Interview with Norwegian eco-philosopher Arne Naess

Tvergastein, Hardangervidda, Norway, June 1995 Interviewer: Jan van Boeckel This interview was made for the film The Call of the Mountain © Stichting ReRun Producties, Blokzijlerdijk 4, 8373 EK Blankenham, Netherlands

Arne, is it always this kind of beautiful weather always around here?
This weather is exceptional, I think, one day out of twenty or to thirty would be like this. In winter of course, we have similar skies etcetera, but to have also this temperature is very rare even in summer. But we need not this kind of temperature. We need not, here in the mountains, we need not have a temperature which makes you just lay down, because the mountain makes you active, and being active you need not have this temperature. So I have nothing against cold weather. But what is demanding is to have a good feeling when the wind is so hard that you cannot stand a quite natural way, but all the way have to adjust yourself towards the wind. And that is too much wind here.

upon this mountain as a kind of benevolent, great father and this was possible because, between five and ten years old, my mother had a cottage, far down there. So we could see that mountain every day. And every day it was a little different, but it was the same.

photo: ReRun Productions

Can you maybe tell from the early start of your early life, how you came up to this place, together with your mother, to the area down there?
I have lived here nearly twelve years, if you count the days. To most people it is very unreasonable, very strange. But already when I was ten years, and eleven years, walking sometimes by myself in this direction, towards the mountain. Because, already then, I looked

Whatever the changes, it was the same. So I somehow interpreted that as equanimity, that far inside here it is completely - not harmonious, that is a too strong word, but there is a balance inside here, and you look with benevolence on everything that is not directly trying to kill you, so to say. And this big mountain - this great mountain, I mean - seems to be such an entity! So it was alive for me, and therefore I decided


the best thing for me would be to live either on top of the mountain or further down on the mountain itself. So I arranged that when I was a student still, I got the plan to have a place here, because I also have a lake, that is important. And you have these climbing possibilities and you have the fantastic view, so that when you sit at the window and write a book it is impossible to write something that is small. It would have to have dimension. Anyhow, in 1937, half of it was made by professional people who really made it very good, very well done, in 1937. And in 1938, I had my first long stay there for four months in the winter. And after that every year, until it is getting a little too hard, life in wintertime. It is not for me now. This is how it got to be. It is a kind of, in a broad sense, religious attitude towards that mountain.

that I should be a philosopher, and he said: ‘But Arne Naess, I have a lot of study behind me, but then I had to earn some money too and I wished to have a family and have you really thought through what...’ And then I thought: My God! That I should think of a family and how to earn a living. That I found ridiculous to ask a young philosopher, ha, ha. So it was kind of arrogance. It was my way, my way; Svamarga in Sanskrit such a beautiful word. I had to be a philosopher and then I could do a lot of science reading, and I liked science also. But as a philosopher you can get into some science and say something. The scientist will say: ‘Yes, maybe, yes.’ And they are mostly very greatful to have a philosopher, sometimes in seminars. So I can have good relations to science and artists also. That’s OK!

Can you tell how your family was when you were a small boy. You said you were without father... father...
Well, do I explain why I was already at seventeen, eighteen years old sure that I would be a philosopher? Explain the major role that I was rather unhappy when I was three years old, until I was fourteen. Because the person I felt being my mother was really a nurse and between zero and three years, I meant quite a lot for her and she meant very much for me. And suddenly she was away, because my mother found out I was spoilt, completely spoilt, by her. And then I didn’t understand what was going on. And I got very depressed, certainly. And I think that in order to decide to be a philosopher, you have to have very bad experiences. Because, as I see it, a philosopher asks why, why, where others take things as completely evident. Why, and what is really going on in life? What life is worthwhile, and it didn’t deem to me worthwhile what they said was life: to grow up, be good at schools and then marry and get children and get grandchildren and then die. I didn’t find ordinary life... had no dignity for a human being. So it had to be something extraordinary, something not successful in... the way my adult environment thought was something very, very different, so you get into philosophy, of course, and I said to the very nice head of the school, when I was eighteen,

Arne, you didn’t explain that your father died didn’ when you were one year old, and maybe the relation of that to the father-like aspect of fatherHallingskarvet.
Well, of course I must add that, not only did my beloved mother disappear, but my father disappeared before I was one year old. So I didn’t have a father either. And that makes it more understandable that this big mountain was not a good mother but a good father. Later I was very glad that my father died, in this sense for me, because he was fairly strict, whereas my mother gave up easily. Gave up seeing that I... [sigh] ‘Couldn’t you go out and play with other children!’ and so on, and then she gave up.

But how can a mountain be your father?
Well, of course people think it is very strange how a mountain could be a father. But not to me - at all. Because, very soon, I saw that humans live in symbols. So much of their life really in terms of symbols. And that a mountain is just minerals. No culture exists; no old culture has looked at the mountain as minerals! On the contrary, they have always looked at very strong symbols. For instance, the contact between the earthy life and heaven. Gods are very rarely thought of to live anywhere. They live in heaven or they live on top of mountains or are mountains. Some mountains are holy in so many cultures, and you speak to them, you ask them


for good advice, and so on. And it is a different symbol - it’s kind of enormous amount of symbols - then the symbols of the ocean. The ocean is somehow less understandable. You cannot rely on the ocean as you can on the mountain. You see from the mountain; you see: aha, a storm is coming and you have half an hour or something. Here you have, at most, half an hour to get somewhere were you can get down.

over us. When we were children and later. And that makes a different feeling from being inside a room! To be playing outside, even in darkness! So I have a special relation to the vastness of the heaven or stars, which is different from modern physics about the cosmos, which is not... I don’t feel any benevolence or any greatness, reading about black holes, white holes, galaxies, and so on.

But you can say: a mountain as protection... Your father gives protection. A mountain is also protection. fear or not? Does the mountain give protection protection like a father?
I must say that, in understanding the kindness of mountain, you can always find protection, as I found when I was a teenager here, climbing around, getting under the top: you would always find protection, and especially in the more vertical places. Of course, there is no wind, mostly, very rarely wind in vertical places. I could see then people, skiers for instance, in terrible wind like this, fighting against the weather, I could sit on a shelf up a near vertical place in full security, and protected by the mountain.

What makes the difference between the two? The two ways of viewing?
Well, in physics, you learn about tremendous explosions, you learn about things which have no symbolic value of a positive kind. And the distances are such that you can never get in touch with them, never. If Einstein is correct, there is absolutely no hope of contacting galaxies far away, for instance. This cannot mean, for me at least, cannot mean anything very positive. So I can’t have... Now there is a lot of theology about the cosmos, that you should have a kind of religious attitude towards the cosmos as described by modern physics, but that’s not for me, I say. There are gods, especially in Hinduism that make universes like this and - psssjjj, psssjjj - throw out universes! And if such a god were kind enough for me to see what he is doing, to be together with him for some time, and I could then see in one of his universes a mouse that was swimming, trying to get to land in a river and I would say: Ah, stop! That mouse should be able to get ashore! And this god would say: ‘what? a mouse?’ Haha. ‘What is a mouse!’ haha. So I don’t feel at all the greatness of universes, some thrown out and galaxies and collision between galaxies and so on, no, not for me!

Why do you call the mountain ‘benevolent’? benevolent’
Because the shape is for me the shape of some being that is benevolent and the expression for me is benevolent, and it is benevolent for me when I go to this mountain and find and get this view which is so philosophically important. Only a mountain you can get me that view with this fantastic horizon, and where you feel also powerful, at the same as you are very, very small, that is important philosophically. That the less you are in relation to the surroundings, the stars and the mountain, the more you intensely feel that you somehow symbolically get part of it. You get greater. You get on par with it. You get to feel good with it. So, the tinier you are, the more in some sense you are together with something great and therefore, get something of that greatness. I cannot explain it better. But it is sure that it has double effect. It is like the stars which I saw in my youth. We had really no lights on the streets and nothing like that. There was very little. And we had really the stars straight

For you participation is important, the contact...
Yeah. It must be symbolic of something more positive, and I don’t find positive symbols there, which I could if I had just the stars which we were seeing.

Could you maybe relate the story from your childhood, that you made holes in your tents to be able to see the mountain for the tent. It is a nice story!


I suppose early life has very much to say for the rest of the life. All these things I was talking about belong to early life. I remember that when we started going into the highest mountains in Norway, I made a tent myself and made a window in the tent, without the ability to shut it, a small window. So that when I was nearly asleep, I could still, through this small window, see the summits, through this small window. I remember this, because it was very cold, those summers, and I was fifteen years, fourteen years, fifteen years, sixteen years old and bitterly cold, and this window made it impossible to get heat in the tent, so it was so stupid! And also other things. We of course made a lot of pictures with very primitive instruments, and I decided that no friend should be in between the mountain and my camera. It’s like in Muslim religion. You shouldn’t have god and humans at par, to have pictures, o no. So the symbolic value of mountains was very deep seated at that age, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, and it made me suffer quite a lot. Suffer quite a lot because the coldness of course in this highest mountains in Norway, Easter when we had to go to the summit. And we went back from Easter, all other boys were brown and nice and pretty and we were violet and red noses and looked what...

could live the rest of the life just now and then getting some income and not between nine and four, of course! So I was then living in a way that didn’t develop any habits, so that you were dependent quite a lot of the market. The term market had already then some kind of negative association. Positive also, because I could have for instance some years when I absolutely must buy some classical music discs of certain kinds and so on and then I said that: ‘If you now go to a restaurant, it will cost you as much as one of this, what you call, discs. It will cost two.’ Then: ‘O no, no, no!’ So I certainly used the market, but for essential things. And looking towards my later life, it was obvious that to live with simple means was very easy for me. Rich life, simple means, is one of the things I repeat, the last twenty years. So I did admire tremendously some people, like Nansen, Amundsen. I looked up to many of the philosophers and specially Spinoza. So I certainly had ideals among human people, but the rest I found, adults to me were always nice. I had no bad experiences with adults, but they were so stupid in life philosophy! Nobody was very bad with me, so far I can remember. So I had a good, very optimistic view of them, their heart. But their brain: there was something wrong with their brain!

Can you explain a bit more why you felt it was sacrilegious to make pictures? It is an interesting point.
Perhaps I had not quite as positive opinion about humanity that I should have had, because the adults I found stupid. Nothing wrong with their intelligence. But the life! The life they made! Nine to four work [sigh] I couldn’t find a human being, whereas I read about elephants and bears and other big animals and they seemed to be living a more adventurous life. But there were certain humans, like explorers, Norwegian explorers - Amundsen, Nansen - having a good life. But they had a lot of administration. Napoleon had a lot of financial troubles. I decided that money was tremendous important, because they ruined people’s life. So already at that, eighteen, nineteen, I decided to find out how little money one would need to satisfy every essential need and I found that very little was enough to live as a fairly poor student. One

But you didn’t want to have people in between didn’ yourself and the mountain on the pictures? and mountain
No, because it was the greatness of the mountain. And some stupid man - myself or others, standing there and smiling... ha... no.

Was it a religious feeling?
Sure, whatever is called a religious feeling, and I am sure that this kind of feelings has a great future. Certain symbols, you live in symbols, very much. And then you have rather rigid rules: No, no, no, no, no, no, no not that, no, no! And then: Yes, yes! And mountains: Yes! But because sometimes we had pictures there. But you shouldn’t stand on top of mountains and looking arrogant, having conquered the mountain. That is very stupid. You never conquer your ideal!


being a mathematician or a physician, so that’s OK. But it’s both minerals and a princess and a mother. Yes! Not more minerals than a mother, not more minerals. So that’s important for my, what I call ‘total view’. This importance of symbols. You cannot live without that a human dignified life, I think.

When you were young, weren’t you yourself in weren’ a way trying to conquer mountains? To always go to the summit?
One may ask, of course, why one has to go to the summit of a mountain. And there of course you have a combination with Western typical sportive way of looking at things, that you also should be able to reach the summit, able to reach the summit. And then I made a lot of statistics about how many summits, and, for instance, if you had a real tough day and night, I was then calculating the kilogram-meters lifting myself up, let’s say, to go to three summits up there, down, and up again. So: kilogram-meter, how big this event was, see. So I could combine it with ambition. But the mountains didn’t mind at all that I calculated that. I didn’t have the feeling that it was bad behaviour. I was fond of the mountain, even in terrible weather. And sometimes, you had to feel with your hands so to say, the very summit. You didn’t see anything, practically. So, but there you have the combination with completely different kinds of attitudes. This love of bigness, not greatness. Big numbers, big mountains, big achievements, that term: achievement. I felt, when I was twenty-one, twentytwo, that the term achievement was too important, that I should go into psychoanalysis to analyze my doctor thesis, where the term achievement is very important. So I went into fourteen months of psychoanalysis. There was only two months left and I would go to that written document, saying I had done my analysis of the kind you have to do to be a professional psychoanalyst. But I could not go into the mountain for fourteen months, except Sundays. Saturdays, it was eight, nine in the morning: psychoanalysis. And Monday eight to nine. And the analyst, a collaborator with Freud, said: ‘O, these Mondays are completely meaningless. You only talk about the mountain!’ And I had some

photo: Doug Tompkins

You at one time said that it was sort of a cult, a cult of the mountain. mountain.
In short, I started my private cult of mountains. And so many people in so many cultures started cult of mountain. But even if it was a small culture, I could have had some influence in the ideology of that culture with mountains or something. Like in Sherpa culture in the Himalayas, they have Tseringma, a tremendous mountain, bringing storms, but also water. A terrific mountain. And the name Tseringma is the Mother Of The Long Good Life. The Mother Of The Long Good Life: this tremendous mountain. So you see, you can combine this, in a sense, dangerous aspect of the mountain, and storm coming on, with a cult and you have a mother symbol. Nevertheless, a mother symbol. [clicks his tongue] Also a princess. And they would say, in the original culture there you say: ‘Yes of course, minerals, yes, yes, yes, and stones, but this is also a princess, and this is also a mother. And for us, who have a lot of symbols, this way of thinking, the mythological way of thinking, is so natural and can combine with


I don’t think the document was delivered to the king. on the contrary. like Tseringma is a sacred mountain. and coming from the mountains.. it was a plus for you. But if the relation to China gets better. that I had a critical attitude towards achievement. to get it out of range for any mountaineer. So. But at that time.. the capital of Nepal. But immorals was not quite the same as conventional morals. as an achievement. It is on the border to China. You couldn’t do it. No. going the last hundred meters. also in my doctor thesis. at that time. the term used by me so much. for instance. South America. whether they look at it as a plus or a minus. admiring the sherpas very much and no question of going to the top of Tseringma. whether they would go with me. and we of course wouldn’t touch. [strong sigh] He couldn’t understand anything of mountains. to get to the summit. there were then a lot of expeditions. to make it a fully protected mountain against humans. to go very high. We were three of us: Sigmund Kvaløy is another member there. we went a way that is considered to be eight days and nights away to Katmandu. of course: in Tibetan culture and Sherpa Tibetan culture.. Forty-six families voted. I was conquering myself. there is question. Even where religion plays a great role. . But is it not special for Western people that they want to go conquer the mountains. The term ‘conquering’ was completely unknown to me. And it was open then later. So. people who would like to conquer a mountain. Conquering any stupid kind of attitude. until somebody said: ‘Why these last meters here. instead of saying ‘Ah this! Why should we absolutely go to the very summit?’ So I was conquering myself. They just looked at my friend. And immoral attitude also. at early nineteen-seventy. what I am talking about is this. But I was twenty-two years old and a man of sixty was what I would call hundred years old and he was sailing in inland seas. of course. conquering? no. the Tseringma? Tseringma. Why? pffff. tiny of officials. So it was. certainly. no. And that was important. I mean. and in time. ha!’ So we had very little response. like Inca culture. who was a Buddhist. But. to go to the summit of a mountain. I decided to make an expedition to Sherpa country and then try to see whether the people in a certain village straight down from Tseringma. to deliver a document asking the king to make it outside range of any mountaineer in the future. with the head of the village. earlier. many expeditions with people who have no real sense of the holiness of the mountain. there are so many different attitudes within the number of minorities. That is something very different. they thought it wrong to go to the summit of sacred mountains. religiously. So I had there something unrelated to cult of mountains. immediately. why shouldn’t we go to the summit. And they let the last meters being unconquered. So. from older times there have been people who would like to reach a summit. sometimes. pfff. and we couldn’t even reach the tiny. and we heard nothing about it. of course. Then we tried to make mountain clubs all over the world. We were three of us. ‘out’. there would be many.’ So I am all for the cultures.terrible things to say about what I had done. as some inferior kind of being. then..conquered. like this mountain you talked about. the climbers didn’t look upon these cultures as something interesting. anyhow. And this analyst was very fat and he was sixty years old. really conquer it? Is it not European? I think there have been. and together with the head of the village. Yet you did like to go up the mountain. Fortysix against zero! That they would rather not have all that money they could have through expeditions and have their mountain un . for many hundred years. They were interested in so-called conquering the mountain and get to the summit and they didn’t understand what we were asking for. ‘What you mean. I was then. In other cultures. And I think that. we went with this document. and felt is as a 6 . pfff. there were fortysix families in that village.. make a kind of petition to make it sacred and nobody getting up. You were not out on conquering. Cult of mountains can be without going to the summit for more than hundred of the highest mountains of Norway. I thought he was ninety.

A little more than 25. that would rob them of tiny sheep or goat baby or a hen. certain attitudes. And then there were. I didn’t mention that. go to the extreme. It is very difficult at least. with big mountains.000 feet high. non-violent relations to their animals. And we decided upon a mountain called Tirich Mir. But there were other things which were just as admirable. some place. So they were not against meat. but they had marvellous. 7. speaking of that. certainly. In late July. it is the greatest area of mountains and the most fabulous.705 metres and some expeditions had tried and were not able to reach the summit. And for instance. what should the community do? Yes! They should themselves provide so much beer. of course. it is a Buddhist culture. which would see the symbols. we found the mountain great. beautiful mountain! And the climate is very good in May. whatever the cause. in a cultural sense. where we have three-thousand in Norway and six-thousand United States. Yes. It was non-violent as Buddhist culture. And we found that beautiful mountain. Because of the greatness. And of course. a small child. And they never would kill a goat to eat or a cow. What it costs. as of course in many other ways. It took a long time. complete primitives. and we found. to see what could be done..conquering . for many of us. we looked up to the mountain. Therefore. during marriage. of course there were feasting. if they have hens and they let that. they used to have a lot of good fire to warm themselves. and so on. You are permitted to go to the extreme more than in traditional cultures. But within Western culture you have. instead of going to prison or something. if you make it cry. as a climber.not of themselves. and I studied everything known about the mountain.. And so many things which have a minus. It has been a culture of a completely outstanding character. So in 1949 . it was so cold. which is the highest mountain in Hindu Kush. to reconnaissance. especially young ones. they use only wood from trees that were dead. you get a minus in the register of what you have done in your life. But if you were unfaithful. their use of energy was eight units in a certain kind of way of measuring.I was able to get one Norwegian climber with me. And I saw the eagle there. ha. never living trees.’ So. We didn’t dream of reaching the summit that year. I mean. June. but for some years. many of the younger climbers were looked upon as primitives. So clearly. talking about marriage. and Himalayas are in the wide senses Himalayan. That’s very nice. lack of benevolence. And what we liked also was that if a man was unfaithful. it’s bad for your next life. of course. the next year. you should not be available then. it 7 . then. when it fell down a precipice and was dead: they would eat it. Sometimes there is an eagle. what they would conceive as possible for Norwegians to do. he had to provide even more beer then if you were a woman. that is to say when the man was available. So you have then thousands of climbers who would feel they conquer a mountain.. we asked very good friends in Great Britain. that a whole community could have a great feast. the men were traditionally on their way between India and China. It was things which had to do with hatred. Talking about Sherpa culture.I was already quite old . They thought that if you make a child cry. also the achievement in being able to reach the summit had a meaning for me. And later they would find: ‘We were really very fond of the mountain. What should they do there without men and so you could have the brothers. before they are three years old. but then. Thousands. haha. this way they were punishing people. That was how. Nobody would like to shoot it or anything like that. they were.. and that’s bad for the women. But during the feasts. but that was not ‘in’. And I was all for getting high up on one of the really high mountains. What was then. haha. not at all. as a Westerner being interested in sports. we were not talking about it. where nobody else had been. They have layers which are not primitive. I had to visit the Himalayas. but also of the mountain. carrying things over the Himalayas. Could you tell about that big achievement in your life when you climbed the Tirich-Mir Tirichmountain? It is impossible not to look forward to see the Himalayas. always the brother was available in the bed. I mean. for instance. you have specialization. so that suits me well as an achievement.

We didn’t have anything in 1949. it was not so great at all. but they didn’t like to come with us. on such an expedition. then. So it was the symbol of the highest and most grand of everything. And if there is a chance. then one more error. and they maybe have used to say: ‘Don’t go higher up there because they don’t like it. was very interesting. We could go without the [hirers?]. flatness and greenness . some of the porters we have. the hills were not higher than. always practical problems in expeditions. And it was also difficult. far far down. Not sacred. as a leader of the expedition. So we had an expedition next year.. not at all. and really I got too much of it. and then still one more and pffiiit. So. it was not beautiful any longer. But I tried to make my friends . especially if you try to stay alive. I could see far into many countries: China. not to be harassed by practical problems. So symbols there. And that time. When you were on the mountain it was not very different from other mountains. Yes. yes. And you get one metre of snow. people talking changes.. certainly. and if you are inexperienced. but that’s not according as I feel it. mountains. to reach the summit of a mountain and you are killed or. no. Avalanches. I decided never to go again to the Himalayas in order to climb... in 1950. And from near the summit. but some of them would think it would not like it and send down avalanches. inside there. The first time I could see the Himalayas. people. the mountain wouldn’t like to do you any harm. Obviously. it will hold back avalanches as long as it can.. So.. this symbolic thing was so important. yes. mountains. just being together with the mountain. I like to read about adventures. So they left us.understand and except that we should have some part of the day for ourselves and not thinking about the expedition. there are old people there in the neighbourhood of Tirich Mir. but I don’t admire it at all. Was it a primitive thought. because when you were on the mountain. And I knew that in certain directions there were thousands of kilometres of mountains. you could get terrible weather. So it was difficult for me to stand the life that was required of a leader. but that didn’t matter. mountains. during one night for instance and you are stuck. And also. of course looked upon Tirich Mir as a mountain that did not like humans to go there. Afghanistan. and death in the mountain is a theme for some books. Mont Blanc and others and they looked so tiny down there! And I could look down. because of some snow. 8 . I can’t see the point of adventure in the mountains. that was important. it was at a distance. That is not worthwhile. then one more.starts getting worse.we were.. It is a fantastic. but as they say. But I knew that this is the start of something that is going on for thousand kilometres. And certainly. Tirich Mir is not considered a sacred mountain? Incidentally... then give up the expedition. and to read about expeditions where they do one error. Not to be there. indicating it was flat and green. The vastness. You once said. it was not considered sacred. the mountain perhaps didn’t like us. the mountain never fights. many of us . But they had to obey the laws of nature and nothing else be done. To read about it I like very much. they warned children and others to go. It is a great suffering for the whole family and your husband or your wife. But we didn’t violate any sacredness. into Russia. I had the feeling in the Himalayas that the mountain would hold back avalanches as long as it could. the mountain doesn’t like it. this world of mountains! And at the summit I could look down upon mountains being as high as the highest in Europe. they thought. high up. where a small river that was going like this. they didn’t go far. And we had to find out where the mountain would send the avalanches and not go there. certainly.. the expedition had to be given up. and half-dead. looked upon. It’s not worth it. but then. not as high as Hallingskarvet. But we reached the summit. this feeling. you don’t see its coming. or was there something in it that was true? That you have to respect the mountain instead of. some of them. India. was so tremendously strong! But to be there. if you see the chance this avalanche would come within a week. No great changes should be taken. different.

even buildings I’m sorry to say are on its top. was against the dignity of the mountain. and something. ordinary people feel it with natural. of course. the greatest slogan they used in northern Norway in a big direct action. but philosophically. How the Tseringma acts as the Mother Of The Long Good Life.. in order to make it more difficult for people who are without really knowledge of the mountain.. But the term ‘being alive’ has a vastly more comprehensive sense among ordinary people. Then you really destroy the mountain. and you have in biology a good definition of an organism being alive. I don’t say: let the mountain be alive. which reduces it of course. and it has not a very impressive shape. but it has no effect on the mind of people. 9 . and you could say: it died. And the dignity we. I don’t see the point. Gausta. but still alive. It is just a speciality. So there. but at least it is as high as Hallingskarvet and that make a kind of feeling of nearness between Hallingskarvet and Gaustatoppen. They said: Let the river live. the mineral kingdom. So. so to speak. it has very little to do with human life. and like the sherpas.. what is there. and I would have no hypothesis about whether it could be treated. what I am saying is expressing the kind of attitude I have. Gaustatoppen Hallingskarvet has a kind of brother-mountain. to avoid that they were killed going a wrong way. Seeing the mountain as a living being. There is a difference between Hallingskarvet and Gausta. dignity of the mountain and psychologists would say: these are certain feelings I have. The mythology has meaningfulness and is adequate for the mind that has these ideas.It is not very admirable to try to stay alive. to be alive. They had some mythology where people were able to simply move a mountain away. it is called.. Maybe you can tell a bit about the Gaustatoppen over there. you only ask because you have only read biology. that poor Gausta has a lot of instruments and all kinds of fancy. mining. biology has good reasons to define alive so-and-so. in China. Do you remember that? Because they put all the stuff on top of it. Certainly. in a certain sense. whether it has certain ways of avoiding sending it. I feel it. for instance. they have absolutely no hypothesis how Tseringma does this. the river was alive. And they even tried to get rid of a mountain. Dignity of mountain. This. But how can minerals be alive? Well. and something else being not alive. But you think a mountain has its own will. diminished. as I did with Hallingskarvet. So this is a very different way of looking at it. and so on. ha! Not: Letting us have the pleasure to go fishing there and to look at it and so on.. Mao Tse Tung was looking at mountains as a military man and they had all sorts of military vocabulary when they were. About hundred kilometres from here you can see it very easily in this weather. Do you have an example of that? Well. I see it as a living being! Certainly it has this life. But I don’t know of any mountain that is severely hurt by humans. without being able to explain how it could be done. mineral.. like a human? If you say it can hold back avalanches? Saying that the mountain holds back avalanches. and there is nothing up there.. rubbish and apparatus. It is well done. to place such things on top of Hallingskarvet. That is how many so-called Peter Zappfe said: because it was so beautiful it had to die.. For instance. I feel the mountain would only be hurt. and when they place a lot of stupid green things on top there. because whatever is done. So it is on the level of symbol. when they say that Tseringma protects us. As just a science. the greatest slogan was the following: Let the river live! Let the river live. But are there mountains hurt in Norway? mountains I don’t like to have too much things going on at the very summit of certain mountains. classes of biology.

high in the mountains. Yes. Some would find the opposite being the case. Human life is life in symbols. but with ideas that have a form of symbols. very special! The only important thing is that humans live and must live and should live in not only dreams. children are more spontaneous in the sense that reflection and conventional views of things do not yet play such enormous role. Arne. you see the happiness. but also the very tree line. to take care of the forest and feel happiness in the forest. what I say is that in some kind of conventional thinking. I had a lot of fantasies like that during the night. Well. get up. and I associate this advance. absolutely. Whereas I say the sorrowfulness or joyfulness of a tree is just as real You are not particularly fond of the fur trees. to get from the forest above the tree line. So this. then you grasp the tremendous complexity of what humans see spontaneously. You once said: ‘We might have to relearn the way children appreciate trees. challenging mountains down into the forest is a good thing.The instrumentality there and the domination of man are really making a mark on it. it is in your mind. That is fine with me. and up.’ Well. it sorrowful is not in the tree. Excellent. It is now more an instrument. we would gain very much. that’s a symbol for me. the tree is full of symbols. That is because sometimes I told about such trees outside my window as a child. austere. fond blowing in the wind. if you take hours to analyze what you see. there is a special pleasure in Norway. where you have a broad tree line. I don’t wish that other people should be like me there. a symbolic life. and only to a small extent in verbal symbols. why the tree line is important to you? It is not only the mountain. I don’t know. So. and it cannot be seen as alive as clearly as Hallingskarvet can be seen. 10 . to get into this state of children’s inner life. and they feel better and feel it’s more friendly. The conventional idea is that if you see a tree as being sorrowful or joyful. of course. To you. That’s a very difficult redevelopment. And what you see when you see a tree is so immensely more complex than what you think you see. That is why I have written an article on the metaphysics of tree line.’ But what you see. I think. Now. and you associate that of course with human movements. where you come from more or less dense forest and you suddenly have this freedom of vision. is for me. Symbols like a tree or a mountain. and you see the storms are keeping them small and keeping them in shapes that are not the ordinary ones. The branches. that getting from the treeless. important. It is challenging to get above the tree line. the tree. where the trees are fairly small. that’s just a tree. because we need people. But as I say: I’m happy to be different from that. it is cold and hostile. the upward movement is important. both increase in freedom and also increase of challenge. I associate that with a movement from below the tree line to above the tree line. I was somehow doomed. but I’ve respect for nonlanguage. nature there. I was a doomed being which should vanish. And different kind of branches: some being like this and some being like this. the real tree is what science talk about. immediately. It is said that I have distaste for big fir trees blowing in the wind. yes. of such metaphysical value. All this symbols which have nothing to do with verbalisation [clicks]. can you tell about the tree line. back and forth like this. philosophy is full of respect for language. Some people say: below it is friendly and warm. More mineral and less symbol. Yes. was a kind of saying no to my future. If we could be able to see a little bit more like children. unhappiness. that’s very important symbols. getting upwards. For many people it is the opposite and that is OK for me. or that’s just such-and-such tree. and also for others.’ trees. And the slow movement. When you say ‘Oh.

. as humans. hundred years ago. is bigger than the whole.. all the stones. that’s an abstraction of course. part of a Gestalt when you are really sitting there in a concert. immediately. 11 . no. Reductionist from the parts to the wholes. Because I feel I belong to that area here. in combination with being in nature? Well. But people from the West Norway have another explanation of the etymology of the name. da-da-da-daah immediately gets colours from the Gestalt that is the Fifth Symphony which is a tremendous Gestalt. the notes. You see. ‘the notes’. ‘I see a hut’. form. if you place three dots on a black board. Tvergastein.. and geographically. But this is already philosophy! That’s good. What do you mean by Gestalt? Well. Why? Well it’s an old name. And then if you look at details here: you see the form of the stone. When people.. But socially. the very vastness gets into your. you point to the notes: ‘This is Fifth Symphony. went up here to fetch crystals. what we call life in a place like its size. if you are together with your girlfriend. It doesn’t belong to me. And it depends on who is sitting. The Reductionist view works the other way up. So it all comes together. But that would be silly I think. what you spontaneously experience is dependent upon your special kind of existence in a great natural environment. ‘Tverga’ would then mean: ‘crossing’.. and the part is more than the whole. If I look at Tvergastein.. let’s say Gestalt. I mean. And there is a kind of polemics. when being in nature as vast as this. It is the notes together. That is useful socially. Well. where it stands out as a living kind of being. Gestalt. it’s nothing. and from wholes to parts. That’s a very abstract thing. you have to work from parts to wholes. being a stone. not the notes separately. The contrast between the minerals. I belong to it. Can you maybe explain how this idea of Gestalt Gestalt is important for you to nature. which is again. listening to it. as part of your spontaneous. between East and West Norway. of course. no no. in socalled holistic thinking. If you sit reading or writing or whatever you do. Why have you called this cabin Tvergastein? Talking about the hut I am looking at. like this. So the whole is more than the part. you see the organisms there. and its geometrical. again. So your vision is not ‘I see a stone’. it is the surroundings that take part in what I see. very beautiful crystals here. which make the Gestalt. with a tremendous complex Gestalt which is again part of a more comprehensive Gestalt which is a symphony. And da-da-da-daah is the smallest Gestalt within the first movement. completely spontaneous experience.. a part of nature so independent of us. So you see. to have such a name. very big. da-da-da-daah would sound differently. and you see what we would call. after all this nature. the social existence of notes. That means that your life is in very comprehensive forms or Gestalts. Gestalt. And that is often forgotten. here. as I consider Gestalt thinking. there. I see it in a mineral environment. It is the kind of toughness and roughness and I sometimes thought I would call myself ‘Arne Tvergastein’. But I like that word very much. that is difficult to say. And it is only by analyzing that you get down to particular beings and things. And if you hear: Da-da-da-daah. A thing is just an abstraction. if you are acquainted with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. it is called Tvergastein. its dimension. and life in nature.. it is very difficult not to see it as a triangle. the hut. some kind of form: those three points. but what you see in nature that is always. as I do at this moment. but I belong to it. East Norway: they think it is coming from a lot of quartz crystals. Well. But from a musical point view.’ So it extremely important. all the vastness. only that you. I should maybe say the relationship between Gestalt thinking. the dimension outside: this influences what you spontaneously see when you look at the hut. looking at the orchestra.. a tiny part of the Fifth Symphony is certainly conveying something that the whole cannot convey! So the part also.

four or five containers with water in the hut during wintertime. like the matches. that it is not burned. How did you get the wood up this high? It really did something very bad. but. I talk about richness. that is not real richness. when I am using some kerosene in my lamps. And after thirty. of course. but I am richer! People say: ‘Oh. this is play. they had a very bad time. I know it doesn’t count much. I have done it. or I don’t know what. So to have. but everything has a value here. no. said to me over the telephone: ‘Arne.. deep pleasures. I must admit. completely. carrying fifteen times the sledge. And in October. I am sorry. it is already thirty. so we will do what he says. My wife is a specialist in that. you gradually find that . It’s very difficult to keep balance when the wind is blowing. if people understand that this place is rather remote. Maybe you can tell a bit about everything tell that. gives me not only a feeling of richness. We have a picture of them. then. And there. The state of being frozen to the state of being liquid. So I can use it. She has a record of using the same match five or six times! And you see. the very nice man who were in charge of this transport. but this has to do with feeling. I am sorry. it depends on the wind. and we have seen from when he was five years old. But is unnecessary to have this distance and this hard work to get up there. very difficult kind of rock. say. people say that: Why choose [sigh] the place where you have to carry everything up?’ It seems that I very early got this idea that. And in wintertime.especially in wintertime . And I said: ‘Yes!’ And they used sixty-two times. So the poor horses. especially. Sometimes. namely they made three horses take the materials on the sledge. yes. is unnecessarily far away to make things more valuable. it’s quite a work to get water from the lake.. without effort. to have it built was not easy. in October. down at the railway station. so I say: ‘No. when I have carried something up here. I am not talking about my feeling of richness. for instance. but with some serious background. Or you have one meter. marvellous horses. not only a feeling of richness. that when you are more the fifty years old. no. and I am rich when I live in this hut because I am able to satisfy all my most important needs. there is only ten centimetres of snow and then you have rock. I think. he is not completely insane. I use matches so fast. too many rules in a sense. etcetera. on the whole. it is very difficult to estimate something very highly. considered completely. two How was the hut built? Of course. all the chemical in the tip of the match. That you don’t spill anything because don’ you brought it up. two or three times. But. that the village is a long distance and that you have to carry everything up. and the other half I made myself. and we said sixteen or something. they had this thinking that: ‘Well. and defining richness as something very few people can have. And that was in 1937. so we cannot. because it costs so much on the market. this winter. because the northwest wind is against us. I look at it a little differently. To melt water is very unecological because it takes so many calories from minus one to plus one. then they go either into money. It was 12 . in wintertime. The horses had to drag material sixty-two times through the snow: bad effect on the horses! You have also the rules of Tvergastein. I was already a doctor of philosophy. They would be more valuable even if the hut was somewhat near the train station. And they also made the error to think that it would only be necessary fifteen times. as it is from plus one nearly to hundred degrees. That’s to say: half of it. in the winter. and if you are going to ignite it. Then of course. there are an enormous amount of rules.. And matches. And the people who are the best carpenter of the area. and the snow may be so hard. getting up here in October with this materials..’ And they build it in fourteen days of very splendid weather.It would be good. we may use five hours to get up here. some places. you have spontaneous pleasure. And water. So I am sorry for this.’ But when I then explain what real richness is. one would say ‘insane’ to have a hut up here. for instance. I am not adapted to the hut anymore. Can you tell a bit about the rules? Well. Are we going to continue?’ Ha-ha.

So you may have everything in an easier way than in the city. not at all. by that. it is called Puritanical but it is really luxurious and it is Epicurean. You have company. feeling very well. for instance. So we need not much hot water.. we have each our own set of spoons and glass and so on. is that in a way. we are so rich here in the sense that: We get everything we really desire.. You have food. since 1944 or something.not with this place but also general atmospheric pollution. Because there are so few bacteria here. important. fifty years old.. I feel at home with a certain philosophy. Feeling at home with something. No. symbol of ‘home’ is very important and also here. which I don’t like. I can’t why not the kind of air. they don’t like to be that high so they are carried by the wind. That’s a formula. rolling themselves in snow. And the males all have very nice kind of sense here. Do you know the reason why the diversity has become less? No. when you don’t use your razor. it has to do . Dwelling and being home. I have seen things happening here. you said. dwelling. so. And now I don’t find more than forty. And that is impossible in the city where you have all this trade going on. Dwelling in situations of inherent value. for instance. Very good way of washing.. And so: ‘Ah! A mosquito!’ Therefore I also get interested in more than ten species of them. You see. you just put it in the snow and clean it in the snow. Maybe it has nothing to do with people. That is good for me. It is permitted. And also. I don’t know. and not at home with certain other philosophy. Maybe. But it is a symbol of summer to have a mosquito at this elevation.. if you don’t wish company. and I like also mosquitoes here. I counted 220 insect species. You get warm. mostly. a tiny grasshopper. You have snow. In a way. today. And it is between eleven and twelve years. if you wish company. The 13 . So if you are afraid of bacteria on the dishes. Where you have everything. four-thousand one-hundred and eleven days. eh? don’ A rule that makes people laugh.. sometimes. all the time. They are just unhappy. and some not really like it. Everything has a value that is greater than in the city. you have been here in total about ten here years. within Your idea of dwelling in a place. All this buying. It is rare. And I may reach twelve years before I am too old to get up here. I have seen. things have changed. even in the middle of summer you have snow in the neighbourhood. And the old things. And here at this elevation. and so on. are a lot less insects. I think. Feeling at home. in the environment. Because.. And I need of course beetles. But this is how you see things. Very few bacteria come. Another rule is that you don’t do the dishes. to go cleaning the dishes every day.or three matches. probably sixty. we have much less insects. And the young people they will also wash themselves in snow. But we need grasshoppers around. I like the old things. I have lived in twenty fourth floor of an apartment in Manhattan and it was fantastic beautiful sunset. But. Heidegger has a lot of that. In the 1940’s. Like there But. You have so many good feelings! And you have time for dwelling in situations of inherent value. Dwelling at home. You have no company. As amateur. you need the city! I have nothing against cities. insects are always interesting. It is not necessary to make the dishes. compared to further down. You are at home with such-and-such. so to say. And they make no effort to get blood from you. So. But. It looks like what you have in your face. Four-thousand one-hundred and eleven. You have the same set for weeks. New York. so. experience. Then some would say: ‘That’s because you get old and you don’t see!’ But that’s too great difference! No grasshoppers anymore! I saw one grasshopper last year. Has the experience. But more beautiful.. These here [points at climbing shoes]. Makes no difference. you have not too severe storm. first of all. Heideggerian? Yes. because of the pollution makes it even more beautiful to look at. [Sigh] During this more than four-thousand days and nights. Your own dishes! But even if you are four people.

. it is not a shape like this. But it certainly has a sort of weight. in your view. somehow. It is not a pinnacle. I am not disturbed very easily. I would like it. yes. too many people around. you can develop your spontaneous experience to such an extent that your life gets richer. is it? mountain. of course electric. I dislike that very much. Just to get back to the electricity poles. seeing so much in their faces. Probably from when you’re one or two years old. And that is a good spontaneous experience. They have a shape that is fairly beautiful. Solid.. to some extent. then people. And now you have much-to-much. the names I have of the climbs there. nevertheless. Aloofness. as some priest or some religious people would have a kind of aloofness. You have a special relation to humans. who says that Hallingskarvet looks like a tremendous bread. belong there. compared to animals around. One more question about the mountain. We don’t know much about nature! We cannot manage nature.’ I ask: ‘What would you say against having less people and more animals on your way to work?’ . whether you like it or not. I have then a enormous number of spontaneous experiences. There is at least one person. not a complete smile but something in the neighbourhood of a smile. as it is said. But they do not. because I have been too much in cities and too much crowded.ten years you get it back for some reasons we don’t know. people experience 14 . But the shape is a little like that. But now I don’t pay attention to them. would also have to do with the shapes of Hallingskarvet. A certain aloofness. So. The poles themselves are very well made. And that’s all right when some people could look at it in that way. So richness and diversity of living beings around yourself. But that doesn’t disturb me when I look at the poles. Humans are in the centre. But that’s very rare I think. I think.. There is a certain distance.. there is something of eternity there.‘Ah! ah!’ Haha.. when you look at them? Talking about richness here. it would be rare. and it costs little money. I must say. no. but you also see animals. So. It has to do with what you have too much of. And so you see faces pointing. in Norway. Richness means abundance. I like that I don’t see much of human influence. loaf Let’s talk about the mountain Andersnatten. of bread. It’s a certain weight. You cannot easily see it fall down or anything like that. If I were here much more. But have also. Another change is that you get the electricity poles. And it’s not rough and tough in a way that would convey aggression or an enemy would like. I would like to have more animals around when I go to work. these poles reminds me of that Norway uses more electricity per person than any other nation in the world. I am glad to say. When I am up here. I ask many people about that. when they were made. Yes! How do you look upon it yourself? What is the appropriate metaphor? No. It is not threatening you. I have no metaphor for the shape of Hallingskarvet. with benevolence. you see very much things in shapes of human beings. You see faces in it? Very much spontaneous experiences have to do with shapes of human beings.. And Buddha also has this massive body. it is very difficult to get me disturbed by anything. Anywhere. of energy. a certain. There are also changes that you see some electricity poles far away. So in that sense we are anthropocentric. The shape is. and maybe over-consumption. doesn’t disturb overdoesn’ you. for each part of Hallingskarvet. And they say: ‘Ah. Spontaneous experience is a very important word for me. probably. If I had to stay here all the year round. carrying the electricity to Oslo. not at all. that is threatening you. I just neglect them. A lot of people resemble it to a loaf of bread but that is not your view of the mountain. I think. It is as if the mountain itself likes the distance. like a Buddha. a certain solidity. Let’ You once said that the troll. The idea that they are used for consumption.

But the perception of the mountain threatening you. and it is quite clear that many artists or non-artists find that the shape is that of a troll. And through analysis. big fellow.’ But then I would say: ‘It goes through the heart. direct. The square meters of as being a troll. then. deeper and deeper. You said that was an appropriate Gestalt for that mountain. In your philosophy on ecology. But if there were no spontaneous experiences.’ So the spontaneous experience. because people would for instance say: ‘We make a road now through this forest. saying there is no heart... and I think especially about natural science. you get then all the mythology about trolls into what you see. But the abstract relations which are so important in acting. Well. and that is part of my philosophy. And when I talk so much about Gestalt. And then people say: ‘Well. isn’t it? The immediate isn’ appreciations. that’s your imagination. has to do also with this concept of spontaneous experience. It has nothing to do with the content. We have a road here and it is so small part of the forest that it makes no difference. and nothing with the content of reality. And you start running. trees are the hair. and then you start analyzing the electrons and so you get into something that you don’t whether it is mathematics or physics. the relations between them.geographical and physical -: they are only expressing relations between things.’ But if you start this way. Which is: tremendous admiration for contemporary physical science and cosmology. The quarks. except through abstract relations. you have nothing. thing. we could think of reality being atomic. in your life-philosophy. let me say. Not about the content of reality. culturally complex. this completely disappears. and it’s through the centre of the forest. these philosophy spontaneous experiences are also quite important. And this is the heart of the forest!’ ‘That’s nonsense. the square meters of this road is tremendously small. is a perception of reality. you get into a worldview which resembles that of Immanuel Why do you stress so much the spontaneous 15 . But. that which is such that you have a relation. And a Gestalt of course is then not only the shape of a troll but also the being as a troll. What you experience that’s. that’s what is there. And not destroy so much as you understand the relations which are absolutely necessary to do anything. But then the atoms was like whole. it is because I have this opinion that science. we call the relata. Yes. the strange particle. but it has to do with abstract relations. So it is a kind of critique of the place of science in your philosophy. in my work in the relation between ecology and philosophy. only asserts something about the abstract relations in reality. Things and phenomena. And you have nothing left of physical reality as independent reality. just certain distances. you get directly through spontaneous experience. as somebody saying: ‘It is a heap of stones. you have this feeling of being deep in the forest. to fall over you. But what you see is a tremendously complex. There is no heart here. with reality. is a completely adequate description of reality. planet earth systems. the electrons. Before the analytic mind starts to interfere. tremendous beauty in this building. You had then something interior there. But science does not talk about that at all. The content of reality. And if you then hit the road. If you see a mountain that seems to threaten you. the heart of this forest. That is to say.’ So as long as it is a spontaneous perception of a Gestalt. experience. If you have a relation between two things. A big. you get to know about the structure. then you have contact. the immediate experience? What’s What’ important about it? Because. Then you have some error in abstract relations of a geographical kind. Whereas a perception of the physical relations of a mountain . when you act. And Gestalt thinking is such that this spontaneous perception of a troll is completely on par. You don’t see then a troll in the mountain. Gestalt There is a mountain in southern Norway which has been used as an object for artists to paint. when you get into the forest. Whereas the reflection then starts to analyze these things. But as long as we believed in atoms.

You identify with your nearest. your social status. You identify with a place in such a sense. and it is very big. Whereas when you look at something you have made. is it wise Gestalt forest’ to articulate that further. that you feel yourself is hurt when they hurt the place with which you identify. but what I call the ecological self. basically? Who are you?’ You will answer with these close relations. the total reality in which you are immersed. that cutting up and destroying. There is something there. what you mean by further. or should you leave it as it is? Not much can be said. which you then realize through your identifications and the way you live. If I ask you: ‘Who are you?’ Who are you. so close connection with his self. You end up saying: ‘Nature is without colours. the believe in protection of nature as a fast undertaking for the next century. And it is cutting yourself. for the next two centuries. In short: there is nothing in nature in itself! You have no access to nature in itself. That’s what many people do who are in philosophy. that is to say. Why do you stay here?’ ‘Well. that. So.’ Let the river live. nature is something. that. We go. And this Sámi young man was identifying so much with this place. and to be there. one young men there. I think. We now spend a week out in forest country. The self has to do with that with which you identify. And the police: ‘Why do you stay here? You are not supposed to stay here. if there would was a road nearby? Yes. even without shapes. they astonished me.’ And that is typical of deep ecology movement. the self here is not the tiny ego nor the social self. But cutting and cutting. [grins] A similar Gestalt of the Sámi people. And it is part of yourself. that he could say: ‘It is part of my self. A Gestalt like ‘the heart of the forest’. What you see there is infinitely complex. this here. that is to say. eve Yeah.Kant. Nothing reminds you of anything else. So there is nothing there. the two parts would have a heart. It’s far away to the borders and there is just forest. Where is the limit. So Self-realization. So it is undermining for some people. maybe there. we go into the forest. where do you think is the nearest where you get out?’ Maybe there. there will no heart left. what it is made for. Also with your job. The heart of the forest would change. that you are immersed in the forest and it is something so much greater than yourself. standing where they should make a road. only a limiting thing. ‘La Elva Gestalt Elva Leve. in here. what you experience spontaneously in a rich natural setting. It was part of a direct action in favour of the river that should not be used for hydro-electric dams. Because your self is much more than your ego. You appreciate only your own ways of thinking and feeling and you are completely determined by your culture. is your self. this protection of nature is a sham in a sense. as I use in ecological philosophy. is part of myself. There would not be a heart. where it is not dominated by human presence. So much greater. So this is how I connect then my philosophy of nature and my general philosophy. in the week: ‘Now. but you don’t have any access to it. And here shouldn’t be any roads ha-ha! 16 . that’s important to see. your nearest. the great philosopher. Even in contemporary so-called postmodernism. Because relations of cause and effect is something created by humans. But you will say something about that with which you identify. First of all people of course. this relation you have to your nearest. If it is cut into. who was caught by the police. thinking that there was a big road here. and so on. of the power of the forest. something in here. You just say: ‘All right.’ And I would say on Wednesday or Thursday. we are in the heart of the forest. a Sámi young man. would destroy something for him. and it’s so much poorer in content.’ It was the area of the river where his reindeer were crossing and he had been since boyhood. the Sámi people. not wilderness but free nature. and even without cause and effect. So. So I say: ‘This feeling you have now of distance. which you never can really see or appreciate.’ You see. through this term Gestalt. And to stay there. I call it. You are in the heart of the forest. you see the instrumentality. it’s like cutting yourself. you end up in complete nonsense.

I had no mother and no father and I had only one friend and he disappeared very soon.’ Because there is thousands of people who would like to die as soon as possible. were you can identify with. I could have something to eat for them. later-on. and he asked me to study psychiatry and I went to a psychiatric clinic in Vienna. And later. the more I identified. So I am glad.. but they were suddenly very small. What did you learn from that? from That one never should say that life is wonderful. I was rather lonely. sleeplessness and not being willing to eat. I identify with the area here. Sometimes I would take them up in my hand and let them then go. I felt lost in a sense. Extremely unhappy.. I said to my real mother. in order to not make stupid tourists fall down the cliffs here. pollution has taken away. and he thought I would be a good analyst. we started with discovering my infantile neurosis. and so on. And later with the more grand nature. So. I had such a good time. with shifts. Did you feel tiny yourself. So I felt I was together with them. so I made a lot of noise in order to get them taken away. well. you go skiing with somebody else. but I was introduced. When I have. of course. kind of wooden things.. And the smaller they were. And insisting that you don’t go on top of Hallingskarvet in wintertime. long talks in the evening with an extremely unhappy patient. yes. But we.. went to the sessions of When laterpsychoanalysis. And then. You have. I think. because his father were having a job somewhere else. did you learn more about this about feeling of tinyness? tinyness? Yes. they made a lot of identifications... who would then come to me when I was standing quiet in the water. in a sense when it gets to nature. at that time? Oh. But there are not that many big flowers for instance around here. Now they inject. to find out something about me. green big. but I was successful with these tiny creatures. So if you are new to Hallingskarvet. And I liked the tiny crabs. And I had to. without knowing exactly what you do. then I went to be successful in a social sense. we were. who tried to commit suicide and had unhappily been caught in Donau. But I was no doctor of course. there are mostly.. They are very curious looking and feeling around you. And I had long. And we found some things of value for who I am.. Fourteen months every day..If I ask you: Who is Arne Naess? Where does he identify himself with? Well.. And I had to do with the absolute. not only physical pain. The analyst would like that I should be an analyst myself. most miserable human beings that could be found. And then I gave up two months earlier. Or they would come and pick on my. with a panic. So I liked very much to be together with tiny shrimps. so that anything that is ruined here affects my self. with the water to my knees. I had white coat and was introduced as a doctor. But tiny shrimps. especially before now. 17 . then: ‘I have found the world’s smallest crab!’ But I didn’t really have found that. in shallow water. and that has to do probably with my feeling of helplessness. who knows Hallingskarvet. He was then at outlook for people who would be good analysts... they get this terrible kind of anxiety. So I was together and I identified very much with a shrimp.. weeks after weeks in the summertime. That destroyed a little for me. But never say: ‘Life is wonderful. There was such misery that I never got over it. But you could say that your own life is very good. not. Yes. and found such. and get under my foot. and into the clinic again. In panic of anxiety such that you have froth around your mouth and just like this for hours. We started with that.. I had two special patients. I identify with tiny. I could just do like this and they were killed. between age four and fourteen. And who are in suffering. discovered and brought to land. When you. big river. tiny flowers. if there is a doctor Why was that? Well. some time after again. along here. except Sundays. but complete suffering. So.

.’ So it’s. need not have strong compassion. it doesn’t cost more than just sit with somebody in extreme. We have to go down. To join on the basis of your life-philosophy or religion.. If we ask you: ‘Why do you do this. you are working for something within your self. and the supporters of the deep ecology movement see nature as having value in itself... even. I will not go by airplane in my vacations. And I need not such-andsuch products. So you can do something. they were tremendously grateful. which we call then. that is a long term. And we cannot continue this lifestyle. bad for that. technology and other things and you need not go back to your own philosophy or your own religion.’ You do not talk so much about pragmatic what you call pragmatic goals. so that you feel. those who go all the way back to what I call the ultimate premises.. they are generally in favour of very harsh policies that seem to make a lot of trouble for you. not holding a hand even. not even touching. And 18 .. But I have seen too much of. It makes sense to do something for this living being and a very important point is that humans don’t have the right to reduce the richness and diversity of life on this planet. but is more basic. the supporters of the deep ecology movement do not stop with for instance: ‘It is bad for the health if you have such pollution. That is unnecessary. we cannot live as we do. of course. It’s. ‘to be a supporter of the deep ecology movement’. says that every living being has inherent or intrinsic value. can you go back to the year 1973... the reformist people. except to satisfy vital needs.. average lifestyle. So you are motivated from what I call ‘deeper premises’. Doesn’t it restrict your possibilities? Doesn’ Sure it will restrict your possibilities. You go all the way back.. Something relating to something. as well as for nature itself. mostly. with a deep ecology terminology. that is to say: Your motivation comes from your total view or your philosophical.. That’s one point we have said since 1970. or better. religious opinions. Arne. it flows from their inclination to live in a way that is universalisable. but clearly. because if China starts on this way. So. or get an injection. it is bad for this. because when I was sitting near a patient in such terror. Yes. that demands that. when you are working in favour of free nature. but of course in China they don’t. To say: Life is wonderful. is open to different interpretations. That is: to join in activism. which require a lot of energy to be made... of extreme suffering. But they say: ‘Hah. But in the deep ecology movement we feel that we do not have the right to reduce the life on earth. why?’. who say: ‘This is I think that one of the major differences between the two groups is that one group sees group nature as a resource. and these supporters then have a job to do. you know. then there it has catastrophic consequences. I will not so-and-so. and say that we shall have that lifestyle. but of course in Third World you have the same going on.. It is against my deepest concern for myself. If it is necessary.. And every word in such a formulation. as that. if it is necessary: no car. that’s a good way of saying it. compassion.. to get rid of the ecological crisis. I started this terminology in 1970 and the first. together with the others. Pfff! Did it also teach you something about compassion? Yes. not. too much probably.they would inject something and they just fall asleep. In order to overcome the crisis has to do with practical things. just sitting there. the rich countries have to go down in material consumption. You cannot do anything you would like. what’s going on. they would have to go up. Now you get injections and so most places. that people. must not have that. where we say: it makes sense to do something for nature in itself and the first point in what I call the eight points of deep ecology. within. demands changes. the third edition of a little book was in ‘73. and of course in the Third World.’ So it is. some people look at nature only as resource. But just be there. and it has. when you first coined the term ‘deep ecology’? What ecology’ did you mean by that? Well. It cannot be done. the term ‘deep ecology’. after when they get a little better. but not what I would call your Self-realization. But you may have of course some bad habits ecologically. people in torture and people in extreme suffering otherwise.

’ It is a little different from saying: ‘No.. no. we have to make rules to be different in different societies. no. It is a value we call intrinsic value. if we are going to be ten-thousand million people. For instance flowers. And it’s not a juridical term. But if.’ I find that it is not for me. in ordinary language. it is a term mothers use to. So it is a term. what we can do. and it countries. And. You do not have the right. no. how can you identify with them or feel obligations. in the beginning. you use the term ‘right’. Feelings like that. saying: ‘No. these are terms from ordinary language and not technical ones... and that is done. no. I use the term ‘differences in obligation’. No. that’s up to you whether you consider that intrinsic value. it is unavoidable to step on plants. they have value in themselves. that has a special treatment. Can you tell a bit more about value in itself? Like a plant having value in itself. you may then try to make it more precise this term.. what is that? Well.. They have value in themselves so obviously! Obviously. on the whole.. according to my intuition. deep ecology priesthood. the Norwegian term. So that your moral obligations towards your fellow beings. and this is the way I use it in the third point of the eight points. each of us. I know this is a plant which will give such-and-such flower.the more people we are. of course. completely ordinary language. It’s. Calling it: ‘You don’t have right to eat all this which is supposed to be for your sister. for instance. no.’ So this. you shouldn’t grade Can you explain that the deep ecology movement is already existing.. And your obligations towards your children and your own children even more. fellow humans of course. but that’. But. don’ Yeah.. And they did. penguins. they have to be there. have a very high priority.’ And if you would like to go to that: ‘No. Or even after the blooming. and that it is in many countries.’ So. That’s... So it is also. It makes meaning to do something for it and so on. for instance saying to Tom: ‘Don’t! You have not the right to eat the dessert of your little sister. That is a thing we asked a lot of people about. Who says that we don’t have the right? Where don’ does this come from? It comes from the inner life of the supporters.. I think. But you must grade very much your obligations towards different kinds of living beings.. you should not’. this is a. Does every living being have an equal value? No... no. The best formulation is to say that there is something which every living has in common with every other living being. disturbing ecosystems is of course very much smaller.. or something.. thank you. towards the different living beings. And it was so interesting to see that.. I make more effort not to put my feet on flowers. and there it is up to you. they..’ It had nothing to do with having them around you. But it has a status there of a very special kind.. it’s. there is no use for trying to make universal rules about how to behave in particular cases like that. with little consequence for the deep ecology movement. the deep ecology movement. penguins in Antarctica. question: Is there more or less intrinsic value? I say: ‘That’s up to you to find. in disturb.. that’s a completely different thing. no. and there are flowers such as Gentiana Nevalis.. you haven’t. and in different directions.. intrinsic value in more and less intrinsic value. You must make a decision on which plants you step and on which ones you don’t step. there should be no kind of priesthood.. it is not a sect. not that. I think they understood that. But when you walk around the hut. The general opinion was: ‘Oh. not only Norway. And then. and so on. what we can do.. I made a questionnaire about whether people knew or used the term ‘intrinsic value’ or ‘inherent value’. they belong there and we like them to be there. doesn’t have a building like Greenpeace for doesn’ example? 19 . without ruining something. In philosophy. it’s not a sect. you never saw them. according to this terminology. it is not far from ordinary language to talk about: ‘It has value in itself. no....

Only few of them have heard the term. You have the Norwegians and the Sámi people... or an organization. or anything like that. especially those who said: ‘We need electricity. And it was summertime and we didn’t reach our goal. And they have very many things in common. and there is a movement for this. and there is thousands and thousands in many. We couldn’t make a thing that is harming the Sámi people.. it is not bad to have a word for this. Hugging trees and risking their lives and livelihood. invited to make a speech in the school. most people. I mean those who try to verbalize more or less general value statements and hypotheses. there was a plan to make a big dam that would also. that’s how I feel.. when the police came? Yes. Questions of. also. very much risking their lives.... they stand out in a very strong way. according to the Gandhian principles. so many will say: ‘Well. who act from inclination already. had coffee and they didn’t turn round to opposition. and that made an impression. But they sent.’ ‘Please sit down. We stopped the building a road. and you mention something like eight points and so on. By theoreticians. and the Gandhian principles are adopted by the deep ecology direct actions. many countries and in many cultures. and not that. When they come like this to our camp. They were very angry. And in schools for instance. There would be a lot of. It is a movement in that kind of. that is impossible! So. that also would injure the Sámi people. So.. you have to be very polite and very nice to people who oppose you. these arctic people you have in Norway. Because it was ‘in’ to be against it. Hydro-electric power stations are all over Norway. Those are between fifteen and twenty at the moment. if you talk to them and about things.... and they couldn’t resist that temptation. But in arctic Norway. the people with higher education who were against. this must not be done. That is in part reformist and in part deep ecology oriented. It is a movement. that is how I felt a long time! I mean. And according to the deep ecology attitude... And then it was wintertime. you saw when I made a speech. democracy. who I would consider theoreticians of the deep ecology movement..But you should not think of it as a party. you see. So. Some years you should eat that. But there. but I felt like that. For instance. like the one at the Alta dam? ecology 20 . it was unfortunately. risking their lives. yes! Yes.. the government sent a big steamer with six-hundred police. for instance in what you are eating.. and to stay there made an impression. nobody stood up for the dam. So you see it is very difficult class questions. environmental direct action. But they have nobody who thinks that dictatorship of any kind would be useful. Finland and Soviet Union. Alta.. two people.. And Norway has two cultures. or would be justifiable... Can you maybe give an example of a deep ecology action. of course. to stop us. And then they built big dams. so on the whole. but they were not opposing us in a violent way or anything like that.’ There are also people in India. always. the unemployment will go down when we make this dam’.. it was very cold. And some of us then thought that here. there are people in the deep ecology movement who have never heard the term.. which was necessary to start. very angry: ‘Hwrrrhhgg. Sweden. and there are very few theoreticians. if they stand up to protect something in nature. that’s how.. Yes. and so on. far north. And you have the Chipko movement. up there.. kind of people. there was a direct action. There were people then. But it’s very.. Oh. that’s. who were in favour of the dam. have some coffee’ [grins].. And they set down. because we were more than thousand people and it was a very harsh time. and in other cases in the Third World. but not necessarily anarchism or not necessarily soand-so. you see [grins]. you have similar things in the movement. for instance in an ecological direct action. But were you sitting on the ground. yes!’ And some will say: ‘Yes! I need. But you also say. if you talk to people in. Very strong kind of democracy.

after being carried away. Isn’t it a form of nature mysticism? Isn’ I think that is a too strong term. of course. and foresee going to be taken prison. So they didn’t. But: Let the river live.. Let the river live. you might say: ‘This place is part of myself. yes. Not: We need not electricity. As a fairly old man. when there is a dam. that was the thing! Let the 21 . And.’ And of course they had things made so that they were able to not harm us at all. because some would.. asking for what training they had in order to carry so many people and so on. ha-ha. the term ‘the river’ also includes people living around there. they have an idea of ecosystem. we can have electricity from other places here in Alta. I asked for it. A second time and third time. But certainly some of the theoreticians have a kind of nature mysticism. Did you go to prison yourself? Pardon? Yes. it was: ‘Let the river live!’ La Elva leva. All this has to do with communication to the Norwegian people. yes. I will not go there and carry them away.. to get prison instead of money. you ask for prison.. so. but you see they wouldn’t let me have. it is dammed up and it’s. this is a symbol. very strong iron things. to get in prison. It has nothing to do with. That is important to message. And it is also clear that the river. then? Well.. the river. distinction between culture and nature. to use it. I mean.. the life of it is harmed.’ Carrying is also interesting.. If you use the term ‘mysticism’ and ‘unity’. river live. In Norwegian: La Elva leva. after the dam. according to the feelings of the population. here. Using the river for everything. And I said: ‘Oh yes. that is much better than that you foresee that have to get some thousands of crowns.. Police who are against this dam.’ If you are a Sámi. to the ground.Can you describe what happened. And if you gladly go into prison. having a good chat with the police. we got punished. And did you get punished? Oh yes. you see. practically nobody went into prison. thank you. It’s.. of course. There is something there.. ‘Well. Getting from further south and not disturbing anything Sámi.. he was sure they have no technology to unfasten us from the rock. and police have no choice.. Marvellous! I don’t know who made that slogan but whooo. it is a symbol... I mean.. they couldn’t say: ‘No.. You can. modern technology. some of us had a very great privilege to be fastened with very.. Ha-ha. they say. Sigmund Kvaløy.’ And they say: ‘Oh. yes... because so many people think of religion in a sense that is not appropriate. some. To let Professor Arne Naess in prison that’s not good.. but don’t you see there are relations that distinguish.. And using the river for fishing.. in a way and. And then they get very harsh.’ Saying that it. And one of the most active there.. in a Green society we would have police also. No. many people will say ‘Yes. Most. In ordinary people’s mind. But people would say: the river is still living. What was the slogan of the activists? The slogan seemed to be very well chosen. I feel a unity with nature.. It is still going on. we had specialists showing that that was an alternative. they went back again. so letting the river live includes of course what you call the ecosystem. like fire. You may use the term ‘mysticism’. that you feel a unity with nature. I feel I am part of nature’. I would talk to the police. yes. but it’s unfortunate I think. it is a rule in deep ecology. And that is typical deep ecology. yes.

because of these what he called ‘eternal laws of nature’.. You were active in the resistance movement too. go getting violent.. There was kind of excitement among the students and they would be violent. got hold of a big. you told it already you yesterday outside. They were. river is part of his self. He was staying at the riverside. maybe. so we were all very good in German. that is very... I mean. But it is interesting that Hitler of course liked nature. where he was staying... which is struggle and violence. Spying. especially when the university was shut. you hurt me if you do something to this place. saying that. ha! Tigers. where they were going to have the road. Goebbels had that. And they were very good in German. And he is part of the river. big tank of milk. the strategy of violent solution of conflict is also the second ingredient. ‘35. Now. some when... And river. But then when I was here with two of my most darling students. I had already written a book in German... but. The real thing is to get a violent solution. how can you eat. secret service.. It is so stupid. and physical strongest and mentally strongest would kill the weakly. And the daughter of my psycho-analyst had to jump out of the window. Yes. And he is part of the river and the river is part of his self. from the very start. against the Nazis. Hitler talked in favour of nature. I was here for a long time and the head of the Gestapo in Geilo heard about this hut. but I didn’t look down upon those who were fighting with weapons during. so how can you have a good relation to your old mother. And the sense of humour of those students are just unbelievable. when the students started being Nazified [sigh]. I was in Oslo and in 1934.. that every human being as such has intrinsic value... had.. for instance...’ Five years. and the police asked: ‘Why do you stay here? It is not. I cannot leave a part of myself. But I wouldn’t use weapons of any kind. we do not try to evade it and with my two darling students we went down to headquarter and those two students were pacifists and absolutely passive during the war. because somebody. secret. occupation 22 . and they all drank it and You yourself have had quite some experience with the fascist occupation of Norway. you see. And he was not supposed to stay there. ‘You hurt me. Why do you stay here?’ And he said: ‘This is part of myself. against Hitler. And of course. you see. what you call it. and. there was some kind of strangeness about us... So.... There is no plus to have a nonviolent solution of a deep conflict. but that the Sámi people saw the river as some part of themselves? The Sámi. so we learned a lot.’ But they didn’t find it! Ha-ha.. So I sometimes carried a lot of weapons in my rucksack [grins]. thinking of those people who are eating other people?’ It is just like if you don’t have a good relation to your old mother: ‘Goebbels had a good relation to his old mother. that is absolutely poisonous for fascists and National Socialists. in the hut when Norway was occupied? Yes. And so the violent. that was part of himself.’ And I decided: of course we do that. And then to have a kind of. reminds us of Himmler.. especially when I was. to somebody who is eating: ‘Well there are people who eat other people. very important ingredients of both National Socialism and fascism. eight litres.. And this is said completely spontaneously by Sámi people without any kind of formal education. but not humans. every human being has intrinsic value. and I was active in an organization that was violent. But to make a kind of argument. no. First floor. Did you also spend time here. looking down upon weakness is one of the important. And this chief of Gestapo there gradually gets a more mellow...Can you maybe tell again. Some people will say: ‘To talk about the sacredness of the soil. and thought: ‘Aahh! It better be burned. What is you response to that? Haah! Himmler had a sense of archaeology and certain other things. So it is a spontaneous reaction. somebody came and said: ‘[making sound of gasping for breath] Gestapo insists that you come down to the headquarters of Gestapo at Geilo.. how can you talk in favour of nature?’ And so on.

of course. far enough that eight or ten thousand million people could live on that level without seriously. and to think that we should kill some of them. we just see that you cannot be imperialist because there are no new continents. eh. And we have to go down. or anything like that But the more people we are.. so I then started telling them: ‘What? Did you drink all that? And it is war now. there is one less.. and much Why is it so important to respect the richness and diversity. among 400 babies. the eight points is: ‘It would be better for humans if there were fewer.. what. because I didn’t know at the time that they were looking. And then: ‘No. the more difficult it is to keep up the richness and diversity of nature. And the Gestapo then thought maybe this is for the sabotage.. And that day. I didn’t really. you are not supposed to go back to the cottage. also in the Third World. they said: ‘Thank you for this being able to get the ticket’. And even if it is said again and again and again. if they’re produced 199: that’s enough. not knowing that it may be burnt down. What do you think of people who say that the deep ecology viewpoint is: ‘Nature is is: Nature more important than humans’? humans’ To say something like that.’ But it was such. I was completely relaxed here. any kind like that! How could you drink eight litres?’ You see. ha-ha.. so far.. So. And if ten percent of un. if there is half. You cannot get rich because there are no more continents. Did you spend time during the war looking out of the window to see if they were coming for you? No.if you could reduce that to ten percent.. But from the police you will get two tickets to get this train back to Oslo. in the rich countries.there are so many unwanted babies . that when we stop going down. it would be strange if we were able to do it within 400 years. There a professor was scolding. but he was mollified. non-dominated by humans. without catastrophic consequences. so to speak. and against. I mean. better for non-humans..then people think in terms of one generation..... saboteurs on the Hardangervidda. of babies who are not really produced because of the parents really want them .. this is questions of hundreds of years. but the next century.’ We have also formulations saying that an increase. so many people don’t have any kind of. as.. so far enough. That’s to say: the others could also live on that level.. this situation. ‘Well. So I was not looking.. we have to go down. it was a fantastic event for all three. But the term decrease .. no. you wouldn’t really feel the change that is necessary in the production of babies. You two students. It is not imperialist of us to say this to the Third World? No. is so nonsensical from a deep ecology point of view. Or 200 babies were placed where there really produce 200 babies. and down-scaling the population. ‘Nature is more important than humans’.. You are very unfortunate. that would be fabulous in the rich population. ‘Free nature’ is the term for pieces of nature not dominated by humans. every year.. they are not disturbing nature yet.. you see. And in the non-rich. with each of them having intrinsic value.they left it on the road. like the area here. and the Gestapo chief.. it is enough.. and for the head of this Gestapo thing.. He simply couldn’t resist... I didn’t. to not reduce it? Well. he didn’t smile.. no. don’t thank them!’ that was going too far with the Gestapo! [grins]. Above the turmoil in the rest of Norway. they didn’t tell me that they really drank all the eight litres. I only knew that later. two students drinking all. I said: ‘No..’ And leaving the place. We have exploited new continents in order to get rich... you see. there is a problem there. I think people who have had the opportunity to live as children in free nature: to 23 . But we have to go down in material standard of living. those two. So. the ‘heavy water people’ and so on. because human are fantastic beings. and very seriously destroy much of what I call the ‘free nature’. decrease of human population is necessary to have the nonhumans realize their potentialities. one of points. and I scolded my students. after Geilo and people saying: ‘Oh. totally.’ and so on. they try to.. how we live is universalisable.

you see. I wouldn’t say that at all. say to us: ‘We have.. Trusting me! Not being interested in me any longer. before I was made. I mean. the eagle. and there are hundreds of millions of years behind me.. don’t worry. for lemmings or mice. the only thing to have a little nature is good for you. because if you have had free nature. and so on. don’t worry.. I think that the people never had access to free nature... But some people are so tremendously mature in their family life. If you get depressed. biodiversity has to do with the limit of extinction. then the relation.. the saying. They can hear. for instance here. And it’s very different from biodiversity. in a way. So I feel I have one second of life now in this fantastic development that is infinitely greater than me. we eat those. Because they are able to listen through the snow.. But if you take all sides together.. But. for instance foxes. what we have in German. We are not interested in the limit of extinction. here. they may tell. And: If people of other planets come here. They could just as high level of Selffulfilment and Self-realization. And the more you have of animals around here. that I am in a galaxy here. but trusting me. but there is a surplus of whales... and was listening. there would be a planet. still. They are interested in not being trampled on. of course. And that’s a good feeling. a more precise term.them it is very important for their quality of life. going down for lack of water and you have joy from helping them. but then it went about three metres further away. ecology movement. there may be only one in our galaxy among more than hundred-thousand million stars. And this is for my philosophy very important.. I think that Selfrealization. Then one aspect of your maturity would be a mature way of looking at other life forms than humans. and one of them.... we have enough. And I tried to give some food. that’s the. the term ‘richness’. I looked through this window.. that is to say: all-sidedness of maturity. but only as tourists you can see if. you might say it is only snow and rock. So. they can hear some. access to free nature. You see.. and we. yes. if you talk about. we always wish to give some food of something and. worry. Well. similar to us.. there is no arrogance necessary in deep There is a difference between abundance and richness. And it’s important also.. But we will cut down some of the population of you and 24 . a wild animal living here all year. who live around here. So then. Whhpp. I don’t know. as I call it. I use richness. there may be biodiversity. the surplus. but he didn’t quite like when I was throwing something. it’s. and abundance would be a better. I like that because it is a little more than just counting. you are inclined to keep up the richness and diversity. you see practically no wild animals. yourself. Can you maybe tell a bit more about this idea of richness? What richness is. necessary for real human fulfilment to have this access to free nature? Well. So I am very sorry that it is not much to be seen [coughing]. to nature is one of the things you would have to have in this all-sided maturity of human beings. Staying there and looking into my eyes and I looked into his eyes . in having interests... you have some marvellous birds. All year! I do not do that. no. But somehow. the greater you feel your life here. they are interested in water. or in Norwegian: alside.. seeing the fox staying and looking at me. and you will see that it is meaningful to do something for other beings than just humans.. if that is supposed to be all-sided or many-sided.. the. then: I say what I say.. there are some animals.. because.. the plants.I don’t know whether it is a female or not -. No. in their community life. So. in a very deep sense. when people get sufficient opportunity to live as they wish to live. most people will be in favour of the richness and diversity of life on this fantastic planet. and you get this notion that they are. Whereas. they’re all. we need not be afraid of extinction... and so on. It is very different from biodiversity. But they’re all. It. So bio. And that’s a tremendous experience. the more or less deep ecology relations. And I couldn’t sit here and talk without this happenings hundreds of millions years ago. Don’t. So I wouldn’t say there is something lacking there in Self-realization. ‘abundance’: you think just about the number. of biodiversity. Is it not. we say.

.every year. You are dead. Vital needs is relative to the kind of society you are in. and then. they’re going extinct or getting near to extinction. when I think about that. in detail. And in the arctic Norway at the moment. Then I think. Yes. all over. I take cultural diversity of humans on par with species diversity among non-humans. I think. If you have the same. we need the territory... all of them. Yeah. psychiatric patient. but the misery is so terrible. Does the feeling of this process happening make you sad? Yes. when we talk about the realization of the fulfilment of the potentialities of human beings. [grins] So. a necessary condition. pfff. and the vital need of sheep owners is to not to have any wolves around. Let me ask: can you explain the difference between basic needs and vital needs? With basic needs. You have then only subcultures. for instance. also cultural diversity is important.. that is. But you are not pessimistic? No. as you have within New York. and saying that to us. They cannot stand having wolves Why is it a loss? I think. which is impossible for us. There’s a peace movement and then the social justice movement and then we have the deep ecology movement. and you have certain other things. you have food. the same kind of economic system all over. by a strong world market. like the old Indian Sanskrit culture. cultures which tolerate other cultures. but not dominated by any definite kind of culture. great concern about the unification. I wouldn’t like cultures which do not tolerate other cultures. Because their children are. you have shelter. it depends on what we do today and tomorrow. to. A culture.. or next generation of Norwegians. it’s nothing more.. you can read about old fantastic cultural achievement. for instance of musicians. And this is how I see this interest about the extinction level. sometimes I wake up thinking about this misery. they are influenced from other cultures.. the same kind of products you buy.. [laughs] We might have turned the tide.. But it is not the same as a culture. when I was 22 years old. for instance. and we have to do something to it. Whereas. you see from. You say: next to biodiversity. So.. generally. That’s the very end to this [clicks]. for me of course. the education of a formal kind will be a vital need. it is impossible for us. Because. not considering the twenty-second century.our method of killing. important. sometimes yes. and in Norway. at this time. you only hear a very well known piece of music from Mozart. I think we would be. I am afraid that it is practically impossible to have deep cultural differences.. Especially city people who are not afraid of what’s happening to different kinds of vegetables or what they are making. their mind was so fantastic. we vitally need the territory. This is [obviously?] we should have abundance of life around and most people like abundance of animals. the number of cultures which are not industrialized . this fantastic misery. But they were small cultures. It reduces my quality of life a little. You have marvellous subcultures. So we are superior.. our method of reducing the number is so much superior to your.. [clicks] But the loss of cultures seems to be a one-way oneprocess.. That’s a vital need for them. that the potentialities of humanity on this planet is much narrowed down if you have the same culture. And that is. I mean.. the possibility of economic unification of the world. today. the potentialities of humanity. We may have chance. through this generation. I mean this. not like those people coming. every year.. there are three great movements. And what. But I think the chances next century is small. What they had in 25 . from a deep ecology point of view. they’re. I don’t know what would have to happen in order to have a great variety of deeply different cultures which are not of a fascist or a National Socialist kind. when I think of my patient. it tends to be a vital need that the family or the neighbours have a car. where they live in music. So there is. And that’s then.

That requires. information machinery. it’s misused. But that is a very special situation. and then they have to be killed. wolf. that they would say: ‘Oh yes. and there is no question that people in these valleys where there are. they say. the quality of life of Jews in Norway was very high. You have cancer. The quality of life depends on how you manage the situation. a God with brains would never tell humans: now you take over the management of nature. like to shoot wolves. what’s high. Because quality of life has just to do how you feel life. so that if you think this animal has intrinsic value. probably..around. they wouldn’t have had the quality of life if they knew more about the possibilities of being harassed by the police and dragged away. or what it is. Is that not that mankind is then sitting at the seat of the Creator. But it is important that in 1941.. also there are a couple of other big carnivores that could do the job.. reindeer here. because the term ‘quality of life’ is getting more and more popular.. in this cases. And then you can say: ‘There is a higher life-quality among women with full-day jobs. that’s OK. in my opinion. And within 30 years probably. economic worries. So it is a vital need for them. Oh yes. Can you explain the difference between ‘quality of life’ and ‘standard of living’? life’ living’ Well.. And so it’s misused. as the bears. your quality of life may be very high. has value in itself. they would just harm them and. What are your concerns. what kind of economic worries. we are going to do the job. How you feel life. and half-day jobs in rural. they shouldn’t have had. quality of life.. It would be together with the humans. with practically no big carnivores. Bears. each human you are interviewing. we can have a little more. you cannot under any circumstances kill it. a single leaf you couldn’t. they could have farms or sheep. And sometimes they eat some sheep. quality of life is a very important term.. but: no thank you. you are ill. Killing is absolutely compatible with having. But the wolf. And you cannot just ask: ‘How-do-you-feel?’ You have to go round the question. or in district Norway. culturally. So. that’s an extremely important question. It’s too complex. your worries. how strong are suchand-such worries. Because they get hungry and starving and they get thin and tiny and having a bad time.. All right. has nothing to do with whether you’re stupid or not. because you don’t know about it. Which are your.. Many thousand reindeer are killed for ecological reasons. your cancer.. But to take over God. of course.. Ha ha. It’s beyond any kind of machinery you could have. what other kind of worries. [sigh] And some of us felt that any day Gestapo would come and drag them away. We have made the wolves extinct around here.. doing that? Yes. when you know about it. And eh. all over. but we cannot manage nature. But it may be also high. and of course your. but not wolves. you see. yes. we couldn’t. It’s a vital need for them.’ But it has not the status. how.. it will probably not be economical interesting to have sheep in Norway. with recognizing intrinsic value. your illnesses. no friends. Can you explain that a bit more? Well.. And you have to stay with each... But the quality of life. we have to kill a lot of reindeer every year. Because the thing we can do is manage our own interference in nature and a little more. so they would kill any wolves they happen to see. they would be get. or something like.. how you react to the way of life. Bears have a very high cultural status among people who are sheep owners. about life. It depends on how you can manage. that’s a bad expression. if they behave.. or whether you don’t understand how terrible your situation is. having cancer. you 26 . But if they are badly educated. also. There is more to saying: ‘Lifequality has not to with how you live but how you take how you live. a God..’ So. You can generalize about quality of life. there is more of them at other places. have so little knowledge of what is going on in nature and that would be permanently like that. Their is no logical relation there. they have value in themselves..

.I am sorry. you know.. according to Kierkegaard. And. what country you are in and what social and political situation. Do some disturbance for humans. you have to. at Tvergastein.. that’s. the feeling of what we call identification. that’s very bad. completely: one looking at the other.. That’s difficult. are you really.. verbalized total view. but if you have a system.. And you then try to find out where it went wrong. as usual with humans. like peacemovement and this movement. exactly down here. So. the terrible condition of humans are such that you are responsible for your choice. And I interpret him to say that. it’s a view that has certain value priorities for your life. and then standing and listening.. you see. The value priorities that. views. but you looked to your psychiatrist as others would look to the dentist. but you [.. and this great movement. some people kill .. whatever you eat.. and the abundance. quite trivial. three times do this and find out whether you really. and now you have cultural conversation and small narratives. that I was a visitor here. Even if we. when I was in California. And value priorities. trying to give some food... not to the right’. So. So you have more or less fundamental views. postmodernism. where-ever you are.... whatever you do. because there is such a cynicism and that’s used by what is called the post. if you would like that word. I mean.. [smiles] near.. because he was so much against Hegel and a system.. it didn’t like that.. so the tremendous difference between the fox and the human. I think. but when I was just giving.. He went a little further down. it’s describing the main features of the world. and. he didn’t like that. and that was a joke in 19. The difference was. Which is difficult for humans to get. if you don’t find meaning of life. you interpret Kierkegaard as saying that you are always responsible to develop a total responsible view.. can you explain that? that? I don’t think that is typical for Kierkegaard.. late 1940’s. to behave in such a way that they are all over here. or something like that. than to the children of others and so on. trivial. your spontaneous reaction for or against is very important. Well. you have more obligations to your own children. and today that’s more important than ever. some people like to kill foxes . I have to go to the left now. you were wrong. they were leading in standard of life and leading in number of visits to psychiatrists. after all. what he called a system...Also to find meaning in life? Of course.. also has hypotheses about who you are. So.?.] high standard of living. pfff. what they’re doing underneath the snow and underneath the soil. that they were leading Californians in.. As to richness of life here. so that you say: ‘According to my general view. And of course. Of course in itself. So. It is not so easy to have a very high standard of living. university people. Because. more animals around here. it’s after all something secondary in relation to the personality. I fumbled getting some food for it. That search for truth and validity on a large scale is out.. and that it has meaning. to sitting here and suddenly I saw a fox..’ And then. some hen or something.. you are totally responsible in relation to what you believe.. Arne. we were completely on par. you would have a fantastic standard of life. What is a total view? Did you recognize something of yourself in the fox? Natural. you are going against your verbalized kind of value hierarchy. and pffff. of course. at every moment. You as a person are always above the system. So it is both descriptive. is too big for 27 . But I think that. I will not go to the left... accept what your system says? And then you get into a situation where you say: ‘No. that they take that. I go to the right. it was so nice to have. your. where in your total network of your opinions. so that you are more. what I say is that it would be marvellous to have more.. this fox has meaning. quite stupid.. because foxes are able to hear the lemmings and other small. That’s old-fashioned... That fox was looking at me and I was looking at the fox. even if you have a tremendously well worked out. and mice.but gradually they tolerate that they eat some things. more generally. that doesn’t disturb the feeling of unity. There are too few. where the fox was living here all year.

probably has completely consistence there. this. this will not last long. was. That is out. So your act. at the same time as you are aware that you are been mistaken all the way! There might also be another form of nihilism. Hmm. I think is very much good in it. You have no guarantee in this about the future. ‘Oh yes. what will be your opinion tomorrow.’ Well. one use that goes back to Pyrrho. But that’s not the case. the spiritual vacuum of this time. you are. a Greek philosopher. this is. that you are not Godless. and also about the future of your own self. just for instance your desires at the moment. So anything can happen. is out.. to have small narratives to talk to each other. What. nobody 28 . I think. that’s alright. that you have this fallibility. And it asks for open mind. Fortunately. silent’ I think I should add. You are. but we are back again. to act and go into the centre of conflict which you think are important.. of people saying that ‘God postis silent’. you may have definite values of such a kind. so to say. it was like that!’ Next day you may say: ‘Oh no. and so you can just do what you like. ‘Oh yes.. as I am when I write selfbiography. It’s just a kind of belief in general fallibility. as today. And there are no values in any universal sense. I was not mistaken!’ And that is typical then for human beings. Fallibility is such that you never have a guarantee to have the truth in your hands. We may be atheists. in principle and in practice. I’m mistaken. we are not Godless.. There are no values which are such that you ought to follow this and realize those values. completely open mind.’ So you see.. there may be a lot of errors. And that’s.. the next century. in the post-modern age. this is correct of you to do. but always you act locally. but also in the old Greek culture you had a couple of philosophers who were like that.. and don’t have this arrogance to try to erect consistent views of reality and so on. narratives of a smaller kind. So it’s extremely different from That the search for truth is over. In this century you have had so many waves of philosophy. If you have a value that religion is bad and you have thought about it and you act against it. that’s natural you do. what we are going to have is locally. You’re no guarantee. such that you say that you have no guarantee that you have the truth in your hands. we are now realizing the consequences of what Nietzsche said. God is not dead in the sense that we still have priorities of value. But some say. And that is a big distinction for a Gandhian and others who have. where it is in to have such-and-such opinion.’ dead. it is in to have a kind of. for instance.. that you have never a guarantee to be completely in truth of what you say. That scepticism is very different from nihilism. you are responsibility. according to this kind of scepticism. saying: We cannot reach any truth and we cannot reach any truth.. and you come back to serious questions which are more or less global. ecology movement. there is a wave in philosophy.. And you are liable to be mistaken about your past. what Gandhi would say. And if I say. sure. I mean scepticism. no thank you. We just have small conversations and narratives to each other. so to say. so-called postmodernism.’ What is nihilism to you? Nihilism will say that there are no opinions any better than any other opinion. you may have ten ways of using the term but. Is their a difference between scepticism and nihilism? Yes. Gandhi thinks of himself as an orthodox Hindu. no. that today. I have published a book on a very special sort of scepticism. and you know your power is tremendously small towards others. but not Godless. and you have certain values which are just absolute for us. at the same time as you must be strong in your action. and I think there are more and more waves. that ‘God is dead. to have total views which are more or less fragmentary. And some people think that this leads to a kind of nihilism. such that against torture. but we are serious people. Cultural conversation. But you may say: ‘No. but he has great respect for militant atheists. If you are against torture.. Any kind of vary serious great movement like peace movement. A Christian God... which I find very much..

Thousands of people are suicidal. and will always cost. not as a mortal kind of doubt.. yes..’ So. like the Swedish film maker Swedish Bergman. we don’t know. I wish I could.’ And they were sceptical. now. never come back to anything like definite views of life. who say: We are. that you. a Jewish philosopher said to me: ‘How can you be that sceptical? And we have such joy as a Jew. being a human being. I think.. a definite kind. It costs very much. I am doubting.’ But then she would laugh and say: ‘I can’t do that. We will follow our spontaneous impulses as long as they are not too bad for other people.. Do You yourself don’t have the feeling that don’ there is a spiritual void or vacuum? Some people of course have a background and a upbringing through that they get into terrible depression with the feeling of void. So it pays. just as we think going to die as a thousand years ago. with definite kind of goals for you. they feel that God is silent.’ The Jewish scepticism is one anxiety and frustration. I think..’ Whereas a Hellenic scepticism of Pyrrho.. And that’s good in a sense. then you get into trouble very much easier. It’s all there. But that has been like that in old times. and one thousand years ago. Well.. ‘Oh.. People not finding a place to belong. we should be helping them. you get. And it then breaks down. And in some cases. being alive. So many young people say: ‘I don’t know what to do with myself. and definite views of greater and lesser values. also in the Middle Ages. they speak about the silence of God.. potentiality of reflecting all the time. God is not taking care anymore. ‘Oh my God. or something. at the moment. has much less to say than with a fly. maybe completely blocked in your. thousands of people who rather die than live.. And your instinctual life is. I think. That’s of course nonsense.. and so on. and they’re suicidal. I am doubting. still quite a lot of spiritual suffering at this time. Of course. what to do with yourself. as believe in God. or a pig. like myself. if you read a lot of history. where people were supposed always to be Catholics. than if. that those are mistaken. But I will just say that life as a phenomenon. I think. Some people. as it was one hundred years ago.. We have to pay for having this mind and this kind of possible.. how the world has gone to pieces. they still find something value-less and other things valuable. not as anti. you don’t get into having a very strong belief that there is definite kind of God. when there were very.. for some people it’s an awful thing. I would like to be like my friend who is believer in God and next life... [sigh] Great spiritual suffering. I think.. to get rid of their life. That’s all there. for instance. the development of life in six hundred million years is wonderful and fantastic and unbelievable. it costs. and therefore I would never say that life. So. freedom of choice is tremendous. What shall I do? My God. in the future.’ So. and it has always cost. go on living. Where? Where is it? In the minds of people. this great distance between the cultures.Still there is.. if you have been brought up with a definite kind of God. you don’t know what to do. It costs. 29 . with a mother who was like that and with a suspicious about every teacher at the school. With this threat of atomic war or the ecological crisis. They find something meaningful and other things not meaningful and they are willing to die for certain things.other than human beings. is wonderful. Can you explain that a bit more? Well. I doubt!’. they think are valuable.. this means that this But even people with a Christian or another religious background may say that this world is this falling to pieces. saying: ‘We don’t know much.. I don’t know. I am doubting. We can see completely different possibilities for yourself and for everything. and nothing is worth anything and so on. oh. the brain and the entire human mind is such that you see alternatives which seem not to be open to animals . you see how terrible things have happened then. So that’s. how. area of freedom makes that you get completely. I had a mother who said: ‘Oh people. that was a joyful scepticism...

we would probably show very. His world... not only five or ten years. you try to do this.good signs. now. pushed into some other reality... and one that seem to have vital needs of such-and-such-and-such things. And he said: ‘My world is gone. and this. We are just going to go on and trying to protect our own life and the life of others. There is no 30 .. or not coming. You just try to help what photo: Doug Tompkins geographically et cetera... It is frightening for many people that humans are so able to be. trust. We have moved beyond the split. And if we were young.. could destroy more than 95 percent of humanity. These doomsday preachers are just doing harm.. in the next century. And hitting us within two seconds. With this. and they get. The. who lives in an enchanted world who feels the connection to. but a trust. the. or. He was very depressed.. we used to live in an enchanted world. and two hundred. between a Sámi person. Like the American Indians. you are. Ha. So human beings are such that they seem to be completely stuck in one kind of way of living. by chance. a long time ago. sometimes your world simply go to pieces.’ That’s. You do this now. million species are going extinct or four million species are going extinct. was his name. and this. And then you have five percent and that’s enormous number of humans.. the last free Indian.. now we live in an age of the disenchantment of nature. let’s say two hundred years. But you might argue that there is still a huge difference. So I’m a great believer in equanimity. it’s frightening.. who was a free Indian. we are suddenly drowning in a flood coming through the house here. and I don’t think the atomic wars could.. were caught in 19 so-and-so. completely. And that is typical of some of the sceptics.’ So.. There are great problems ahead and there is no certainty about things going towards catastrophe. They talk about disenchantment of nature. the. so we just go ahead.. that we have wars of such-and-such terrible kind. that’s. He was taken very good care of. getting into free nature.. that’s talk.. in olden time. but it also is a very good thing. and this diversity of cultures. I don’t see any sign that the world is going to pieces. who have to relearn it. we are all just out of here. And not that the possibility. adapting to a new kind of reality. There may be a tremendous big stone on the way down. Just saying: ‘Goodbye life and eh. is gone to pieces. and us. and if they had then.. very different kinds of characters. We don’t know much. developments. You go on. by chance. And they are there. inside yourself somewhere. overcome the ecological crisis. I don’t know. Ishi. the last Indian for instance.. And today. It turns out that people lived all their life in cities. some of you.. We have to be educated. just as eager to protect free nature and others. that we will. to get into be a torturer or to be a saint. a trust. So. But before the Middle Ages. but that’s talking. and there is no reason to stop and say: ‘We are helpless’. it doesn’t take long time before they’re just as protective minded. whatever. for instance.. he said. where the.. that shouldn’t disturb you much. that you will have. not believe of a very dogmatic kind of anything. this was olden time.. a long youth.

And a professor of 31 . He saw me sitting there and started.. he tried botany. you yourself are a fantastic being. he was. tremendously proud beings. But that is on the individual level. but he was such a marvellous person! His achievements were: ha. but we are proud beings. I don’t think we have grown apart of nature. I had a friend who never succeeded in any kind of thing. where the ice was covering this. that you are better in playing the piano or better in so-and-so. I think.none of them make.... it’s amusing to see that they have such a high estimation of any culture that is not industrial. wilderness. That we are on the way of decreasing the unsustainability of life. Just a little money. a total view. The Indians. it means that we have grown apart of think is worth to help. It makes you feel humble.. of the deep ecology movement. and at the same time great.. And from that time. that’s what.. success. So. wilderness. but a Sámi person belongs to a culture where there is no split between what we call nature. and they think that every old culture was better than what we have now. And whether you get to be socially successful or not is absolutely un. even a dinosaur will have a fantastic power in their minds. he tried to go to the theatre. out in the highest mountains in Norway. Just as yesterday. we may say. compared to this form of beings. and keep quiet inside here.. when I got into a hut. and that holds good for other people.. I think. And we just go on and do what we think is the right thing to do.’ But not compared to others. ahaa! ‘You should be tremendously proud of yourself. yourself are tiny. certainly. because he had always nice things to say. palaeontology of the worlds before our own time. and you don’t think that every non-industrial civilization had consistently better relationships to the nature. And I feel the Ice Age just as yesterday. and spirituality. starting discussing with me and told me about. So I didn’t understand why people were so upset by things and I didn’t. you may be very bad in everything. views’ Maybe you can tell about your own total view. as long as you can have a little food. such a fantastic successful human being! And we need many more of them! And he was also invited very much by people. being humans. very technical book of some kind. any of them. is of a kind were you. I mean is that if we use the word or the concept of nature. but you are also a fantastic being. but that is not what I mean. We are tiny and.. and that’s the main reason they didn’t destroy much. they don’t have all this time to reflect. unbelievable power. or capacities.. where you do not live in this century but you live in a time that is covering hundreds of millions of years. They didn’t have much power to destroy. So. of there was a world of development before humans. compared to this cosmos. I got the feeling. He tried to be artist. But that’s also an exaggeration. here. ‘I could sing some song I like to return to the subject of ‘total views’. It is all a whole. I think that there is hope for the twenty-second century.. it is so much worse than we have. But things happened to me. So. It is amusing to see that among supporters of deep ecology.. then you can have a fabulous life. There is a fair chance [smiles]. he never succeeded in anything. now the terrific power is in hands of adolescents. I have. some thick.. tiny being in a fantastic world. couldn’t see how any human being could feel small and helpless because. and therefore.. six hundred million years of development of life. of very little interest whatsoever. so small. those who are not professor in philosophy. Yeah. for me. they didn’t make headway. a tourist hut. my total view is. a feeling of time in terms of millions of years. But if you read carefully about the social reality in certain cultures... spirituality. I hadn’t. I was then having a total view.. but it was so nice to be together with him because he had so many interests ... I was always sitting with a. I am sorry he died long ago. but only fragments are verbalized. you do not need. for instance. That they didn’t have this terrific power. So.. But what’s so terrible today is our power to destroy.. when I was sixteen years.

That is to say: that you do practical decision-making. [smiles] I speak good. How did then your political development. He had some money for doing this job and that money would help him for months. But we need wisdom. You just talked about going to the mountain and reading this book. And he was a peasant. because of the personal initiative. as they do now. as socialist. the rhythm! I was quite good at that time. was impossible for me. I speak well about politicians. a certain classical. So. two weeks before the tourists would come. I mean. And you act according to the premises. No. Old. I couldn’t follow. owning a hotel. It was another experience you had in the mountains when you went as a boy of eleven.. it’s because I saw myself as a son of an upper middleclass family. this old man. And I compared myself with this fellow and I thought that such people must be taken care of. with a lot of money and a lot of education.. And I am voting left.. because it is so easy to be making fun of them and. I was voting left and left. turning towards the left in politics without being a socialist. Ahh! Yes. in United States and in Norway. Probably he was sixty. But what was the old man doing in the mountains? He was hired to shovel snow. you understand. Not as much science.for you!’ And then he sang moderately good. who was asking ‘No. very cold room. he was taking his violin. or ecosopher. But whether it’s private or not private. ecology. for me that word is the name of a science. When I often have told about this old man. no’. speaking about what I really admire. playing the violin. that I am politically active. This was alright. old porridge. made him go up there. So we must have a welfare society. never being a socialist. and ecosofia means. I went alone to the area of high mountains. And I am so much for personal initiative. But his rhythm. When you came to meet mountain people. We have thousands of volumes of very good scientific reports about the state of the planet. without being socialist. you see. without being socialist.. cold. tiny. What we eat was porridge. For me. You made the word ecosophy. But I saw this and that made me politically. this old man. in my political philosophy and social philosophy.. he was ninety years old. Because I make a tremendous difference between private initiative and personal initiative. leftist views. but with tremendous enthusiasm! That’s the kind of person I like. that is wisdom. all this.. There. you must have 32 . he was hired to shovel snow. in his life. which is a very important part of philosophy. they had so many meetings. Because. if they really get old and cannot do any shovelling anymore. And when I got up there. So the political philosophy. alright. poor peasant from neighbourhood. and make headway. I mean. as wisdom.. ha. et cetera. without being a politician. with a difficult rhythm of Chopin. is for me uninteresting. He didn’t complain at all. And when he. and play. of course I say. he went out shovelling all day again. I didn’t. You regard yourself as an ecosopher. you can stay with me in a shack. But there was an old man who was shovelling snow all day and he told me.. I have then a paradoxical situation.. when I was fourteen years. how did this experience develop your personal experience personal development. and then he said: ‘You have to do that also...’ And I tried.. [sound of stamping foot] And was doing this. But.. early morning. and his outlook . getting away this snow. ecosophy. with his feet. We must have a society that resemble that of the socialist. but he had this.. So we need sofia. a big. This kind of life. And then. make practical decisions from really good premises. A university may be fabulous. when it got dark.completely sovereign. being a state university. completely uninteresting.. but city people.. What is that? Well. Did he make a sad impression on you or.. no. to Jotunheimen.. that he was very joyful. no hut was open yet. And he didn’t like that. no. Against the wishes of my mother. a tiny. he had nothing to complain about.

yourself. what’s the meaning of what you do now? What’s the meaning of being here now. and man is completely superior to other living beings. what’s. or religion. And it is much more important now to teach eco. and that And you. It’s a total view that’s inspired in part by our situation of an ecological crisis. but as a total view which includes the relation towards the nature. you should use some of your time to find out about yourself. [clicks] important to stand up.. And I say: ‘It may be not! Maybe not. that everyone loves himself. anywhere. that you should work to some extent. that is to say: If there were no finite beings like us.’ It’s so 33 . Here. namely. in my term. It’s just that I again and again say: ‘As a human being. then you can change many more peoples’ behaviour and many institutions would be also saturated with ecosophy. And they ask: ‘What’s so good about him?’ And I say: ‘Spinoza may say nothing to you. that’s not a good answer. whereas Caesar’s wars in France. it is called completely immanent. so I have ecosophy T. and they say: ‘No. or find him obnoxious in certain ways.. in Gallia was completely uninteresting and. So ecosophies would then be personal point of view. you learn a little more about yourself. not so much eco-logy. and people think it’s T is for Tvergastein. and those who should be saying less and writing less.’ And so. That is to say: There is a core where you are full cause of your own action.. in having the possibility of being cause of own action. so I don’t find it strange that you do not even like him. ‘wisdom of the world’. what makes your life meaningful. et cetera. Good friends is one that really criticize you. on this planet. determinist.. And this causality is for him freedom. Is that what you would take to be Self-realizatiSelf-realization? Many have taken notice that I am inspired so much by the old philosopher Spinoza.. stand up and tell things. and I then started a new reading Spinoza in Latin. fully causing our action. And the God is defined through being completely in himself. but God is in us. and the study of him is very difficult. and belonging to a very different period and civilization than we are. is not only being wise in your relation to the planet. what are. so-called. I call it ecosophy T. ‘wisdom of. in itself. have developed ‘ecosophy T’. or herself. at any moment.ecosofia. It is inspired also by a philosophy like Spinoza has. that means. approach to life. I will try to find out. don’t. social views you have. which should always criticize you. there. ‘wisdom of household’. Spinoza wrote that reason demands. what is the most important thing for you in your life? And. And if we ask about his relation to ecology. no. he has certain very abstract notions but important to me. that every living being is not only in something else. I don’t think so. And God is then a limiting kind of notion of a being that would be in any situation. that means you must behave according to your ultimate value priorities. because I thought that was worthwhile. there would be no God. you could say: ‘Arne. but also in himself. in any time. that’s general covering your life. What are your. I think. So there you have all the grades of being in itself. But it is only inspired in part with the ecological crisis. But this God of him is contrary.’ But ecosophy.. I am glad you tell me about this.. But Spinoza means very much different things for me. then. and that you must try to verbalize to some extent in our present civilization. as eco-sophy. pfff! Cicero was very uninteresting. or another kind of philosophy. they write more than ever. So it’s no dogmatism. So it is not only that we are in God. through others. and you have a kind of life philosophy. that he strives to obtain all which really leads men to greater perfection.’ So that I say: ‘Alright. That answer Arne is not good enough for you say you have ecosophy T. So if you can get some million dollars less for ecology but for ecosophy. you are much greater than you think. covering political views you have.. There are situations where you are full cause of your decisions and your action. I make a point that you should do.’ And then I get probably some stupid answer. But for ecosophy T. And that made me not flunk. And many people who should stand up. So he is called. through friends. living in the seventeenth century and writing in Latin. but Spinoza was something. because I discovered him when I was having a lot of Latin in school.

And then he uses Nature with a capital ‘N’. which is knowledge of particular things. But we are part of nature naturans. and it’s not intellectual love but it is an understanding love. general like that. That’s the term. But that is for convenience. or status. And that is natura naturans. And that is also why he is considered impossible by people who say: ‘You must stop talking about foundations’. the ‘natured nature’. I like that. And then you have the natura naturata. many philosophers today. some extent. or are created. but that’s far out. Because if you have hundred sentences. And God and natura naturans. from particular thing to a particular thing. I’m a systematician. of course. which is not the realization of your ego. and then a lot of hypotheses. Believing. 34 . that there is a bottom. to develop Self-realization. always towards particular things. He has a verb intelligere. static. he is typical of a philosopher who tries to have a tight connectedness between your opinions. and does not imply that you have closed mind! You may have a completely open mind. But one that makes this systematically much more easy to handle. that is to say. nevertheless. He has a wonderful distinction between natura and naturata. for that reason. he has.. you are cause. you are on a higher level of freedom already. for him. as a personality. he calls amor intellectualis Dei. that is to say that everything is God. We humans are special favoured beings. in creating nature. and people then think this has to do with intellect. their compatibility with each other takes a lot of time to develop. What is your bottom? Well. So I have used. naturing. And he has also anticipated Freud to Does that tie into the idea that you have ask deeper questions about yourself? The particular thing about the deep ecology movement is that you go deeper in questions. And the highest kind of understanding is the understanding love of particular beings. And this presence participe of a verb. So you wouldn’t like to feel that you are not causing your actions. That kind of psychology is also very good. and then he has this relation of positivity towards beings. typically asking about which would be the ultimate things you believe in? So. with a maximum. creating nature. the highest kind of knowledge is what he calls an intuitive knowledge. That. So I like to have as few as possible sentences which are the basic ones. putting together. That’s Spinoza hundred percent. so to say. That loving is a kind of understanding and understanding is a kind of loving. and natura naturans. he is there also. he is. the ideal. saying that ‘You get better on the way to greater freedom. then. Spinoza talks as if he is a pantheism. but the larger self. one norm. not generality. Whereas you can start with one norm. System doesn’t mean another thing.makes people don’t like him at all. If you know your weaknesses. trying to get to the bottom of things. And there is bottom. is synthesis. the ideal maximum is a maximum of identification with every other being. He is typical of foundations. So. you have things. And he says: ‘There is a force of some kind of dynamics.. and through knowing your weaknesses. for him. He speaks about God or Nature. But intelligere has to do with understanding. Stop talking about foundations. naturare. I mean. and that is nature with an ordinary ‘n’. of your actions and decisions. with complete understanding of your weaknesses. Because. as they do. because the highest kind of understanding is always between. So this kind of freedom is a good kind of combination of scientific point of view. about who you are. I have the word Self-realization. towards ultimate questions. but if you are not insane. nature as something that is made already. So you have both in one. understanding and loving cannot be separated at all. but that does not imply dogmatism. which is for freedom.. and your total view. Deus sive Natura. So. the Latin is intelligere. And then he asks. is then for him synonyms. Well. as in science. God as creative nature. So you also get rid of this scientific point of view. you are already on the step upwards towards greater freedom.. He has a verb for nature naturing. Systema in Greek. And that’s very good. through knowing yourself.

that you are preoccupied with the ego. that’s stupid. Only that you say: ‘No. outside the window. And you find philosophers all through the centuries talking about something like Self-realization. that’s the highest they can do in life is the ego-trip. I would take it and somehow do something to get it into warmer weather. how does biodiversity Self-realization fit in there? SelfThat different beings have different Selfrealization. and you are permitted to manipulate words as a philosopher. get’s realized through the Self-realizations of the living beings. but it must. I talk about the self with the ordinary ‘s’. if it is possible. and the cosmos. this Self-realization. you see. and the self with the capital ‘S’. to some extent.realization. I can use. We cannot do that. in my terminology. the loss of diversity. So it is in the middle of great traditions. And also because. So. use Spinoza in my kind of total views.. So it all adds up to the Self-realizations of life on this planet. be a spontaneous understanding. To see. not to diminish the realization potentials of other beings. Gandhi talks about Self-realization. you see. But if you see the ecological crisis. egoistic. but then you can always say that ‘By self. But how can you do something about the ecological crisis by Self-realization? SelfSpecific of human beings is the capacity of identifying yourself with nature. Human being Spinoza didn’t have much regard for animals. in Spinoza. He said it was womanish. means realizing the possibilities. is that one source for intuitive knowledge? that Exactly. butterflies depends on the high temperature. Then they say: ‘Oh. and in this intuitive understanding. and I don’t know how many other planets there are. you talk about ego. bang like this. The cult of your ego. the kind of thinking. as a human being. insects. I mean so-andso. So. So if there is a butterfly here. And the whole may be said to be more than the individuals. This is of no importance to me. ‘This is part of myself’: the Sami. But there. And you talked about spontaneous experiences. And feminism gets in. they have potentials of Self-realization. other. biodiversity for instance. it is Selfrealization of this totality which is augmented. not to coerce. And he said many things like that. Intuitive knowledge would be intuitive understanding of some particular other being. but also individuals are more than the whole. as part of yourself. Western and Eastern. as a man of his age. because: without individuals. is that not Self. a mountain even. which is so splendid. understanding is realized in a bang. it’s probably dying because of the coldness brought up by the wind. Selfrealization of their selves. Marx talks about Self-realization. your special kinds of wishes and desires. the more you have of particular beings.’ So the ego-trip. and not so-and-so. as we know it. as a human being. And it is depending on temperature. I propose to use this so-andso. egoistic. nobody can say much against him. or a river. But it is a term most people have used or know about. Without any spontaneous understanding.’ So I am much in favour of definitions. I can suit. you realize. and so on. The self-potential of the 35 . no whole. as part of yourself. it must be a component of spontaneity. But it doesn’t mean that I must have the same opinion as a human being as Spinoza. not to be willing to kill animals.’ Corresponding to Nature with a capital ‘N’. I manipulate words. and not with the ecological crisis? ecological No. and so on. I try to define my words. it would be an abstraction. So the basic term is really: Self-realization potential. So. So that this Self-realization means. because males cannot decide which are the Self-realization potentials of women! The women must themselves find out which are their Self-realization potentials. which is by some people thinking they are. So in many ways. fundamentally. this term can be used in ten different ways. And in this way. Of course you can also analyze relations of a very more or less difficult kind. And the same we see in nature beings. and abstract kinds. I am inspired by the kind of thinking.. spontaneously.If you talk about Self-realization.

. he had so good time in Nederland. those who saw in him a devil. And it’s not going to the bottom. according to him he was very much impressed with mathematics and chemistry. but you have Spinoza. but no enemy was able to point out that he was immoral in his life.. to do with his. dealing with other people. yes.Why is that? [sigh] His life. He was very impressed with chemistry of his time. you must use your rationality. so you have enough. rationality.’ He is regarded as a rationalist. and that was.’ Rationality. I think it is important that we today call something rationalization of. this. then you need no more philosophers. if you don’t give up that rationality. there is no hope that you can understand that you are the chosen race. And his relations with friends. That rationality is an instrument to gain in freedom and to gain. Such a humble fellow. how his feeling of intuition. but always in the service. And so on and so on. rationality. the more important you have people like Gandhi.’ We don’t have mountains! don’ No. who was very rational in his ways. and Germany is so-and-so-andso. you see. And he felt that. we have Spinoza!’ ‘Ah. no. having had. Because it is rational within a very limited context of economic life. But he is undermining Christianity. yes. was a terrible thing for a Jew to be expelled from the community. with other people and his friendships he had. classified as a great rationalist. of social and political well-being. probably. alright’. or pseudorationalization from the point of view of Spinoza. ‘alright. as somebody devilish. with this enormous view of Spinoza. Why did Spinoza argue that intuitive knowledge is the superior knowledge? knowledge? That has. But you see what he is saying: that in order to gain in freedom. the more difficult a situation is politically and socially. you have Spinoza. he is undermining everything. of making rationality a kind of top faculty of human beings. But it couldn’t compare with the understanding of the intuitive kind. having helped Spinoza in his life and his many years. in the conflicts. So. the term rationalization et cetera have nothing to do with Spinoza.. No Jew should ever. With a mountain view. for a long. you see! He had terrible enemies. It’s interesting that Spinoza. no! Talking about rationality. just like Descartes. Not with rationalists. never equalizing. Yes. rationality.. to the foundation of well-being. and believed in rationality. next to a thousand years. somehow there he realized this intuitive kind of understanding... especially in economic life. He had terrible enemies and he had very good friends. in the sense that it’s not a top thing in humans. [clicks] If we get back to intuition. it’s an absolutely necessary instrument for gaining freedom and reaching understanding of the intuitive kind. they say: ‘How can Naess be a Spinozist?’ Whereas Spinoza was working. they also say: ‘Well. and not in the context of total human life. It’s just a blind alley! He was expelled from the church? church? He was expelled. yes. uses a term: intuition. they say. however brilliant the sciences were. As Hitler says: ‘We must give up this rationality of the Germans. today. yes.. the. Ha-ha.. more or less.. Fascism and National-Socialism. But he had a good time in Nederland! [smiles] And I think. as a human being. No mountains. yes. and is.. Never. in the service of higher goals. And that’s good for me.. long time. ruining Christian faith. with such behaviour of modesty and wisdom… So. yet intuition is more like. And to have an outstanding philosopher like Spinoza in your culture. the more important. But intuition 36 . and artists. rational thinking is also necessary to gain such kind of freedom that makes place for understanding of the intuitive kind. and that way we complete irrationalization. If you knocked on the door: no! They should isolate him completely. So this rationality was completely pragmatic. usually it is being associated with poets. that’s right.. not all his life. yes. You can say: ‘Well we have.

37 . they see it in the same way. who took their child with them. and so on. You have an understanding that it is not founded on argumentation itself. couldn’t know what that could You talked about maturity of behaving. knowledge of the second kind. Beyond rationality. Can you give an example of coming to such a basic intuition? Well. feel intuitive understanding of another living being. and. But it’s not a knowledge. You have no science of that culture. that is to say: certain principles that’s in fairly general and in common in the deep ecology movement.. which can be quite different like Christian or Buddhist. And then. and these attitudes have intuitive. not like a monk. the Indian community. not on the level of science at all. you see. And it is an understanding. white people. it’s. so many different philosophers. Yes! According to deep ecology movement. And that helped. of course. knowledge. You have no speech or actions that could be convey anything. you have.. on the basis of which. Maybe you can tell a bit how people from intuitive understanding come to ultimate premises. you see. The connection of the child couldn’t be. to connect. Because you need rationality all the time. They get together and they could meet somewhere in free nature.there does only mean that you don’t have still deeper level of argumentation. they couldn’t be enemies. So there is a movement in spite. but it doesn’t mean that it is absolutely true or absolutely unfounded. but not against rationality. So you start somewhere. as they did hundred years ago. but the foundation is not within an argumentation. and maturity of behaving. huh! So. And they would have the same attitude. They see. And they said that they kill you. Intuition was so important. and we all know what we call immature behaviours and with the liberal kind of democracy. one movement in spite of. Training oneself is taking care of intuitions. You have to start somewhere! It was Aristotle already saying: ‘You cannot prove everything. You don’t know anything what it means. [laughs] And they then said: ‘We’ll have a child with us. bringing up boys. because it’s not a knowledge they have in common.. of course. And smiling. [clicks] mean: coming smiling. and still act in similar ways to face the ecological crisis. a tremendously different culture. it is easy to get examples of what. because that may mean hostility. and there it was between particular beings. So in ecosophy you need knowledge. logically. And in Spinoza’s term. You have nothing. there are so many different religions. the first people trying to connect with them. what is behaving. approaching them. But it is intuitive in the sense that it is not part of the argumentation. And that culture didn’t know anything. in a situation. And I am glad to say that so many different basic ultimate valuations are compatible with the deep ecology movement. on the basis of which you can come to what I call the eight points. in Brazil or somewhere. what we would call intuitive. there is wide possibilities for acting out any kind of impulse. that? Well. It has to be with training also. beyond rationality. in family life. You have to go beyond argumentation. let’s say you are outside your own country and you are trying to approach Indians. it’s spontaneous experience and also an understanding. you see. on understanding itself. They would bend down. They see the same.’ And we cannot prove everything. somehow. But we need both. [sigh] It is starting point. some are from Islam. Because you got no argumentation.. and some are atheists. but probably will bend down. but to start with is what we call intuitive kind of understanding. as we have. what you hold. that moment it’s a spontaneous experience. basic features. And they were able. So it is inter-cultural. they derived a kind of intuitive understanding of this person coming. Today we need. and what should we call it then? Intuition is a quite good word. And so. other are Jewish. To take care of your intuitions and to trust your intuitions. plus knowledge of ecology. Because it has to do with maturity of thinking. They kill white people. they don’t know whether you should stretch out your arm.’ And so they approach the Indian with a child. The first kind is just superficial. When you. There are attitudes. you have teenagers.

More closed society. and there are very touching histories of autistic children being lead into kind of connection with others. you are alienated from your culture. that you take care of yourself. And it is increasing. The life conditions are decreasing in quality. that will also be a lot of violence. from year 2005! It’s amusing that businessmen. they may not take away their arm. at all. One can say in general that it is a decrease in life quality of the planet. stopping deforestation. taking care. not linearly. but like a curve that is steeper and steeper. it affects the humanity in a very serious way. they could change the direction from increasing unsustainability to decreasing unsustainability. that is 149 thousand million dollars. But some have. in this way. 38 . as some people are unable. So we must estimate and say 200 thousand million. And that has to do with increasing work. the financial life today is such that billions of dollars are just fleeting around. 15. when you are 13. Can you also say that alienation is the opposite? Alienation is very good. And in a great conference with people from all great cultures. are unclear about the crisis. But for every year it costs much more. or 250 thousand million dollars a year. The autistic children. of course. but take care of others too. So. So. and there is no reason to say: ‘It’s too late. and from that year on. develop a self. I think. if you would say something about the urgency of the ecological crisis today. And then. what it consist of. of certain children. I mean. Autistic. 14. globally. I think. has to do with the term alienation. normal people. confronted with this numbers. as we have in our industrial rich cultures?’ And somebody said: ‘No. So in 1988. when the Washington-based institution Worldwatch tried to estimate the cost in dollars . top-businessmen say: ‘Oh. et cetera. I think.this is a strange way of measuring what’s necessary. it would be important. they ask: ‘Do all cultures have a lot of alienation. that’s not a fantastic big amount of money.they said that for 149 billion dollars. can be given a quite good psychological and sociological meaning. the possibilities are greater than in a more closed society. And it certainly is a very small percent of the total military budget. we never had. in Latin in alio. in order to overcome the crisis. to get stabilized in a sustainable ecological world order. because then you have kind of ego. before I forget it. towards others. what’s the opposite of Self-realization. and nothing seriously is being done.And as long as you are very immature. the term maturity. The estimation was done in 1988 and now we have 1995. There is a difference between the urgency of getting global justice. also. So it doesn’t make a great impact.’ or something. So the zero Self-realization would be exemplified by certain children development. violent impulses. they will say: what would be the zero Selfrealization? The zero Self-realization would be where you have.’ And of course. but also seeing that you are not hurt yourself. So if they get burned.’ And. we have a difficulty there. which are staggering for us. certainly. seeing how they develop. So. the possibilities of alienation in our civilization today. so much. Because. of course. and in your self. what you are alienated from others. on a stove for instance. it’s feasible. no. ‘No we never have that in our culture. but at least it is one way . What is the opposite of Self-realization? SelfIf we ask. So. you can define maturity. we are practically helpless in helping them. But it would be ten years before one could use that amount of money in a rational way. and the urgency of doing something really serious about the ecological crisis. for instance. Some. there is an ethics of self. they do not even have a self. So: in alio. and increasing money you would have to spend. So that would be 1998. when we talk about Gandhi. Alienation is very good as an opposite of what Spinoza called: being in itself. And of course.’ I don’t remember which culture. social justice. and the urgency of ecological getting involved in the deep ecology movement. not been able to. Arne. 16 years old. If you are alien towards yourself. So you have a direct connection between the term alienation and Spinoza. one could spend in a rational way 149 thousand million dollars for stopping erosion.

we are dependent on bacteria.if ever. To see that we have. saying that this concern about philosophy and religion or the ultimate question is. are many very important types of what. we are dependent on every. I was studying just down here. every species. We don’t know which species are of no consequence for us. It was an Can you give examples of non-human beings nonthat are affected by the ecological crisis? Well... So there are conferences all the time now about what’s happening in the sea. So. of course. So one has to take the ecological crisis very seriously. in a hut of my mother. and so on.. My conclusion was that there would be more happiness in India if the British continued.. The rich can always disappear from very polluted area. for instance. they would say: ‘For me. ten years. affects again. And I immediately contacted the Indian students. can always get clean water and water enough. will affect human lives. the last ten or twenty years. But the poor cannot do that. the nonhuman beings. for me.. So. and to look in a time reference not of five years. who are concerned about the life of the non-human beings. or this is not important. And it will never be taken too seriously. on the stones. problem for the poor. that’s important. we have changed the policy of fisheries. But one cannot first make people rich . the Sámi population some of it . which we do not dream of.. the organism fleeting around. Fellow-humans [so as that goes on?]. So. and there Indian students came. at Ustaoset. And the nonhuman life quality decreasing. never for the rich. So since the seventeenth century. big civilization and continent like India. it is a question of the next century as a whole [clicks]. that’s either nonsense. the better.’ And without reindeer. which again [coughs]. but hundred years. Can you also explain why there is a crisis in the life conditions of non-human beings? conditions This crisis. They cannot stand the level of pollution we can stand. including those who fish. of course. always.. not moving much for themselves. when I was writing in my master art. but it is intolerable. affect the life conditions of the commercially extremely important fish. So you see the interconnectedness we have. or will be reduced. that are not commercial. affects non-human lives. has always been a question. north of Norway and Soviet Union. but with the total ecosystem of the Barents Sea. of plants.. so for instance. the more seriously you take the non-living. So. it affects the poor more than the rich. I would like to come to Gandhi. being very careful. and that means that we all who have this formal education. the tiny. are.. So ecology.. my definition. And those fish depend on the plankton. that’s much greater than usually understood. my master manuscript. tiny creatures living darkly under the stone. and so on. specially. practically every kind of. that are. that will go extinct. Could you tell how and when you first came across Gandhi and his work? I think that in 1931. The fisheries are dependent on certain fish. It’s good that we have more people now than before. A small hotel at that time. because it’s so natural for us to have fellow-humans in our mind. we should be activists. everybody are thinking about. that reindeer will get less to eat. you touch the life conditions of this non-commercial fish.. so that you can make them an indicator of the level of pollution. and access to all the data. 39 .. Can you maybe say a bit more about that. The close interaction.And.. which all. we need to educate people. and so on. and we had enormous discussions about the future of India. And if you touch the life condition of the plankton. if you take the fisheries which they have played a great role in northern Norway. the human life. this interconnectedness of species? Well. so obviously. it’s quite interesting that the non-human beings here. has to do with the interaction of organisms on this planet. this is not question of today. pollution for instance in London. and so on. because of the dignity of an old. and in the neighbourhood there was a hotel. whether supporting the deep ecology movement or being more practical. not only with certain fish. And there.. What is important is to go on with the practical problems. as always.gets into trouble. they are affected very heavily.

the superior way of communication and the nonviolent strategy is. both ethically and effectively. his bravery and his violent background made him much braver in conflicts between Hindus and Muslims. they would question: ‘Where are such-and-such people?’ So the Gandhian way of communication is then. Gandhi thought that if you are on the side of justice in a really convincing. not the surroundings. during the war. But I. You do not attack persons. explain why it was correct for them to kill him. we had a lot of discussions about Gandhi. And then to say: ‘They are better than those who didn’t kill me. at all. That is how to go. So. And of course. So. not India. Because in intense conflicts.. the British and this Pathans. in 1945. under British rule. and it is special. attack the persons. you have to kill somebody. So. He had to be hit many times before he sank down. and Hindus and Sikhs. and we tried to find out where they had. Gandhi then met one of the superior people in. it was a marvellous thing. the best strategy. who are educated in a very violent way.’ So from that time on. you will be hit on the head. delicious family conflicts.. They did. among the Pathan. and you may be shot when you went to toilet. they got tea to drink and anything.. and according to Gandhi. one must seek the centre of the conflict. they are so happy with going around with a gun! Even you go to the toilet outside your farm. neighbourhood Afghanistan. or being pff! That’s nothing.. when he woke up in the hospital. when you are conscious in a hospital.’ And this bravery. And I have then written books about that. they got rid of the body so that there would be no indication what had happened. And when he was convinced by Gandhi. and I later elaborated into six points of ethical rules for discussion. there was certainly in Gandhi a great enthusiasm for people who. And there. his name is Abdul Gafr Kahn. if you torture somebody to death. their attitudes. so solving conflicts. some day. And then. He has seven foot high. or your house. because.. So. And from that also very probable that if you stand up in a conflict. you will get into prison. And never. or even half-way free people. When he was nearly killed by some people who viewed him as a traitor.. To make this clear. at that time I started. who ought also to have killed me! They were the only ones who really tried to kill me. And Gandhi was so fond of this man.. and see the points of your opponent and then go against what you must go against and nothing else. If 40 .. it is not only ethically.undignified situation and suddenly the students felt the. And they saw the possibility that Hitler would not win. and they couldn’t be slaves under. I found marvellous. I started reading about Gandhi and his campaigns in South-Africa. what is effective is to keep completely cool about. who are brave and honest. of course. you see! And the British liked that. and Sikhs and Muslims and all this terrible internal conflict in India. consistent way.’ hmmm! ‘Who should have done it. Eh. the untenable. because there were always nice. because of so-and-so. absolutely consistent distinction between a person and the views of that person. plus his way of explaining the viewpoint of the opponent who tried to kill him. I played that to the torturers. He started there and what made the most impression was his way of communication. physical pain. primarily because of his way of communication. of course. very good friends in either eating together or killing each other. in the long run. eh. Because. you attack their opinions. according to their religion. and had tremendous physique. and this notion of bravery. with the same religion. or maybe even earlier. and you were eating together. it made a special impression that certain Pathans. I had to do with finding the bodies of people who were tortured to death. is nothing.. and used to violence. Pain. they go sometimes with a weapon. one of the first things he was saying. then. Where they had little war. simply delicious. was: ‘Don’t persecute these two people who are trying to kill me. So Gandhi played a role. the police could hit him over the head and he would stand up.. what they have done and where the dead bodies were. to explain. and didn’t care about being hit. And Gandhi said: ‘Those two were braver than other. to have your emotions under control. I mean but the same style: you’re killing a nice way. if he in a way tramples on the values of that culture.’ And they had their serious conclusion that what Gandhi was doing was against the cultural values of their religion. his way of feeling identity with the opposition. it is rules for effective discussion. you will be killed. I think. So I was then communicating with the torturers.

that’s to say: you partake in the war. because I had been in the Resistance movement. we had to see what their standpoint was and so many thousands of Norwegians were convinced that Hitler would win. but doing it. if Hitler started the war. if Hitler won. practically nothing were done. not to help them do that and use you resistance it is only by luck that you don’t loose your life or your health. more or less directly. So I couldn’t. looking at it. they didn’t think that way in general. rather depressed. but a Gandhian has to go into the canter of conflict. then not many people knew what could be done. more depressed than during the war. with the war you say: ‘Nothing can be done before the war is over’. the children were treated very badly. the Gandhian way would be to participate. They were active on the Resistance. for both categories. and if they found a weapon or found documents and so on. if they were caught.. was dependent on that Hitler could rely that Norwegians would not fight the Germans. and-so-on. but without weapons. So. they should be. Norway was invaded. refrain from sabotage and all these things. now we shall just see how we shall treat those who were on the wrong side. not that. if the Gestapo knew that we knew something.. in other countries. the Gandhians and non-Gandhians had excellent partnership within the war.’ So in this way. from a Gandhian point of view. especially in 1945. But. they knew that we knew something and then they thought that torture is justifiable. then the question was: ‘What we do. Those who had been on the wrong side. I was then on the so-called silk front. the people who were. I could be without anybody attacking me. we should have more pain. they were acting in according to what I would call justice. as I have said many times. and was occupied by the Nazis for five years. One shouldn’t only think of weapons. the Nazis. [clicks] You also tried to get the torturers and the families of the people who were tortured together.. If. putting them into prison and-so-on. but not really National Socialist either. [clicks] You said once. in the Resistance during the war. so they killed many of the people who had been ‘on the wrong side’. When the war stopped. That. militarily. the Quislings. then. of course. and they knew that I was not in any way helping the occupation. and then they didn’t leave their political organization which was not democratic. the children of those who had been on the wrong side. non-violent action was not considered important. There were so many black points in the history of Norway. and then bang. Gandhi was important figure. they would be tortured. and those fighting with weapons. this way. So Gandhi would then say: ‘Of course.. in the sense that you.. So. in Norway. And also. not be punished. And the children. like France and Hungary and all over. So they were continuing being in that organization. I felt that of course. there was absolutely no friction between people who would fight non-violent without weapons. 1945-1950. and some of my friends were exactly the same way. supporting the occupation?’ First of all. And when. The the years before the Second World War. that you felt that the period after the war was worse than it was during the war... contribute to the pain of this people who were on the wrong side. for both it was this problem that within half an hour. it was clear that one should not only try to resist. because they thought that Norwegian independence after the war. That they couldn’t say: ‘Now the war is over. So. But. So. was war. not even 41 . ‘Silken hands’ in the treatment of those who were on the wrong side in Norway. if he were to occupy Norway. those who fought with weapons and those who didn’t. as you say. I could stand up for a treatment that was according to Gandhian principles. at that time.. and not according to anything: ‘They should have pain. it was the best for Norway to. that was over. with the Quislings. But at least not.. I think it is very different from a pacifist attitude. not to fight against the occupying forces. had not the permission to enter the university. I was. but one has to also think about the way one could resist Hitler. with Hitler being crushed. but many were prisoners. without any weapons. according to Gandhi. it took some time before I really went into the Resistance movement. We should contribution. Because. and-so-on. very few were killed. in April 1940. after a while. at school etc. So..

well. That’s against the Gandhian rule. because I had nothing to do with that document.. kept outside. I didn’t know about it. of course. as. they started smiling then. in the drawer.’ And then I thought: ‘Ah! I should like to talk more about this.’ And you see. sabotage against the Germans. Because they didn’t give those information to us. You see. the officer opened the drawer and I was not kept away. because that was brave of him. after the interrogation. together. before 1945. doesn’t mean that you should treat this. against their homeland. if he hadn’t been against the occupation. So he was against the Nazis. This that you should always treat others as persons in a correct way. and closed it. So. where I was sitting in the house. some of the Quislings in a seminar at the university. you see. the moral indignation was tremendous against Quisling. Two ordinary Gestapo people. he put this document back. And some of them were very good at it. But the Gestapo couldn’t be sure that I didn’t know something. and he completely. but there was one little episode in the war that you really got angry. I must have a book with me. So I went into Gestapo. getting them together. Yesterday you said something: that you are angry very little in your life. clearly. was not doing what Gestapo asked him to do. ah! And-so-on. alone in the house of family members. You always see in other people a possible friend. I was glad. The situation was such that it was better not to talk to them. I remember. what is happening now?’ And then I was arrested and I got into interrogation. That we should keep off. He admitted me to be with him. a couple of hours. he was in the sense a friend. We said to the Norwegian people: Don’t talk with the Quislings. an enemy. And I decided: he understood what it was. I remember very well. take a book with you. He knew about concentration camps. how it made a big impression on me. ‘From where you come?’ And he said: ‘Sleeswijk Holstein. you never treat anybody as an enemy.. into the drawer.around the university. from prison probably. So I found it necessary to get some of the prisoners.’ And then.’ ‘May I ask’. this man who is part of Gestapo. who. I said. he said: ‘You may go. too. Ah!’ But I didn’t. so they had done something to me. against the rules of the university. around searching. or conceive this. And I had to decide very quickly whether he understood what it was or not. Looking angry. and that is very brave of him: ‘Everybody in the police had to go into the Gestapo. andso-on. a very small. And then. as.’ And one couldn’t doubt that he didn’t know. I thought: ‘My god. Finding this document. I am glad to say that I was saved once. So I left. the house was invaded by Gestapo. And it couldn’t be worse. Of course. understood Norwegian. and said to me: ‘What’s this?’ And it was how to do sabotage in industrial buildings. ftttt!: torture immediately! When somebody found that. who were on the wrong side! That was considered dangerous. Suddenly. So you see: If somebody is a Gestapo. We had not to talk. I would have been put into prison! I was innocent of that. because they thought there were some Resistance people there. Of course we couldn’t give any information to you. At the seminar we had Resistance people and those who were traitors. Point. And they searched all over the house. but he didn’t know about the ‘final solution’ of the Jewish problem or anything like that. And he grabbed into the drawer and say. And he said: ‘Haah. it’s something that shouldn’t be in a drawer!’ And then. but a Gestapo man. [clicks] 42 .’ Because then they were saying things which were dangerous probably and we should keep off. So I didn’t know. you see. he said: ‘But I did not get those pamphlets and those periodicals the Resistance movement were distributing. border of Denmark. I didn’t see him as a possible friend. According to Gandhi. three Gestapo. I asked: ‘May I take a book with me. during the interrogation. The pointing weapons of course. as a professor. we remember we didn’t give it to you. but actually. one of the Quislings. and then an officer in Gestapo. They were out.’ And he said: ‘Alright. The title of the seminar was: ‘Moral indignation during the war. and Gestapo is killing people. and never judge anybody because of affiliation to an organization. so-called traitors. nice little man. That would. ‘Well.’ And then he added. by a Gestapo man. But when for instance Resistance men would say: ‘You should have known about the concentration camps and the killing of the Jews!’ And then. or they would go into prison. A man in the Gestapo. well.

Buddhism has something they call An atma wada. how altruistic how you give up things in order to help others!’ He would say: ‘No. Only that most people underrate themselves. When he was caught. This is a kind of mysticism then. how altruistic you are. The Hindu concept of Atman. And then they act according to. like a drop in the ocean. So. and serves your personal human self to treat others as similar beings as yourself. That it serves their self to be nonviolent. Spinoza can also be interpreted that way. the individual. for me the kind of interpretation I have.’ Atman.’ And this Self then. and to reform Hinduism. can you talk about Gandhi’s concept of Gandhi’ ‘Advaita’. and Hinduism. taken into prison. Which is not a good translation. You only have guesses. Arne. or short. the doctrines against Atman. The individual consciousness: what is right or wrong is up to the individual. by mysticism one need not mean a kind of complete unity. Selfrealization was of course a very positive word for Gandhi. everything that. As you know. and not that. because the individual for Gandhi has such a supreme status. but I am realizing myself. a little different between Hinduism and Buddhism. very close connection. I would then spell with a capital ‘S’. in the sense that you shouldn’t be so arrogant to think that you can really understand deeply what this other people have meant. he thought he would be Christian. he decided: ‘Alright. the best is to be non-violent. non-duality? The sense of unity of Advaita’ nonman and matter and all that lives. one of the most honoured texts they have in Hinduism. I do it for myself. if everybody should live according to his or her individual consciousness?’ And Gandhi just said: ‘No. he was not permitted into the Christian church in South Africa. basically. And if somebody says: ‘No. And he says: They’re capable of seeing that to their own self. Are there similarities to you between Spinoza’s Spinoza’ concept of Self-realization and that of Gandhi? SelfSpeaking about Gandhi. But guesses are extremely important for you.I like to go back to Gandhi and his notion of Self-realization. But they are then against the transcendent Self. and his treatment. Spinoza changed his views all his life! And the same with Gandhi. people are capable of seeing what is just and not just. SelfAtman. There it’s 43 . they underrate their being as human beings. no. no. But then. the most honoured. that you have to have a free attitude towards the texts. that is to say. One reason why you shouldn’t think like that is: they were all living beings with a development. better try to keep Hinduism. And then. the status of the individual is so high. the judge would say: ‘But wouldn’t that lead to anarchism. a Self that is apart from us. And by chance. is conventionally translated by ‘soul’. that there is a close relation between Spinoza and Gandhi. And when people said to Gandhi: ‘How marvellous. is such. and Gestapo.’ So. because Buddhism is just a reformed Hinduism. Gita. I am not selfish. They don’t see how great they are. He has not at all this feeling of being a drop in a ocean. but mysticism that is very special. maybe I should talk about the relation of this Gandhi and the philosophy. and not a Self with a capital ‘S’. You should just be arrogant. in my terminology. according to the notion that they have an ego that sits.’ And here I am in accordance with the way we have in philosophy. but at the same time.’ But when I’m talking about these things. no! I realize myself. as a kind of Self existence. and Spinoza. They just closed the door. not at all. and Buddhism. and not. you have of course the concept of Oneness of everything. in my philosophy. unity. the individual beings have high status. And that is also against what Gandhi thinks. So that’s out. humans as drop. So you see yourself in the other human being. And there. That’s to say: When I do things. Gandhi thought that. are so high. And I never have been altruistic. not question of disappearing in a unity. no. So. our present culture. because the status of the drop. finding so many terrible things within Hinduism. Yeah. Gandhi was interested in philosophy and he made a translation of Bhagavad-Gita. So he sometimes has said: ‘I am also a Buddhist. and should be important for our culture. it’s important for me. the Self. saying: exactly this Gandhi was thinking. There is a unity. there is a difference also.’ ‘OK! That is your interpretation. is alive.

But. When you get into too abstruse. not very much but at least he was against. And then. Meditating in the forest.’ And that means. of course. and help others.’ Can you maybe say more about the widening of the Self? What I find. by being there. but not enough for everybody’s desires. Himalaya forests to train themselves to live in certain ways and not hurting any animals. In my ecosophy T. Like Buddha himself. That’s a width of the broadness of your thinking. for instance. saying: ‘Truth is God. Just cut it out. I’m orthodox Hindu. They have now to help the village people. And he also was very much against fasting too much. So this is a deepening. not transcendent. Only that so-and-so is enough for me. cut out. in society and so on. I like that’ and then he was eating vegetarian of course. like Buddhists. no. Well. He was not. Moksha is supreme liberation. they could influence the war.’ Then he went even further. then. of course. And the depth: in the church you go deep. And desires. You have kind of feeling of the whole of your life. But you should have a depth always. He himself said: ‘There is enough on this planet for everybody’s needs. Gandhi looked down upon the so-called soKarma-Yogi’s. of course. and whatever. meaning honesty and certain other things. in any way. to his death.tosays. now it is vacation. hmmm. that when it gets to be a little far out. and the whole of the rest of life. he would cut that out. et cetera. Widening in the sense that you see. used his words for God constantly. the metaphysical views rather far out. you You once said. who would laugh and smile a lot. is the existence of a possible process of widening and deepening yourself. as an ideal. in the sense that they stayed up Karma-Yogi’ in the Himalayas and never went down. Gandhi. So the further you are. But rather soon. Hermeneutics. So that seemed to be very unorthodox. now it is that. ‘Enough is enough. or whatever you do. that is not cut out: Now it is work. the more impossible it would be to come anywhere further. as he says. the purists who would then stay in the woods. you have the deepening of the Self.. they went back into the village. he would stop. a little. in common. cutting out speculations about metaphysics and Atman and all this. And he remained. For him. 44 . completely immanent God. being alone. you identify with more than your own family. the more important it will be for gaining still more Self-realization. You. your own nation. they could influence somehow. So that a meal. and thinking. the aim to see God face-to-face. Now it is this. The two have. He says: ‘I’m for a delicious meal. After many years. once a week you go to church or something. you do it as in what we call an integrated person. God was immanent. Not every.’ And there he is also quite modern in the sense that this is ecologically important thing to feel when enough is enough. But that the church is there all the time. You have to be in the community. And that is also an ecological main slogan. he started saying: ‘God is Truth’. He was very practical man in the sense. too dark and difficult theoretical problems. your own tribe. you are playing something. Enough is enough. in the sense that you have in your mind this constant kind of attitude that what you do is part of your Self-realization. ‘Self-realization is dependent on Selfthe Self-realization of others too. It’s like the Buddhists who went into the Himalaya. He was not very much interested in Nirvana and such notions. then. They couldn’t do anything more with themselves. So he was very much against. a very practical fellow. you get even outside the area of human beings. But it’s a whole you have. the philosophy of interpretation. including Self-realization nonhuman beings. But he insisted: ‘No. according to what you try to do. it doesn’t mean to get to be a fanatic. So he has nothing against material goods you have in life. That integration is integrated in your life. Widening and deepening. as he Moksha’ face. the first hypothesis g is: ‘The further you are able to go in your Selfrealization. to help the Self-realizations of others.called hermeneutics. Can you tell about Gandhi’s pursuit of Gandhi’ ‘Moksha’. And even. desires are infinite..

some of whom are very much more powerful. And the Hindus there of course obeyed the rules. And they milk. in his speeches he would quote the Koran. is exactly what we are saying today. as being completely on par with any kind of king or some. But many sophisticated people. the top people in the classes you had in India. that’s stupid. that you act not as a selffunctionary but as an autonomous. But in the morning. walk like this [makes gesture]. let the Ashram’ . But what you then try to do. responsible person. And what’s special of course about humans is that when you. And he was looking at scorpions and snakes as friends. there’s a doctor thesis on his relation to environmentalism. Then you are seeking God. that he thought that brave. They should stand up. you cannot really fight for justice. you are just on par with the top Brahmans.. weak people in India. milking. that you need bravery.. religious centre. You must. When trampled on. Yes. Can you maybe tell a bit about Gandhi’s Gandhi’ concern for the Self-realization of the Self-realization nonhuman beings in his Ashram? Like for instance the snakes. of course. So. how. So we had eh. Yes. So much interested in free nature! He went out. He looked shouldn’ down upon cowardice. in many ways. selfWell. in what we call today public relations. brave person is. except in this seeking.’ So he had a rule: no medicine against snakes bites and so on. Because. they had a secret medicine. followers of Gandhi. getting the last drop of milk of the cows. just like the present head of the Buddhists. For Gandhi self-respect is also very important. very many unsophisticated people would ask: ‘Why do you have the goat?’ And he would say it. more than eighty volumes of the complete works and sayings of Gandhi. as a demonstration against the Hindu brutality. you were barefoot. religious centre they had ‘let the doors be open. the goat is a being on par with humans. if you are careful. And when you walk over the floor. The obligations of us for humans are more than the goat. if you are without class. as I have said already.the centre of. standing up. look into your slippers and see: there may be a scorpion there. they didn’t believe quite that those scorpions would find it alright. do you harm. This is of course. brutality. The self-respect. So let the doors be open. to use your selfrespect in a way that made you brave. You cannot fight for your own self. they bite. he would quote the Bible freely. braveness.. You need to be brave and without brave. Because there will be a scorpion or a snake or something and they don’t understand. how he started as a young man. and there is no God. He was good in the public relations. And this is a public relations problem. And one shouldn’t be a coward. And he said: ‘They will not do anything. then..are seeking truth and truthfulness. He would also take his own goat everywhere he went. No medicine.. And it is astonishing how. So that I also find a very good thing with Gandhi that he’s not interested intimately in niceties of texts. of course. and the same time he was quoting the Hindu scripts. being brave. some of which. as they. and they would understand. behave well towards the goat. he tried to make conditions better for the down-trodden. And he quotes. they have relations with other humans. And he demonstrated by having always a goat with him. but at least you should behave. So he was then far out from the point of view of the masters of Hinduism. he was terribly annoyed with the brutality of 45 . where. fully autonomous. And he also said that perhaps the reason that the rivers are being more violent is maybe because of the deforestation. You had nothing on your feet. in general. So he was very good at it. if you are among the [Pariyans?]. And the author has gone through the eighty. but the power relation has nothing to do with your dignity and your self-respect. But some of the Christians. and got to get out of the village. a doctor thesis.. they would say: this is meaningless and pfff.

And if there is melancholy. you also tend to trust others very. I think they would say that. more than believe in abstract statements. well. So joy. and. this is eh. at least as I find it.. and-so-on. [coughs] has inherent value. And that’s Gandhian. between deep ecology principles and the Gandhian. He made a pare of slippers for general Schmutz. but it takes very much self-discipline and self-reliance to. some people say: ‘Oh no. I have a lot of trust. and you cannot reckon them. To say that the joy from your whole person. in deep ecology. the deep ecology movement. your total personality. to eh. they always started with some witticism. and so they had a marvellous relation. some people psychiatric cases. according to my. eh. it is getting worse. these other cultures. again. In what sense are they close? Well. and-soon. and also. Gandhi was saying something that was completely. and the same with. And there. I try to get. So. When you say. 46 . of course. There is no reason for it. there. to keep the insight alive that things are getting worse. a very deep trust in human nature? Gandhi trusted the people and Gandhi trusted nonhuman beings. joy from all your. they try to make these people like Spinoza and Gandhi and other people from other cultures relevant to the crisis. but certainly if you end by smiling and even laughing. Gandhi was certainly in favour that you could only have children because you had a need for children or had the possibility of supporting the children. You shouldn’t produce children as something inevitable from sexual life. and you loose in virtue. has a very great part in the life of Gandhi. The South African government made him a prisoner and it was general Schmutz who ordered him to get into prison. you are also decreasing your level of freedom and virtue. Gandhi was quite outstanding in the terrible conflict with the British. And as to the population problem. I don’t want to say very much more about it. certain other people. like Spinoza. the principles that Gandhi had. against this would be: there is a reason to be depressed and melancholic about the increasing. And I think that if you see other people as very close to yourself. immediately. I don’t think so. you continue. if you are depressed as a. there was an intimate relation. And general Schmutz was also witty. it is the opposite. it is a state where you gain in freedom and gain in virtue. according to this doctor thesis. it’s not only very painful. he didn’t smile anymore. that every living being has a self. Both Gandhi and Spinoza would say: ‘There is no reason for it. identify with. you loose some freedom. If you have a state of joy. but depressing. this joy. except the last couple of years. I’m glad to say! But one might argue. that the ecological crisis gives every reason to feel said. like. I’ve much too much trust in humans. Gandhi was very witty. it’s so good to see how Gandhi can be used in the ecological crisis and eh. what’ importance in fighting the ecological crisis? ecological For me. The doctor thesis ends with saying the deep ecology movement is the most close to Gandhi thinking. Then you have at least as much trust according to them as you accord to yourself.’ But in this doctor thesis on Gandhi’s relation to environment. basically. But if you have little trust with yourself. that’s Spinoza for me. what’s the importance of Gandhi. It’s the deep ecology movement. the joy: he looked upon joy as something [sigh] necessary and beautiful and so on. for melancholy. well. this things. a last argument then. It’s is typical of Gandhian trust. Anyhow. Some smiling and laughing and then they got on. Because when everything went down and there was a massacre in India after the liberation.. very little. According to Spinoza. That’s the doctor thesis. that would be in the atmosphere of both Gandhi and Spinoza and others. But that’s because they don’t understand this. joyfully. if you trust yourself very little. the same as the eight point of deep ecology. trusting to ridiculous. from your personality corresponds to a step in greater freedom and greater virtue. That’s. one as a prisoner and the man who got him into prison. But you never stop with this spontaneous experience. there he. increasing ecological crisis.To close of. he was very witty. But is it not. and when they had a session.

this is Arctic. living according to the rules of Tvergastein. And now we are four thousand. get joyful. if they hear here it’s 1500 metres: but that’s a nice place with a lot of people living there in small villages. certainly. maybe less than five or six times. and we disobey those nonsense. yes.. as a professional. visiting Tvergastein. who are now interviewing me. So eh. And only when he stops doing things. only sun. This is a terrible case. the activeness of: ‘Now I’m going to. What you have higher is meteorological stations. at this place. you continue. with blood and all terrible things around. four thousand one hundred and fourteen today. I hoped I would live here quite a lot and I numbered the days I was here. he thinks: ‘Oh. That’s the opinion of good people here. And you start doing this the next moment.. It goes on. in all next century. And I’m counting the days. But eh. So. The context is just terrible. 47 . Well. when I can’t walk up here. would think it is. But there is no village here. But the highest hut in the Nordic countries of Europe. must see to it. privately owned. but at least I have lived here more than eleven years. think that there are many huts. in Norway. but it’s a problem whether I can be here really enjoying the view and enjoying the place as I can now. it’s very few times. there would be Tvergastein. You. all next century. That’s between eleven and twelve years. A little more than about 500 meters above the tree line. But it’s actually only 1505! Because of the 60 degrees north. Perhaps people coming from other countries. for instance. If you are the one who knows how to reach a telephone and you run. nothing like it. it’s the highest privately owned hut. That’s not yet twelve. so the climate at Tvergastein is purely Arctic climate. [laughs]. Well. But the activeness. whole personality. 60 degrees north.. Twelve multiplied by 365. there are 4114. Just as in a traffic accident. it makes no meaning to carry me up here. running itself make you joyful [clicks]. counting the days. Passivity. because we had some tremendous weather. inevitably. Do you think the mountain will miss you? Slightly. and moderate winds. It’s number one. Then you get: wraaah! But then you start again doing things and you are: joyful. the it’ state of the world. in. one hundred and fourteen days. I think it is extremely nice for me to know that there are people who say: ‘We should.with: so what are we to do?’ And immediately when you say: so what am I going to do the next moment? Ha. Because you do then something which you think is important and which is in accordance with your whole. north of the Equator. that you probably in the future won’t come up here? That you won’ cannot make it? I could be carried up here. he will not being depressed. et cetera. And when I am past that stage. that would be completely [laughs] impossible to think of. in the Alps it would be very much above 2500 metres high. Do you feel sad about that the hut is living longer than you are? No. this is a terrible case. I’m now 83 and I see that I may be not able to have lived here twelve years. Carried up here. It is the same latitude as Greenland. I couldn’t be sad about that. today. in. But are you already sad. Tvergastein is about 1500 feet above tree line. sun and sun and sun. Yaah. So that’s no problem. even you. and there would people here. I’m going to get the ambulance soon!’ Ha! And if you are able to continue then. There are certain nonsensical rules. 500 meters. on this level. At 1500 metres. He will be eager to do things. So it’s despite knowing the terrible truth. In 1938 I started living here. But there is nobody else. south of Greenland. the doctor will come also and do things and. this place is just as another nice place just above the tree line in the Alps.. So I hope that I will experience the twelfth year here. it’s not easy to understand for people in the Italian Alps. that you had had so many days with such weather like this! And it is only the middle of the summer possible. But most of the rules would be kept alive here.’ But that’s because he stops and get passive. easily.

before it was published and started a campaign against her. by chance. I’m obeying. The biologist Rachel Carson. I had also relation to. ordinary life. but I had the idea to have been still higher on the mountain. you get. And it has to do with the Norwegian tourists. For instance. and you. why should you have an Arctic climate. The longer time you use. You can sit here and look at this. she wrote a book. that was out of the question. I think. and there is not much wind. endless. it’s not a typical question of silence. endless variety of movement. It was part of my sport. tiny ones and then little 48 . Saying: this was completely unscientific and it was a hysterical woman talking about things she didn’t know anything about. and they had about 100. The good thing was that you wouldn’t have any wouldn’ film team there! We couldn’t make it up there! couldn’ [laughs] That would be a good thing. to stay. You have all sorts of waves. for instance. even before the book. pff. Silent Spring. when they heard about the book. sportive ego. Nature not dominated by people. then you may listen to the silence. it came from United States [laughs]. the meaning of life. as I have told. in order to reach the cottage. In 1940’s I was. But because of the water. But then came something tremendous. I mean.000 members. which is really. And. So she got admirers. the silence. So those two institutions started then a campaign against her. Tiny. if you are not too unlucky. That was a bad idea. And 1950. This place can also be very silent. I would have to go and I am only glad that I didn’t place the hut on the summit of Hallingskarvet! I don’t think Hallingskarvet would like that anyhow. But it is Hallingskarvet I’m for. Certainly. that it was necessary to climb with your hands. Communicating. seeing things from her point of view. Eh. I had no kind of hope that there would be a different kind of policy towards free nature. you see the silence is very important in the mountain. Here you have endless movement in the water. And you listen. that was not unique at all.And there is good reason for it. It is not the Arctic climate. And the light. a God-like being would ask you to come nearer. because of the climate. I said yes to be in the nature protection kind of institution. even in the You could not resist. And eh. It was called the tourists’ institution. because. And people. the more it says.. I prefer to get away from people. I had a peculiar relation to small animals. obeying the urge of Hallingskarvet to come! As I was ten years old it was more spontaneous experience of Hallingskarvet as a God-like being. talking about pesticides. And it then led to be a tremendous shaking of the people in the United States. and the first twenty years no journalists or no filming permitted to come up there. but also that we were destroying life along the shores. were supplying all the chemicals used in agriculture: together with the Department of Agriculture. more and more. I mean. No. no. it makes you. She was specialist on life along the shores. there was no reason to have any hope. But that was in 1940’s.. it is Hallingskarvet. Can you maybe relate the fact that you have been professor for so many years. and little bigger. probably. bigger. And then came the big firms of chemistry. no. But what’s going on in me was something more complicated. They thought that tourists should go everywhere they wish to go and that we should have houses or huts anywhere. the ocean and the mountains. first of all against destroying the soil. that direction and it’s flowing.. and sometimes away from here to get down to people. certainly you can have. if you get the silence. But if you place yourself where there is no water rushing. But there was no kind of real effort to protect what’s left of non-dominated nature.. Infinite complexity. and at one point you got interested in the ecological problem. No journalists. those two tremendously powerful institutions came together. And movement this direction. if you were to sit down here. and so on. Is the silence important to you? Oh yes.

The top level of protection. to explain what is going on then in. and you have certain hypotheses who you are. And then from that time on. And what. And eh. within this time? Bang. if you are a professor for long time and head of the department and. every week. But this made me. bang! and you die. in the first years. for some years. I am a philosopher. that it was possible. I was considered to be. But it didn’t help very much. with this capacity here. And then you get. in order to prove that I am not skipping my responsibilities at all.’ That’s to say: when certain.. I do more than the others. And I planned in 1965 to leave in order what I say to function as much as I would live. pfff. you were an were ordinary professor in Oslo? I had a friend in Norwegian. through political means. I mean. the book. bang! You are born. and what is to be done [clicks]. Nineteen years old. who they are. you have to meet a lot of people. So. We can forget about our job if we support you. So I had to be two days. no-no. what is truth. very active from about 1970. got in the early seventies . I gave up that position in 1969. When you heard from her. to. the theory of knowledge. what is knowledge. And I placed the examinations early in the year. wrote to her: ‘We are all for what you are saying.. You have to be in all kinds of meetings. very bad life. But we are just behind you. 49 . so the great philosophers are those who take up every branch: the philosophy of mind of course. go on! Go on!’ And she really was able to carry on this polemics. And I wrote then several hundred articles. in the environment. and. who is now professor of Ethics. ah! So they have the obligation to find out where they are. so to say. who told me a little about Rachel Carson in 1966. and all this. You have to have. But then I was academic philosopher until about ‘65. being a professor. to change policies towards nature. when people like to hear my opinion on But you are one of the most famous professors in philosophy of Norway. I saw life. What did you teach? I thought every branch of philosophy.this was ‘63 -. it was complicated. I felt that ordinary life couldn’t satisfy me. what kind of reality. In what sense? You are then forced to place your problems in certain ways. From nothing to nothing. And the total view means you have certain value priorities. I continued. and also a couple of books. early seventies. in the. who is. So. From that time I would say: ‘I am not a professor of philosophy.. what’s to be done in your life. Three things. in a sense. So. you got very good kind of protection through laws. I had all my lectures and meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday. But really. but don’t use our names. 1965. it meant that instead of getting rid of academia. what you call the environment. And then I jumped into that instead of having living as I wished to live. then your mind suffers very much from it. that you cannot place a factory anywhere you like. and so on. so the only thing would be to be a kind of philosopher. very active. You get accustomed to certain ways of thinking. That’s my first article. social and political means.chemical industry and in the Department of Agriculture.. to be a positivist. you gave up that position. and what is worthwhile. Fabulous laws. which is: bang. United States was top. I think [clicks]. so I can get away into the mountains. And you have social philosophy and you have political philosophy and you have aesthetics and you have ethics. and so on. when I left school. Ah. So you have more than five branches of philosophy. all this things. ‘67. I was not a physician because I liked the way Spinoza was thinking: the grand total view that humans beings. I wished to get away from writing so much. and what kind of cosmos are you put into. the life. But I have to go back again into the city. bang. Four years after. bang! Not more than one second. in the city. then. I think. and so on. And I always gave more lectures than was required of me. in order to get away. writing and polemics. Of course. pfff. Good laws about protecting species that was threatened and eh. I work more than write text books without any kind of free time. life. in the spring time.

And it was painful to think! [laughs]. what is your question? What’s the problem?’ and so on. And. more than thinking. at the same time. anything. They had a formula: when others would say: ‘I disagree. he won through magnetism. you mean probably this. So therefore. At the exams. to. oh yes!’ So. So you try to find out what the other really meant. eh.000 tons’. I get.something. Probably we never agree about the same thing. Then I had to go into the ecology. You say: ‘Well. or something like that. in order to talk. You just talk. Except saying. So they started: ‘How do you solve the problem of death?’ And I say this: ‘It’s not a problem. Do you. a thought. big boat how many tons. Can you still maybe try to tell a bit about this time in Vienna. You would say: ‘Perhaps you mean so-and-so. pfff. That’s what they call the logical positivists. I had to be a little more precise. Thousands of students. that’s an intelligent way. we have boxing together! Everything together with the students! But then I. they are rushhh. yes. they didn’t really. hundreds of them just flunking there. and this is false!’ You were among quite some noted philosophers in Vienna. by tons. I thought then.’ So. ‘Well. no. but eh. and on. And try to see it best. That you don’t mean really any definite. And because there was so little known about philosophy in Norway. We talk. And because I was so young. a long time. And I was the only professor of philosophy. I wrote many books and in many fields. you invited the other in the sense. I don’t know. natural. I would try to take hold of the students. like this. so to say ‘It is a big boat’ and you say: ‘100.. and that was. And maybe never disagree about exactly the same thing. but without any kind of arrogance.. I found that. couldn’t really dislike Is there a relationship between your being. it took a long time before I started on that. they were this philosophers called Carnap. and eh. yes! yes! Aha. I had a peculiar admiration of exact science. as I thought that if you are mathematician or a physicist.’ I didn’t have any kind of thought. whereas mostly philosophers like to disagree and don’t think that you understand me. they are. which is very flat kind of philosophy. So. It’s a big boat. we were climbing together. because I was so young. Maybe it’s not a lucky way of saying what you mean there. and then shaking them like this! [laughs]. But Carnap and I. at a young age. But then I had to answer questions about the life and death and eh. And before that. And then in the background was Wittgenstein. and philosopher called Neurath. and eh. I think. they thought it was the same as something like positivism. really. the people who influenced you? Oh yes. you meant so. hundreds of flunking.000 ton’. could you say it this way?’ And then the other will say: ‘Yeah. got a lot against him. 27 years old. you. I distinguished talking from thinking. if you ask what you mean by 100.. I knew if you agree about something. So I had a great power over the students. and the awareness in the sixties of the ecological crisis or were it completely different worlds for you? Completely different worlds until this Rachel Carson.’ they said: ‘Maybe what you say is.talking without really having an intended meaning. it’s not quite a fortunate way. So. because he. if you. this is what I have. I was hang up in questions of how to pose your question precisely. Sometimes we don’t meet because: ‘Oh. We talk and talk and we say we meet soand-so place and by chance we meet there. and if you go ask exactly 50 . and that’s OK. I have to tell my opinion. full professor of 27 years old. in this Vienna circle. and. I wrote an article saying: ‘Nature is vanishing’. Hm-mm. If you don’t want to listen to me. that’s quite hypothetical. and what I liked so much was that they were trying to help each other within philosophy. Because we going slalom together. this boat is very big with 100. never mind!’ my terrible ways of thinking. to listen to another way of formulating a think. And eh. And you could give lectures and everything like this – wa-wa-wa . It’s the weight. because then you must have a question mark. then perhaps we agree. Whereas.’ And instead of saying: ‘Well. as of course saying: ‘If you wish to listen to me. like this. you must prove that is same thing you mean by those words you agree about. I don’t know. I didn’t think that anything could be done as an individual.

what they feel that ‘what I am hangs together with nature. And they said: ‘Well. What distinguishes supporters of the deep ecology movement from other in the. he says. not to much to eat. some eternal laws of morality. then you get into such development.’ We try to get away with it. they are often inclined to care for others and to other things. Immanuel Kant. So we have cooperation between activists in the deep ecology movement and activists who say: ‘Philosophy? No. do other things which they should do. they go into themselves: ‘What are meaningful for me and what make me feel as I feel I am’. But.. in this way. but you act morally. So if you dig deep enough. as I talk in my lecture. we should do it. saying: ‘You wouldn’t mind. And we have lot of people doing research on the climate. They are more inclined than men. That you lose yourself in questions that cannot be solved.. on the ozone layer. then you do not act beautifully. exactly. activists in the ecology movement. if you start: ‘What time is it?’ And you say: ‘It’s half past eight. if it is completely motivated by a respect for the moral laws. And there. to act morally. what you mean by that?’ And you get into problem of time. and we couldn’t do the same job. We must not behave as we do because it is bad for yourself and for the children and grandchildren. the plus with the minority who are activist in deep ecology movement is that they will do everything out of inclination. And for animals. You act.’ All right. and so on. to be able to say: I acted beautifully. Then you act morally.’ You can start anywhere. even if you have no cars. We would be glad if you could protect nature.. because we are not afraid of being hurt. Is that the distinction Kant makes? Ah. it’s more. according to moral law. So wherever you start. if you only act beautifully and not morally. and so on. For me.’ And then. Whereas inclination. whatever you see of life.’ And they are inclined to do things for other people and so on. they do things for. that is not known. and you go deep: you get into philosophy [clicks]. That’s fine with me. yes! With this digging deep. and everything. out of duty. I have been lucky to find a distinction in a really very great philosopher. wherever you start. the motivation. how you also came to the concept of deep ecology? Absolutely. feel like it. So he said: ‘If they do what the moral law requires of you. And it’s no reason that everybody should try to be a supporter of deep ecology movement. as we live. But then. But they do it through inclination! They feel. is so tremendously bigger than the force. It’s not necessary. mostly. that’s not for me.’ So when you protect nature. I do it. you protect yourself. Who would neglect totally the philosophy. We of course do that sometimes. whereas those who are not deep ecology supporters. among professors of philosophy. So.. you get into metaphysics and get into philosophy. Wouldn’t you like. Because if you get into such situations. you say: ‘Why? I don’t catch what you thought there and what you. ‘Wouldn’t you like me to do this for you. as a kind of starting point or motivation. is that the supporters of the deep ecology movement have. of course. So it’s. I like to think of myself as acting beautifully. we need not go deeper. Because a force. Then you act beautifully. And we have to win this and we have to overcome the ecological crisis through science and through behaving differently and to have some different priorities of value within the society but. on what basis you make physics. would be so glad. or make eh mathematics. that I would like more..’ You can start: ‘Well. but through inclination. only motivated to see.. We 51 . He makes the distinction between moral actions and beautiful actions [laughs].’ And they would say: ‘Oh yes! Act beautifully. And you protect through inclination. moral law teaches you to do so and not so-and-so. And the act is only moral.what you mean and ask what. because it would be a fantastic for us. Then you act beautifully! Whereas if you protect because of the moral law. He distinguishes in a early work. that more and more people are led into situations that they do things out of inclination. to see things being protected.’ Good for you. a kind of life philosophy. The. then you protect.’ And that’s promising for the protection of the planet. exact question. especially among women. human force of inclination. so we can be more radical in our views. but we try to avoid saying: ‘This is a moral law.

that’s. Gestalt ontology. there are certain ways of experiencing Gestalts. Because: if a shrimp is here. and you show your inclination. Eh. ordinary man or woman. Also. it’s in a tiny drop and a drop is then drying out and you see this wonderful being get disturbed in her movement and gradually stiffening. practically. No-no. moralism. as a human being. I would say that to see the world in a certain way. for instance. and you bend down to look at a tiny flower. Every human being is completely extraordinary. Eutreptiela. quite a lot of training. you see. at the moment there are plans to have real biology and ecology teaching in high schools and universities. And that is in philosophy called ontology: what’s real. but it’s very amusing also to try to catch them and don’t hurt them and take them all the way out! They don’t find the way out. Well. So. the small children were trying to help the insects out. Then children are easily. You think you are just an ordinary. more and more. that you are much. And 52 . that’s how I would like to move! So I see it as something similar to me. and then you don’t trample on it. and the relation between you and Michelangelo and Einstein and so on. a ballet.. you get [sufficient?] training.and with Einstein. psss. Nobody is like the other. you are extraordinary. I say: ‘They like to go out. Or if there is any experience. And a few people like to train themselves. Then the parents give them some poison and they like to psss. What’s there. they would. and that’s against their instinct. I repeat it over the radio many times. But then I have my other hand behind the shrimp.. the world is made of Gestalts and eh. I can take the hand and it will go like this. much powerful than you think. if you have a lot of insects in the window. And the child will say: ‘What are you seeing there? There is nothing to be seen there. then. genus. which you have to train yourself in. identify with all life.’ [knocks on window] And so. eh. that’s important. Then. and then. You may have very big windows in summertime and a lot of different kinds of insects down on the [short?].to kill the insects. I. And that takes no time for children. because then the get. maybe not experiencing anything. Because you just lead children in free nature. you should compare yourself with a shrimp . it’s no. everything. in a way of identification.’ And you say: ‘Look at this. So. of course. but eh. you widen yourself. or even more powerful. but some people seem to relate to. compared to a shrimp.’ And they identify with these insects. And I.. But when you are already fifteen years old. they have to go into darkness. is fantastic power. if the parents behave properly. psss. no difficulty to get children. To see the reality of life and. Buddhists. you see. Absolutely. eh? I found that I’m on par with. and gymnastica is the species. for instance. and I’m here. I don’t. it’s a question. what’s real. it’s much more difficult to get people to see my point. there is at least one microscopic being with whom I identified clearly and that’s a microscopic being that is in-between being an animal and being a plant. You say: look at it. like this. you identified too. I’m not able to do that. than a shrimp. my power is evidently. And the name is Eutreptiela gymnastica. That’s to say. So. is much more important than getting rules how to behave. and eh. that’s reality we have.Is there a way to nourish inclination? The way to nourish inclination is most obvious when you have to do with children. you see! Just as you would like to get out. they go try the window. But eh. What I meant is that you. I have a feeling of identification The learning of a new way of perception is more important than moralism. and you see you are just as great as Einstein. You bend all the way down. [laughs] You once identified very strongly with one of the tiniest creatures. to see the beauty and to see the marvel of life. And if. and so.. But I have the opportunity to say: ‘Very amusing. So I’m for what I call. and. for me. And there is no limit. And it’s moving [imitates movement]. that’s the genus. And it will go straight into my hand. for instance. psss . easily get to be inclined to behave properly. And eh. the similarity there is so great. what I referred to is when you looked through a microscope. for instance. And I speak about Self with a capital ‘S’. more or less. but eh. that’s different. So.

You see. limbs. he was not any professor at that time. [sigh] Oh. And there it was in the drop.. bacteria also yes. So.. And I couldn’t save it. And people who are disturbed mentally. most eh. and every limb was doing things which we do when we are suffering. you have no rights. in favour of rights of animals and living beings in general. what you call it in English. such that I would say: Oh! This is a living being. another thing is. because one cannot avoid. But a mountain! [clicks] If you go back to this critical period in the late sixties. I couldn’t tell. So it’s illustrate what I call identification. just generalize the rights philosophy. because they think that if you have no obligations. But if you identify yourself and you do something for your own sake. for itself. That’s done in modern what you call eco- What is identification? It is just that you see yourself in somebody else. of course. wrote or said in an interview that you realized that the concept of human rights. some people. [laughs] I sometimes talk about that. So. My colleague. They have six eh. seeing one’s self. no obligations and you have rights. Yaah. so there is no chance. What is called eh. I would clean the spoon for my sake but I wouldn’t do anything for the. Impossible because the adherent. as I have. Like babies. it’s kind of fragment. if there are molecules that just are able to multiply. When it’s alive. with Jon Wetlesen. But certainly.with this. completely disturbed mentally. then I wouldn’t call it. that’s different. certain forces on the surface of the tiny drop.. the. then. it fragments [picks up tiny bread crust]. generalize the rules. this is a story. you had a special experience in the Sonora desert. you are also prepared to do something for this . which I. even if there’s tremendously differences also. as an amateur chemist. Trying to get out. there was a flea there. But if I think that the spoon is alive.not only caring for other beings. but also attributing rights to other beings. And things were happening in that drop. just like between green and yellow you have hundreds of shades. Similar. for instance. lemming? Lemming. You see a similar being as yourself. And then a flea from the lemming landed on the glass under the microscope. Lemen? A small animal. and you get rights for animals. you have a lot of rights. 53 . it started moving. And he agreed that one could eh. That you could extend the idea of rights. We were together in Sonoran Desert and eh. it’s a kind of caring . with this spoon [picks up spoon]. I had a lemming. is obviously trying to get out. which you would. professor Johan Wetlesen. then of course. So there would be questions in-between. If you pick up something like this. And suddenly. like. yes. You once desert. And it lasted about ten minutes. and also Johan Wetlesen hesitate. inA rock? A rock I don’t see as alive. Living. And exactly what they are. Lemming. that it could also be applied to nature. But you also identified with the death struggle of a flea. And there is a lot. It is so obvious it has interest to get out. I don’t see it has a self. he was much in favour of human rights and I was. billions of them.. The same. the death struggle of the flea. somehow. I don’t have the feeling. So.. in the water. you can have rights without obligations. But I say. outside southern Norway and they are not popular among the fishermen. And there. but eh.whatever you identify with you are prepared to do for their sake. for the spoon. The movements were as we would do. at that time. there are certain characteristics. like to study. On this table I was working and then I had a lemen [lemming]. A rock is maybe somewhere in-between. Whereas. well. But a fly. it’ Yaah. that’s not a living being. I don’t have names for all this shades. But eh. But eh. you recognize the resemblance. green or yellow.. the philosophy of rights.

In academic philosophy. but still quite big.’ I say: ‘Well. but what you spend financially. Your obligations towards your own children. worldwide. always there. But even if they have no obligations. Why is that wrong. and you have to care for them. The term right. because otherwise. and eh. Yes. And you have.. then there are also animal rights.philosophy of the radical kind. and. I sometimes say: ‘If you are among those who talk about rights of humans. If only one percent were set aside for non-human. in the surround. What’s different is that your obligations are tremendous towards fellow humans. or more or less exactly. your obligations towards fellow human beings… because they are so near to yourself and you know exactly what you can do for them. The existence of rights. And that’s good. so. why can’t they have rights?’ And then. then it would be a colossal help for nonhuman beings. humans are al. If you go have an expedition. living. you have very great obligations to your fellow beings in that expedition. you get this stupid argument that deep ecology supporters care more for animals than for humans. there is a lot of polemics going on whether [mumbles] where they want to clarify the concept of rights. from day to day. And your obligation to hungry children in Africa or somewhere. that if there are human rights.. Whereas. and eh. which is eh. You once put it this way. how can you avoid talking about rights of animals?’ And if they say: ‘Well. have to do with other fellow humans. mostly we just know that they care to be alive. But. they don’t have obligations. that has to do with academic philosophy. Therefore. they have no good answers. are certainly very great. on fellow humans is so big that if one percent of that would be. to say. but human beings. you agree completely that you have those obligations. for instance dogs. some animals really have obligations to protect us. More than for the tigers and lions et cetera.. many animals. animals in Africa. that’s right. I think it’s good for supporters of the deep ecology movement also to show their concern for fellow humans by eh. supporting institutions like eh. Of a wolf or a sheep. 54 . why is that a Why misconception? Because in the daily life of supporters of the deep ecology movement. Like deep ecology. some. your obligations are tremendous there. we know very much what it means to suffer. So. So to do that. So. if you have a lot of obligations then you. would be used to help non-human beings. very wrong I think.. like Amnesty International or other great institutions for helping fellow humans who are immensely. is so fantastically much greater than the children of other people. ‘Save the children’. have immensely greater problems than you have. immensely greater problems.

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