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Jane Goodall

  • ... I am living in the Africa I have always longed for, always felt stirring in my blood.

    • Jane Goodall,
    • letter (1957), Africa in My Blood ()
  • Surely it should be a matter of moral responsibility that we humans, different from other animals mainly by virtue of our more highly developed intellect and, with it, our greater capacity for understanding and compassion, ensure that medical progress slowly detaches its roots from the manure of non-human animal suffering and despair.

  • I had never been able to believe that God would give us poor frail humans only one chance at making it — that we would be assigned to some kind of hell because we failed during one experience of mortal life. ... So the concepts of karma and reincarnation made logical sense to me.

    • Jane Goodall,
    • in Jane Goodall with Phillip Berman, Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey
  • Louis [Leakey] was anxious to initiate a scientific study of these chimpanzees. It would be difficult, he emphasized, for nothing was known; there were no guidelines for such a field study; and the habitat was remote and rugged. Dangerous wild animals would be living there, and chimpanzees themselves were considered at least four times stronger than humans. I remember wondering what kind of scientist he would find for such a herculean task.

    • Jane Goodall,
    • in Jane Goodall with Phillip Berman, Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey ()
  • For those who have experienced the joy of being alone with nature there is really little need for me to say much more; for those who have not, no words of mine can ever describe the powerful, almost mystical knowledge of beauty and eternity that come, suddenly, and all unexpected.

    • Jane Goodall,
    • in Jane Goodall with Phillip Berman, Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey ()
  • ... I became intensely aware of the being-ness of trees. The feel of rough sun-warmed bark of an ancient forest giant, or the cool, smooth skin of a young and eager sapling, gave me a strange, intuitive sense of the sap as it was sucked up by unseen roots and drawn up to the very tips of the branches, high overhead.

    • Jane Goodall,
    • in Jane Goodall with Phillip Berman, Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey ()
  • Words can enhance experience, but they can also take so much away. We see an insect and at once we abstract certain characteristics and classify it — a fly. And in that very cognitive exercise, part of the wonder is gone. Once we have labeled the things around us we do not bother to look at them so carefully. Words are part of our rational selves, and to abandon them for a while is to give freer reign to our intuitive selves.

    • Jane Goodall,
    • in Jane Goodall with Phillip Berman, Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey ()
  • So long as we continued to attach more importance to our own narrow group membership than to the 'global village' we would propagate prejudice and ignorance. There was absolutely no harm in being part of a small group — indeed, with our hunter-gatherer band mentality it gave comfort, provided us with an inner circle of friends who could be utterly trusted, who were absolutely reliable. It helped give us peace of mind. The danger came only from drawing that sharp line, digging that ditch, laying that minefield, between our own group and any other group that thought differently.

    • Jane Goodall,
    • in Jane Goodall with Phillip Berman, Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey ()
  • Science demands objective factual evidence — proof; spiritual experience is subjective and leads to faith.

    • Jane Goodall,
    • in Jane Goodall with Phillip Berman, Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey ()
  • ... there have been too many events in my life, and in the lives of my friends, which have defied any kind of scientific explanation. Science does not have appropriate tools for the dissection of the spirit.

    • Jane Goodall,
    • in Jane Goodall with Phillip Berman, Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey ()
  • ... every individual can make a difference ... if we continue to leave decision making to the so-called decision makers, things will never change.

    • Jane Goodall,
    • in Utne Reader ()
  • If plants could be credited with reasoning powers, we would marvel at the imaginative ways they bribe or ensnare other creatures to carry out their wishes.

    • Jane Goodall,
    • "The Roots of a Naturalist," in Smithsonian ()

Jane Goodall, English chimpanzee researcher, wildlife activist

(1934)

Full name: Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall.