theycould do about those problems and it's to be in three kinds of project, one for people, one for animals,one for environment with the theme of learning to live in peace and harmony within yourself, yourcommunity, between religions very important now, between cultures, between nations and between usand then natural world and I haven't found a groups of kids yet where there wasn't, when a few ofthem passionate about animals, they drive that and some passionate about community service and theydrive that and many who care about the environment, they want to clean streams and collect trash sobetween them they are covering all these aspects and they are all empowered because they are all ableto follow there own passion.You know and we got quite a few out in front of us today.Well today yeah I want to talk a bit before we open it up - we talk about that natural environment theand you you talked about flying over and seeing that forest, this whole impact, this sense ofconnection you have with the human environment and what human flourishing and human humanbeings are flourishing and places and toxic the food is infected and the you know things like thatone of the one of the things that worries me is that I am worried it is a strange kind of thing whereyou are all in a kind of chasing your own tail of anxiety, is that we live in a time of you know the factthat you are searched at the airport and I feel more secure of course. The the act - the climate if youwill a fear, that says we got to do this this and this because we are going to be attacked, that culture offear seems to be something which undermines human flourishing and the sense of you know well beingand I wanted that's another thing I think you speak to rather well of getting out of that cycle of.One of the ways to get out of the cycle of fear is to go and do something for somebody else.Yeah I think I I really - I really do things that I am you know people ask me how I can keep hopefuland don't I get depressed and of course I do sometimes I mean we all do but I think if you if youreally try every single day to be doing what you can about it in one way or another, even if its small itjust I knew you just have this conviction that other people again to be doing the same and that reallykeeps you out of being too depressed because you see the difference so like these kids you know theysee well between us we can clean a stream, we can write letters to legislatures we can eventuallyreintroduce fish and then - yeah and all around the world there are other kids doing the same, there isother streams being cleaned, so the resists growing power. I think roots and shoots is growing really quickly.We know that yeah.I don't know whether you know of Mary Oliver's poem just a couple of lines in it which says "tellme about your despair I will tell you about mine, mean while the world goes on"And she talks about nature and the geese that are flying and so you you were the first show thatchimpanzees engage in what we would normally call very human behavior warfare, would you say - Iam thinking about that violent - issue of violence as being natural to us and how we then - that energy,how it's turned to nonviolence I mean there are people who say well this is the way history is, you lookat history and the slaughter is going on through centuries after centuries and since centuries, is it - andthere is a there is a kind of fatalisms among some people who say, that's that's what human beingdo. And I think there is some argument, now I am saying that may well be true. But if we are going tosurvive, we are going to have to learn something else in order to to surviveYeah. I mean, I do believe it's it's kind of innate - this violent tendency. And that you say, you lookaround the world, you can hardly not believe that we can be very violent in certain situations. But againwe come back to this to this brain. We are capable more than any other animal I think of controllingour inherited behaviors, our instinctive behaviors. And war isn't inevitable, violence isn't inevitableif we can just build up a more just society around the world. I mean think of the the gap is wideningbetween the people yeah. It really is widening and it's shocking to me to think that, in the hands of sofew organizations, resides so much of the wealth of the world while so many people have nothing.Final question thought before opening it up is this another amazing thing I get from your writing is thebenefit human beings derive from the bonding with other animals and there is dogs obviously.But you know who call them dumb animals?Yes they are - dumb animals is- that that study is studies have shown that pets minimize tensionbetween family members. I mean, if you want to sort of - so it is going to church actually butDepends on the sermon.It depends on the sermon. It will be all right today. And I want to assure the congregation that Jane willbe thoroughly searched before she gets into this into the pulpit. But that that that human animaloh humans are animals but that animal bond is something that's underestimated and you think can we -And and you you have been concerned about the way animals have also been exploited and so andso. Would you say something about that because I am back at the beginning of your story, watching,silent, still, respecting, paying attention and then developeing amazing bonds with with theseamazing amazing creatures.I think there is absolutely no question but that animals can do so much for us. There is absolutescientific proof.That contact with the dog reduces blood pressure reduces levels of stress. Dogs going round to visitelderly people are causing some people to speak for the first time; to move hands that didn't movebefore because they went to stroke. It doesn't have it to be a dog, a cat, a rabbit, there is a llama I knowthat goes around.I understand we have a stoat.Somebody told me there's a stoat Yes, - I mean, II don't think there is too many stoats visiting old peopleBut going in to hospitals too and these things really - really are much more important and you knowthey find something really interesting. They find that there is something about a cat's purr that ishealing there is something to do with the frequency. So the first things they decide to do this is justan example where the science can take over in the most ridiculous way that they would make amachine that purr with the same. And they they would then destroy every thing. It's the warm; it's thefurry little bodyIt's a combination of everything.It's a combination.Yeah. Let's make a CD of cat cat purring.That's right. That will do won't it?Yeah. It's great idea.However this was going to be a vibrating machine.I mean, cell phone why not?Why not why not? We are going to open it up to the audience.