Sir Laurens van der Post
Sir Laurens van der Post has been a source of inspiration for all in the WTM and is the author most quoted in Jeremy Griffith’s writings—indeed, Jeremy’s book Beyond The Human Condition is dedicated to him.
In his 1996 The Times (UK) full-page obituary, Sir Laurens was acknowledged as ‘a prophet’ and given the truly exceptional profundity and integrity of his thinking he clearly was an exceptional prophet, an exceptionally unevasive, denial-free, penetrating thinker. In A Species In Denial, Jeremy Griffith wrote that ‘history will record that van der Post played a pivotal role in saving the human race’.
After his death, Sir Laurens was vilified in a 2001 book by J.D.F Jones. In response, one of Sir Laurens’ close acquaintances, Christopher Booker, wrote a vigorous rebuttal of the book in Spectator magazine, the oldest continuously published magazine in the English-speaking world.
The following is a quote from Sir Laurens’ televised 1990 Royal Geographical Society of London’s Lecture of the Year, entitled ‘Exploration’:
‘It’s been said that the explorers in mankind must be singularly unemployed because there’s nothing left in this world to explore...[however] in the sense to which exploration is both an exploration into the physical and into the spirit of man there is a lot ahead in your keeping...We must go sharply into reverse. We must get our old natural selves to join with our other conscious, wilful, rational, scientific selves. This is the other act of exploration that will fulfil the exploration you’ve had in the past. Your job is not over.’