My personal journey of discovery

Dr Michael Jarvis

In 1960 my parents moved from Nairobi in Kenya to Cape Town, and I enrolled at the University of Cape Town, with Zoology and Botany being major subjects. I became increasingly fascinated with Zoology and in particular with the origins of life and with evolution. At the same time, I experienced severe mental agonies, because my Christian upbringing had led me to understand that evolutionary processes could not be reconciled with the Bible.

At first, much of my time was spent trying to find fault in what I was being taught about origins and evolution. However, by my second year I was fully convinced that some sort of evolutionary processes were involved in the development of our planet and the Universe. At the same time, I was greatly privileged to meet some people who described real-life situations where events strongly suggested intervention in human affairs by a ‘supernatural’ being.

Thus, I was torn between my sincere desire to follow truth in my Zoological studies, and my real desire to retain a higher meaning to life. At this stage I wrote a few poems that perhaps show my mental conflicts. For instance:

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