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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 www.rerunproducties.nl www.naturearteducation.org/paintHolland/Interviews/Naess1.htm
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
there were then a lot of expeditions. there is question. But. people who would like to conquer a mountain. pfff. They just looked at my friend. I was conquering myself. So I had there something unrelated to cult of mountains. the climbers didn’t look upon these cultures as something interesting. religiously. The term ‘conquering’ was completely unknown to me. whether they would go with me. also in my doctor thesis. So. pfff. for many hundred years. many expeditions with people who have no real sense of the holiness of the mountain. the capital of Nepal. to get it out of range for any mountaineer. what I am talking about is this. Fortysix against zero! That they would rather not have all that money they could have through expeditions and have their mountain un . Cult of mountains can be without going to the summit for more than hundred of the highest mountains of Norway. like this mountain you talked about. I thought he was ninety..’ So I am all for the cultures. In other cultures. on the contrary..so-called . there would be many. and we heard nothing about it. to go very high. the term used by me so much. And I think that. the Tseringma? Tseringma. and coming from the mountains. like Inca culture. and together with the head of the village. But is it not special for Western people that they want to go conquer the mountains. there are so many different attitudes within the number of minorities. as some inferior kind of being. we went a way that is considered to be eight days and nights away to Katmandu. that I had a critical attitude towards achievement. like Tseringma is a sacred mountain. I don’t think the document was delivered to the king. for instance. to get to the summit. You were not out on conquering. tiny of officials. So. and we couldn’t even reach the tiny. Conquering any stupid kind of attitude. You couldn’t do it. And immoral attitude also. And this analyst was very fat and he was sixty years old. from older times there have been people who would like to reach a summit. 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. whether they look at it as a plus or a minus.terrible things to say about what I had done. and in time. they thought it wrong to go to the summit of sacred mountains. to make it a fully protected mountain against humans. until somebody said: ‘Why these last meters here. But at that time. ‘out’. no. [strong sigh] He couldn’t understand anything of mountains.conquered. it was a plus for you. ha!’ So we had very little response. Why? pffff. I was then. at that time. It is on the border to China. we went with this document. with the head of the village. sometimes. Then we tried to make mountain clubs all over the world.. But if the relation to China gets better. ‘What you mean. of course. conquering? no. So. But immorals was not quite the same as conventional morals. to deliver a document asking the king to make it outside range of any mountaineer in the future.. certainly. make a kind of petition to make it sacred and nobody getting up. of course: in Tibetan culture and Sherpa Tibetan culture. why shouldn’t we go to the summit. So it was. I mean. That is something very different. And that was important. Well.. And they let the last meters being unconquered. anyhow. Yet you did like to go up the mountain. really conquer it? Is it not European? I think there have been. of course. We were three of us.. there were fortysix families in that village. No. then. and felt is as a 6 . And it was open then later. to go to the summit of a mountain. We were three of us: Sigmund Kvaløy is another member there. Even where religion plays a great role. at early nineteen-seventy. and we of course wouldn’t touch. Forty-six families voted. They were interested in so-called conquering the mountain and get to the summit and they didn’t understand what we were asking for. immediately. earlier. instead of saying ‘Ah this! Why should we absolutely go to the very summit?’ So I was conquering myself. admiring the sherpas very much and no question of going to the top of Tseringma. as an achievement. going the last hundred meters. who was a Buddhist. South America. 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.
of course. So in 1949 . we were not talking about it. talking about marriage. especially young ones.. it’s bad for your next life. It is very difficult at least. Yes. But during the feasts. we asked very good friends in Great Britain. and so on. And we decided upon a mountain called Tirich Mir. as a climber. In late July. It was things which had to do with hatred. he had to provide even more beer then if you were a woman. They have layers which are not primitive. non-violent relations to their animals. And they never would kill a goat to eat or a cow. as of course in many other ways. you get a minus in the register of what you have done in your life. we looked up to the mountain. 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. where nobody else had been. We didn’t dream of reaching the summit that year. It took a long time.’ So. Nobody would like to shoot it or anything like that. It has been a culture of a completely outstanding character. Because of the greatness. what they would conceive as possible for Norwegians to do. speaking of that. They thought that if you make a child cry. also the achievement in being able to reach the summit had a meaning for me. So they were not against meat. they used to have a lot of good fire to warm themselves. many of the younger climbers were looked upon as primitives. That’s very nice. but also of the mountain. which is the highest mountain in Hindu Kush. 7. of course there were feasting. And then there were. But if you were unfaithful. But within Western culture you have. Sometimes there is an eagle. if they have hens and they let that. their use of energy was eight units in a certain kind of way of measuring.conquering . haha. it is the greatest area of mountains and the most fabulous. for many of us. so that suits me well as an achievement. A little more than 25. but that was not ‘in’. but then. in a cultural sense. it is a Buddhist culture. to reconnaissance. ha. that would rob them of tiny sheep or goat baby or a hen. What was then. as a Westerner being interested in sports. with big mountains. never living trees. we found the mountain great.. June. complete primitives. when it fell down a precipice and was dead: they would eat it. and we found. where we have three-thousand in Norway and six-thousand United States.. certain attitudes. for instance. that is to say when the man was available. but for some years.I was already quite old . I didn’t mention that. always the brother was available in the bed. And later they would find: ‘We were really very fond of the mountain. And we found that beautiful mountain. lack of benevolence. that a whole community could have a great feast.not of themselves. And so many things which have a minus. to see what could be done. they use only wood from trees that were dead. And what we liked also was that if a man was unfaithful. Thousands. it 7 . So you have then thousands of climbers who would feel they conquer a mountain. it was so cold. I had to visit the Himalayas. Talking about Sherpa culture. I mean. and Himalayas are in the wide senses Himalayan. but they had marvellous. And I was all for getting high up on one of the really high mountains. which would see the symbols. That was how. what should the community do? Yes! They should themselves provide so much beer. whatever the cause.. It was non-violent as Buddhist culture. a small child. But there were other things which were just as admirable. and I studied everything known about the mountain. carrying things over the Himalayas. Therefore.705 metres and some expeditions had tried and were not able to reach the summit. And of course. And for instance. the next year. I mean. and that’s bad for the women. you have specialization. you should not be available then. of course. So clearly. instead of going to prison or something. this way they were punishing people. they were. go to the extreme. before they are three years old. some place. You are permitted to go to the extreme more than in traditional cultures. then. beautiful mountain! And the climate is very good in May. What should they do there without men and so you could have the brothers. if you make it cry. not at all. during marriage. haha. certainly. the men were traditionally on their way between India and China.I was able to get one Norwegian climber with me.000 feet high. What it costs. And I saw the eagle there.
but I don’t admire it at all. this world of mountains! And at the summit I could look down upon mountains being as high as the highest in Europe. there are old people there in the neighbourhood of Tirich Mir. in 1950. but they didn’t like to come with us. it will hold back avalanches as long as it can. And it was also difficult. looked upon. But they had to obey the laws of nature and nothing else be done.. But I knew that this is the start of something that is going on for thousand kilometres. When you were on the mountain it was not very different from other mountains. on such an expedition. The first time I could see the Himalayas. It is a fantastic. into Russia. to reach the summit of a mountain and you are killed or. We could go without the [hirers?]. people. And also. I can’t see the point of adventure in the mountains. during one night for instance and you are stuck. We didn’t have anything in 1949. Was it a primitive thought. Avalanches. or was there something in it that was true? That you have to respect the mountain instead of. Mont Blanc and others and they looked so tiny down there! And I could look down. not at all. many of us . it was not considered sacred. this symbolic thing was so important. and if you are inexperienced. 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. And you get one metre of snow. but that didn’t matter. mountains. different.it was very interesting. then give up the expedition. And that time. where a small river that was going like this. not to be harassed by practical problems. indicating it was flat and green. but then. the mountain perhaps didn’t like us. high up. of course looked upon Tirich Mir as a mountain that did not like humans to go there. especially if you try to stay alive. then. and half-dead. It’s not worth it. It is a great suffering for the whole family and your husband or your wife. The vastness. they thought.. But we didn’t violate any sacredness. but some of them would think it would not like it and send down avalanches. So symbols there... You once said. So they left us.. then one more error. Tirich Mir is not considered a sacred mountain? Incidentally. And we had to find out where the mountain would send the avalanches and not go there. And certainly.we were. the mountain wouldn’t like to do you any harm. and really I got too much of it. some of the porters we have. you could get terrible weather. suddenly. yes. this feeling. was so tremendously strong! But to be there. the mountain never fights. I could see far into many countries: China. then one more. as a leader of the expedition. That is not worthwhile. inside there. the hills were not higher than. So it was difficult for me to stand the life that was required of a leader. certainly. Yes. people talking changes. because when you were on the mountain. they warned children and others to go. But I tried to make my friends . they didn’t go far. So it was the symbol of the highest and most grand of everything. flatness and greenness . no. And from near the summit. Obviously. some of them. Afghanistan. And I knew that in certain directions there were thousands of kilometres of mountains.. To read about it I like very much. certainly. it was not beautiful any longer. not as high as Hallingskarvet. 8 . So we had an expedition next year. but that’s not according as I feel it. India. and death in the mountain is a theme for some books. if you see the chance this avalanche would come within a week.. So. yes. and then still one more and pffiiit. that was important. you don’t see its coming..understand and except that we should have some part of the day for ourselves and not thinking about the expedition.. But we reached the summit. just being together with the mountain.. and to read about expeditions where they do one error. and they maybe have used to say: ‘Don’t go higher up there because they don’t like it. mountains. the expedition had to be given up. No great changes should be taken. And if there is a chance. Not to be there. Not sacred.starts getting worse. but as they say. because of some snow. I like to read about adventures. far far down. it was not so great at all. mountains. it was at a distance. I decided never to go again to the Himalayas in order to climb. always practical problems in expeditions. So.
Do you have an example of that? Well. It is just a speciality. As just a science. and you have in biology a good definition of an organism being alive. mineral. I don’t see the point. which reduces it of course. to avoid that they were killed going a wrong way. so to speak. for instance. rubbish and apparatus. without being able to explain how it could be done. Certainly. But you think a mountain has its own will. I see it as a living being! Certainly it has this life. ordinary people feel it with natural. and so on. The mythology has meaningfulness and is adequate for the mind that has these ideas. So there. the greatest slogan they used in northern Norway in a big direct action. of course. ha! Not: Letting us have the pleasure to go fishing there and to look at it and so on. They said: Let the river live. but it has no effect on the mind of people. About hundred kilometres from here you can see it very easily in this weather. when they say that Tseringma protects us. like a human? If you say it can hold back avalanches? Saying that the mountain holds back avalanches. and like the sherpas. dignity of the mountain and psychologists would say: these are certain feelings I have. and something. Gaustatoppen Hallingskarvet has a kind of brother-mountain. I don’t say: let the mountain be alive. and it has not a very impressive shape.. biology has good reasons to define alive so-and-so. Do you remember that? Because they put all the stuff on top of it. I feel the mountain would only be hurt. that poor Gausta has a lot of instruments and all kinds of fancy. 9 .. it is called. in a certain sense.. But I don’t know of any mountain that is severely hurt by humans. Dignity of mountain. They had some mythology where people were able to simply move a mountain away.. Maybe you can tell a bit about the Gaustatoppen over there. but still alive. whether it has certain ways of avoiding sending it. you only ask because you have only read biology. So. And they even tried to get rid of a mountain. How the Tseringma acts as the Mother Of The Long Good Life. what I am saying is expressing the kind of attitude I have. they have absolutely no hypothesis how Tseringma does this. to place such things on top of Hallingskarvet.. and there is nothing up there. in order to make it more difficult for people who are without really knowledge of the mountain. to be alive. and something else being not alive. That is how many so-called Peter Zappfe said: because it was so beautiful it had to die. was against the dignity of the mountain. Seeing the mountain as a living being. But how can minerals be alive? Well. 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.. This.. So it is on the level of symbol. There is a difference between Hallingskarvet and Gausta. and when they place a lot of stupid green things on top there. it has very little to do with human life. what is there. the mineral kingdom. Then you really destroy the mountain. in China. Gausta. because whatever is done. mining.It is not very admirable to try to stay alive. I feel it. even buildings I’m sorry to say are on its top. classes of biology. and I would have no hypothesis about whether it could be treated. But the term ‘being alive’ has a vastly more comprehensive sense among ordinary people.. the river was alive. as I did with Hallingskarvet. It is well done. diminished. but at least it is as high as Hallingskarvet and that make a kind of feeling of nearness between Hallingskarvet and Gaustatoppen. Mao Tse Tung was looking at mountains as a military man and they had all sorts of military vocabulary when they were. So this is a very different way of looking at it. the greatest slogan was the following: Let the river live! Let the river live. For instance. but philosophically. And the dignity we. and you could say: it died.
nature there. It is challenging to get above the tree line. and also for others. and I associate this advance. we would gain very much. very special! The only important thing is that humans live and must live and should live in not only dreams. To you. I don’t wish that other people should be like me there. The branches. If we could be able to see a little bit more like children. absolutely. getting upwards. Now. I don’t know. The conventional idea is that if you see a tree as being sorrowful or joyful. and you see the storms are keeping them small and keeping them in shapes that are not the ordinary ones. Yes. was a kind of saying no to my future. that’s just a tree. the tree. unhappiness. fond blowing in the wind. When you say ‘Oh. Some would find the opposite being the case. And different kind of branches: some being like this and some being like this. you see the happiness. it is in your mind.’ trees. and it cannot be seen as alive as clearly as Hallingskarvet can be seen. children are more spontaneous in the sense that reflection and conventional views of things do not yet play such enormous role. And what you see when you see a tree is so immensely more complex than what you think you see.’ Well. and you associate that of course with human movements. But as I say: I’m happy to be different from that. That’s a very difficult redevelopment. Arne. a symbolic life. It is said that I have distaste for big fir trees blowing in the wind. philosophy is full of respect for language. That is because sometimes I told about such trees outside my window as a child. Whereas I say the sorrowfulness or joyfulness of a tree is just as real You are not particularly fond of the fur trees.The instrumentality there and the domination of man are really making a mark on it. That is why I have written an article on the metaphysics of tree line. Well. where you come from more or less dense forest and you suddenly have this freedom of vision. And the slow movement. All this symbols which have nothing to do with verbalisation [clicks]. yes. 10 . I associate that with a movement from below the tree line to above the tree line. So. challenging mountains down into the forest is a good thing. of course. is for me. of such metaphysical value. Human life is life in symbols. immediately. So this. For many people it is the opposite and that is OK for me. Excellent. and up. where you have a broad tree line. austere. More mineral and less symbol. the tree is full of symbols. Yes. to take care of the forest and feel happiness in the forest. I was a doomed being which should vanish. back and forth like this. I was somehow doomed. there is a special pleasure in Norway. important. but with ideas that have a form of symbols. Some people say: below it is friendly and warm. where the trees are fairly small. why the tree line is important to you? It is not only the mountain. or that’s just such-and-such tree.’ But what you see. can you tell about the tree line. That is fine with me. the upward movement is important. It is now more an instrument. but also the very tree line. and they feel better and feel it’s more friendly. the real tree is what science talk about. to get into this state of children’s inner life. both increase in freedom and also increase of challenge. what I say is that in some kind of conventional thinking. get up. it is cold and hostile. high in the mountains. that’s very important symbols. then you grasp the tremendous complexity of what humans see spontaneously. and only to a small extent in verbal symbols. You once said: ‘We might have to relearn the way children appreciate trees. I think. but I’ve respect for nonlanguage. to get from the forest above the tree line. it sorrowful is not in the tree. if you take hours to analyze what you see. because we need people. that getting from the treeless. that’s a symbol for me. I had a lot of fantasies like that during the night. Symbols like a tree or a mountain.
being a stone. The Reductionist view works the other way up. what you spontaneously experience is dependent upon your special kind of existence in a great natural environment. Tvergastein. da-da-da-daah would sound differently. a part of nature so independent of us. I should maybe say the relationship between Gestalt thinking.. That is useful socially. when being in nature as vast as this. Well. very big. you point to the notes: ‘This is Fifth Symphony. So the whole is more than the part. Can you maybe explain how this idea of Gestalt Gestalt is important for you to nature. It is the kind of toughness and roughness and I sometimes thought I would call myself ‘Arne Tvergastein’.. And then if you look at details here: you see the form of the stone. its dimension. the social existence of notes. and the part is more than the whole. ‘I see a hut’. I belong to it. and its geometrical. with a tremendous complex Gestalt which is again part of a more comprehensive Gestalt which is a symphony. no no. I mean. But people from the West Norway have another explanation of the etymology of the name. again. A thing is just an abstraction. the hut. I see it in a mineral environment. And it is only by analyzing that you get down to particular beings and things. Reductionist from the parts to the wholes. That means that your life is in very comprehensive forms or Gestalts. East Norway: they think it is coming from a lot of quartz crystals. Why have you called this cabin Tvergastein? Talking about the hut I am looking at. as part of your spontaneous. But I like that word very much. and geographically. Well. only that you. the very vastness gets into your. da-da-da-daah immediately gets colours from the Gestalt that is the Fifth Symphony which is a tremendous Gestalt. all the stones. that’s an abstraction of course.. between East and West Norway. but I belong to it. But from a musical point view. So it all comes together. as I do at this moment. And it depends on who is sitting. is bigger than the whole. to have such a name. the dimension outside: this influences what you spontaneously see when you look at the hut.as its size. So you see. If you sit reading or writing or whatever you do. It doesn’t belong to me. went up here to fetch crystals. and life in nature. When people. as I consider Gestalt thinking. It is the notes together. if you are together with your girlfriend. form. which make the Gestalt. it’s nothing.. a tiny part of the Fifth Symphony is certainly conveying something that the whole cannot convey! So the part also. Because I feel I belong to that area here. if you are acquainted with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. the notes. and you see what we would call. immediately. it is the surroundings that take part in what I see. And da-da-da-daah is the smallest Gestalt within the first movement.. You see. no. But this is already philosophy! That’s good. listening to it.’ So it extremely important. in socalled holistic thinking. in combination with being in nature? Well. it is called Tvergastein. That’s a very abstract thing. But that would be silly I think. And there is a kind of polemics. but what you see in nature that is always. So your vision is not ‘I see a stone’. ‘the notes’. hundred years ago.. and from wholes to parts. looking at the orchestra. let’s say Gestalt. 11 . If I look at Tvergastein. which is again. all the vastness.. And if you hear: Da-da-da-daah.. you see the organisms there. Gestalt. you have to work from parts to wholes. after all this nature. what we call life in a place like this. like this. not the notes separately. Gestalt. But socially. that is difficult to say. ‘Tverga’ would then mean: ‘crossing’.. part of a Gestalt when you are really sitting there in a concert. some kind of form: those three points. of course. And that is often forgotten. completely spontaneous experience. there. if you place three dots on a black board. very beautiful crystals here. Why? Well it’s an old name. The contrast between the minerals. as humans. where it stands out as a living kind of being. here. What do you mean by Gestalt? Well. it is very difficult not to see it as a triangle.
I must admit. It’s very difficult to keep balance when the wind is blowing. it depends on the wind. yes. it’s quite a work to get water from the lake. And after thirty. so we cannot. in the winter. I am sorry. this winter. there are an enormous amount of rules. How did you get the wood up this high? It really did something very bad.It would be good. I talk about richness. four or five containers with water in the hut during wintertime. And in wintertime. But. But is unnecessary to have this distance and this hard work to get up there. no. and if you are going to ignite it. two How was the hut built? Of course. And there. two or three times. you have spontaneous pleasure. in October. namely they made three horses take the materials on the sledge. here. that it is not burned. they had this thinking that: ‘Well. etcetera. Maybe you can tell a bit about everything tell that. they had a very bad time. We have a picture of them. They would be more valuable even if the hut was somewhat near the train station. So the poor horses. I think. so we will do what he says. to have it built was not easy. deep pleasures. there is only ten centimetres of snow and then you have rock. marvellous horses. then they go either into money. but I am richer! People say: ‘Oh. that is not real richness. you gradually find that .especially in wintertime . like the matches. My wife is a specialist in that. So I am sorry for this. without effort. it is very difficult to estimate something very highly.’ But when I then explain what real richness is. the very nice man who were in charge of this transport. And water. and the snow may be so hard. The horses had to drag material sixty-two times through the snow: bad effect on the horses! You have also the rules of Tvergastein. And matches. To melt water is very unecological because it takes so many calories from minus one to plus one. all the chemical in the tip of the match. and the other half I made myself. so I say: ‘No.. one would say ‘insane’ to have a hut up here. Then of course. And that was in 1937. because the northwest wind is against us. too many rules in a sense.. but with some serious background. as it is from plus one nearly to hundred degrees. when I have carried something up here. So to have. I use matches so fast. That you don’t spill anything because don’ you brought it up.it is unnecessarily far away to make things more valuable. said to me over the telephone: ‘Arne. Can you tell a bit about the rules? Well. I look at it a little differently.. I am sorry. but. completely. but this has to do with feeling. I have done it. if people understand that this place is rather remote. of course. for instance. And in October. very difficult kind of rock. on the whole. I am not adapted to the hut anymore. in wintertime. Sometimes. Or you have one meter. And the people who are the best carpenter of the area. because it costs so much on the market. especially. and I am rich when I live in this hut because I am able to satisfy all my most important needs. and we said sixteen or something. when I am using some kerosene in my lamps. but everything has a value here. I know it doesn’t count much. for instance. some places. he is not completely insane. And I said: ‘Yes!’ And they used sixty-two times. getting up here in October with this materials. She has a record of using the same match five or six times! And you see. Are we going to continue?’ Ha-ha.’ And they build it in fourteen days of very splendid weather. gives me not only a feeling of richness. down at the railway station. It was 12 . then. and defining richness as something very few people can have. and we have seen from when he was five years old. or I don’t know what. So I can use it. That’s to say: half of it. I was already a doctor of philosophy. not only a feeling of richness. say. that when you are more the fifty years old. The state of being frozen to the state of being liquid. we may use five hours to get up here. carrying fifteen times the sledge.. this is play. I am not talking about my feeling of richness. considered completely. no. 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. it is already thirty. And they also made the error to think that it would only be necessary fifteen times. that the village is a long distance and that you have to carry everything up.
you need the city! I have nothing against cities. four-thousand one-hundred and eleven days. You have company. they don’t like to be that high so they are carried by the wind. I have lived in twenty fourth floor of an apartment in Manhattan and it was fantastic beautiful sunset. which I don’t like. But more beautiful. probably sixty. insects are always interesting. today. because of the pollution makes it even more beautiful to look at. Makes no difference. Feeling at home. and so on. As amateur. it has to do .. You get warm. I feel at home with a certain philosophy.. you have not too severe storm. important. So if you are afraid of bacteria on the dishes. you have been here in total about ten here years. things have changed. And I may reach twelve years before I am too old to get up here. I can’t why not the kind of air. That’s a formula. Where you have everything. are a lot less insects. Four-thousand one-hundred and eleven. we are so rich here in the sense that: We get everything we really desire. compared to further down. You have so many good feelings! And you have time for dwelling in situations of inherent value. In a way. and not at home with certain other philosophy. feeling very well. I have seen. So you may have everything in an easier way than in the city.. experience. Another rule is that you don’t do the dishes. They are just unhappy. And it is between eleven and twelve years. I don’t know. And I need of course beetles. I think. sometimes. No.. we have each our own set of spoons and glass and so on. in the environment. rolling themselves in snow. when you don’t use your razor. and some not really like it. if you don’t wish company. [Sigh] During this more than four-thousand days and nights. for instance. You have no company.. But. you said. Dwelling in situations of inherent value. 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. And that is impossible in the city where you have all this trade going on. Dwelling and being home.. symbol of ‘home’ is very important and also here. Your own dishes! But even if you are four people. And the males all have very nice kind of sense here. Very good way of washing. first of all. eh? don’ A rule that makes people laugh. But this is how you see things. It is permitted. it is called Puritanical but it is really luxurious and it is Epicurean. fifty years old. That is good for me. So.or three matches.. It looks like what you have in your face. Has the experience. These here [points at climbing shoes]. You see. Feeling at home with something. But we need grasshoppers around. for instance. And also.not with this place but also general atmospheric pollution. The 13 . And now I don’t find more than forty. You have the same set for weeks. is that in a way. since 1944 or something. Maybe it has nothing to do with people. Because there are so few bacteria here. and I like also mosquitoes here. not at all. Because. All this buying. But it is a symbol of summer to have a mosquito at this elevation. You have snow. Dwelling at home. And here at this elevation. we have much less insects. I counted 220 insect species. to go cleaning the dishes every day. Like there But. And the young people they will also wash themselves in snow. You have food. so. And the old things. within Your idea of dwelling in a place. It is not necessary to make the dishes. You are at home with such-and-such. even in the middle of summer you have snow in the neighbourhood. by that. all the time. But. I have seen things happening here. And so: ‘Ah! A mosquito!’ Therefore I also get interested in more than ten species of them. It is rare. Everything has a value that is greater than in the city. so to say. New York. In the 1940’s. Heidegger has a lot of that.. a tiny grasshopper. So we need not much hot water. And they make no effort to get blood from you. I like the old things. Heideggerian? Yes. you just put it in the snow and clean it in the snow. if you wish company. Maybe. so. Very few bacteria come. mostly. dwelling. Do you know the reason why the diversity has become less? No.
not a complete smile but something in the neighbourhood of a smile. I have no metaphor for the shape of Hallingskarvet. the names I have of the climbs there. of course electric.‘Ah! ah!’ Haha. There are also changes that you see some electricity poles far away. Richness means abundance.. So in that sense we are anthropocentric. whether you like it or not. doesn’t disturb overdoesn’ you. somehow. no. Spontaneous experience is a very important word for me. it would be rare. but you also see animals. I ask many people about that.. would also have to do with the shapes of Hallingskarvet. But that doesn’t disturb me when I look at the poles. I just neglect them..’ I ask: ‘What would you say against having less people and more animals on your way to work?’ . seeing so much in their faces. as it is said. But now I don’t pay attention to them. Just to get back to the electricity poles. Solid. A certain aloofness. You see faces in it? Very much spontaneous experiences have to do with shapes of human beings. too many people around. and maybe over-consumption. And now you have much-to-much. But that’s very rare I think.. But they do not. I would like it. Another change is that you get the electricity poles. One more question about the mountain. There is a certain distance. But the shape is a little like that. in Norway. a certain solidity. And that’s all right when some people could look at it in that way. We don’t know much about nature! We cannot manage nature. belong there. They have a shape that is fairly beautiful. I would like to have more animals around when I go to work. And they say: ‘Ah. Let’ You once said that the troll. loaf Let’s talk about the mountain Andersnatten. as some priest or some religious people would have a kind of aloofness. So richness and diversity of living beings around yourself. The shape is. If I were here much more. I am not disturbed very easily. when you look at them? Talking about richness here. A lot of people resemble it to a loaf of bread but that is not your view of the mountain. So. you can develop your spontaneous experience to such an extent that your life gets richer. a certain. nevertheless. I think. It is not threatening you. It has to do with what you have too much of. these poles reminds me of that Norway uses more electricity per person than any other nation in the world. If I had to stay here all the year round. It is as if the mountain itself likes the distance. It’s a certain weight. I dislike that very much. carrying the electricity to Oslo. You have a special relation to humans. Humans are in the centre. probably. of bread. people experience 14 .. The poles themselves are very well made. when they were made. and it costs little money. then people. it is not a shape like this.ten years you get it back for some reasons we don’t know. And it’s not rough and tough in a way that would convey aggression or an enemy would like. in your view. you see very much things in shapes of human beings. The idea that they are used for consumption. for each part of Hallingskarvet. I like that I don’t see much of human influence. it is very difficult to get me disturbed by anything. Anywhere. So. who says that Hallingskarvet looks like a tremendous bread. And Buddha also has this massive body. Yes! How do you look upon it yourself? What is the appropriate metaphor? No. I have then a enormous number of spontaneous experiences. compared to animals around. But have also. like a Buddha. of energy. It is not a pinnacle. And so you see faces pointing.. I think. I must say. Aloofness. is it? mountain. with benevolence. But it certainly has a sort of weight. I am glad to say. because I have been too much in cities and too much crowded. Probably from when you’re one or two years old. yes. to some extent. not at all. And that is a good spontaneous experience. There is at least one person. When I am up here. there is something of eternity there. that is threatening you. You cannot easily see it fall down or anything like that.
But. this completely disappears. Which is: tremendous admiration for contemporary physical science and cosmology. tremendous beauty in this building. There is no heart here. And then people say: ‘Well. only asserts something about the abstract relations in reality. we could think of reality being atomic..geographical and physical -: they are only expressing relations between things. Before the analytic mind starts to interfere.’ So the spontaneous experience. in your life-philosophy. to fall over you. If you have a relation between two things. And not destroy so much as you understand the relations which are absolutely necessary to do anything. these philosophy spontaneous experiences are also quite important. But the abstract relations which are so important in acting. A big. it is because I have this opinion that science. and I think especially about natural science. experience. the immediate experience? What’s What’ important about it? Because. But if there were no spontaneous experiences. We have a road here and it is so small part of the forest that it makes no difference. and that is part of my philosophy. So it is a kind of critique of the place of science in your philosophy. we call the relata. you have nothing. The content of reality.’ So as long as it is a spontaneous perception of a Gestalt. and then you start analyzing the electrons and so you get into something that you don’t whether it is mathematics or physics. trees are the hair. you get then all the mythology about trolls into what you see.’ But if you start this way. And Gestalt thinking is such that this spontaneous perception of a troll is completely on par. Whereas the reflection then starts to analyze these things. has to do also with this concept of spontaneous experience.’ But then I would say: ‘It goes through the heart. Then you have some error in abstract relations of a geographical kind. If you see a mountain that seems to threaten you. You had then something interior there. when you get into the forest. Not about the content of reality. the electrons. Things and phenomena. culturally complex.it as being a troll. you have this feeling of being deep in the forest. The quarks. But what you see is a tremendously complex. It has nothing to do with the content. In your philosophy on ecology. And when I talk so much about Gestalt. you get directly through spontaneous experience. but it has to do with abstract relations. with reality. That is to say. And this is the heart of the forest!’ ‘That’s nonsense. And through analysis. the square meters of this road is tremendously small. the heart of this forest. is a perception of reality. And a Gestalt of course is then not only the shape of a troll but also the being as a troll. The square meters of it. direct. just certain distances. And if you then hit the road. and nothing with the content of reality. isn’t it? The immediate isn’ appreciations. the relations between them. you get into a worldview which resembles that of Immanuel Why do you stress so much the spontaneous 15 . And you start running. Yes. What you experience that’s. And you have nothing left of physical reality as independent reality. then. because people would for instance say: ‘We make a road now through this forest. Well. thing.. the strange particle. But the perception of the mountain threatening you. big fellow. as somebody saying: ‘It is a heap of stones. Whereas a perception of the physical relations of a mountain . that’s your imagination. You don’t see then a troll in the mountain. But as long as we believed in atoms. that which is such that you have a relation. You said that was an appropriate Gestalt for that mountain. saying there is no heart. deeper and deeper. you get to know about the structure. and it is quite clear that many artists or non-artists find that the shape is that of a troll. that’s what is there. But then the atoms was like whole. except through abstract relations. let me say. But science does not talk about that at all. planet earth systems. in my work in the relation between ecology and philosophy. Gestalt There is a mountain in southern Norway which has been used as an object for artists to paint. and it’s through the centre of the forest. when you act. then you have contact. is a completely adequate description of reality.
It’s far away to the borders and there is just forest. but you don’t have any access to it. So it is undermining for some people.’ And that is typical of deep ecology movement. the self here is not the tiny ego nor the social self. maybe there. what you mean by further. [grins] A similar Gestalt of the Sámi people. your social status. nature is something. your nearest. So there is nothing there. You are in the heart of the forest. of the power of the forest. You identify with your nearest. the great philosopher. Why do you stay here?’ ‘Well. who was caught by the police. that. The self has to do with that with which you identify. You end up saying: ‘Nature is without colours. ‘La Elva Gestalt Elva Leve. And it is part of yourself. is part of myself. You just say: ‘All right. the believe in protection of nature as a fast undertaking for the next century. the Sámi people. Whereas when you look at something you have made. That’s what many people do who are in philosophy. If I ask you: ‘Who are you?’ Who are you. and even without cause and effect. there will no heart left. that you are immersed in the forest and it is something so much greater than yourself. So this is how I connect then my philosophy of nature and my general philosophy. What you see there is infinitely complex. Even in contemporary so-called postmodernism. for the next two centuries. But you will say something about that with which you identify. So.’ Let the river live. It was part of a direct action in favour of the river that should not be used for hydro-electric dams. is your self. Because relations of cause and effect is something created by humans. is it wise Gestalt forest’ to articulate that further. we are in the heart of the forest. thinking that there was a big road here. So much greater. and to be there. if there would was a road nearby? Yes. the two parts would have a heart. or should you leave it as it is? Not much can be said. And to stay there.’ And I would say on Wednesday or Thursday. in here. it’s like cutting yourself. but what I call the ecological self. The heart of the forest would change. that he could say: ‘It is part of my self. what it is made for. In short: there is nothing in nature in itself! You have no access to nature in itself. this relation you have to your nearest. which you then realize through your identifications and the way you live. they astonished me. I think. and it is very big. basically? Who are you?’ You will answer with these close relations. So Self-realization. We now spend a week out in forest country. Because your self is much more than your ego. this protection of nature is a sham in a sense. where it is not dominated by human presence. a Sámi young man. the total reality in which you are immersed. Also with your job. I call it. as I use in ecological philosophy. that. so close connection with his self. If it is cut into. You identify with a place in such a sense. one young men there. and so on. you see the instrumentality. But cutting and cutting. And here shouldn’t be any roads ha-ha! 16 . not wilderness but free nature. would destroy something for him. standing where they should make a road. that cutting up and destroying. which you never can really see or appreciate. this here. eve Yeah. even without shapes. where do you think is the nearest where you get out?’ Maybe there. in the week: ‘Now. There is something there. Nothing reminds you of anything else. and it’s so much poorer in content. that you feel yourself is hurt when they hurt the place with which you identify. only a limiting thing. you end up in complete nonsense.Kant. And the police: ‘Why do you stay here? You are not supposed to stay here.’ You see. First of all people of course. So I say: ‘This feeling you have now of distance. So. There would not be a heart. we go into the forest. that is to say. And it is cutting yourself.’ It was the area of the river where his reindeer were crossing and he had been since boyhood. something in here. Where is the limit. And this Sámi young man was identifying so much with this place. You appreciate only your own ways of thinking and feeling and you are completely determined by your culture. that is to say. what you experience spontaneously in a rich natural setting. A Gestalt like ‘the heart of the forest’. through this term Gestalt. We go. that’s important to see.
But there are not that many big flowers for instance around here. so that anything that is ruined here affects my self. without knowing exactly what you do. And insisting that you don’t go on top of Hallingskarvet in wintertime. discovered and brought to land. Did you feel tiny yourself. So. some time after again. In panic of anxiety such that you have froth around your mouth and just like this for hours. And then I gave up two months earlier. I think. the more I identified. because his father were having a job somewhere else. And the smaller they were. with a panic. then I went to be successful in a social sense. But you could say that your own life is very good. well. and he thought I would be a good analyst.. especially before now. Now they inject. I had white coat and was introduced as a doctor. I could just do like this and they were killed.. did you learn more about this about feeling of tinyness? tinyness? Yes. So I was together and I identified very much with a shrimp. went to the sessions of When laterpsychoanalysis. Sometimes I would take them up in my hand and let them then go. The analyst would like that I should be an analyst myself.. Fourteen months every day. So if you are new to Hallingskarvet. And I had to do with the absolute. they made a lot of identifications.. at that time? Oh. and so on. so I made a lot of noise in order to get them taken away. in a sense when it gets to nature. I felt lost in a sense. and found such. So I liked very much to be together with tiny shrimps. but they were suddenly very small. When you. So I am glad. I had such a good time. I was rather lonely.. between age four and fourteen. we were.. and that has to do probably with my feeling of helplessness. I had two special patients. if there is a doctor Why was that? Well. But tiny shrimps. And I liked the tiny crabs.. And I had long. you go skiing with somebody else. to find out something about me. and he asked me to study psychiatry and I went to a psychiatric clinic in Vienna. but complete suffering.If I ask you: Who is Arne Naess? Where does he identify himself with? Well. there are mostly.. but I was successful with these tiny creatures. tiny flowers.. with the water to my knees. in order to not make stupid tourists fall down the cliffs here. You have.’ Because there is thousands of people who would like to die as soon as possible. not only physical pain. I said to my real mother. later-on. were you can identify with. So I felt I was together with them. But never say: ‘Life is wonderful. And who are in suffering. Or they would come and pick on my. except Sundays. But we. So. in shallow water. And then. 17 . I identify with tiny. green big. They are very curious looking and feeling around you. Extremely unhappy. Yes. long talks in the evening with an extremely unhappy patient.. we started with discovering my infantile neurosis. He was then at outlook for people who would be good analysts. There was such misery that I never got over it. then: ‘I have found the world’s smallest crab!’ But I didn’t really have found that. but I was introduced. What did you learn from that? from That one never should say that life is wonderful. of course. who would then come to me when I was standing quiet in the water. who knows Hallingskarvet. I had no mother and no father and I had only one friend and he disappeared very soon. And later with the more grand nature. along here. not. who tried to commit suicide and had unhappily been caught in Donau. When I have. they get this terrible kind of anxiety. I identify with the area here. and get under my foot. But I was no doctor of course.. and into the clinic again. with shifts. kind of wooden things. most miserable human beings that could be found. And I had to. sleeplessness and not being willing to eat. And later. That destroyed a little for me.. yes. pollution has taken away.. big river. And we found some things of value for who I am. weeks after weeks in the summertime.. We started with that. I could have something to eat for them.
that’s a good way of saying it. must not have that. because when I was sitting near a patient in such terror. you are working for something within your self. that is to say: Your motivation comes from your total view or your philosophical. technology and other things and you need not go back to your own philosophy or your own religion. of extreme suffering. compassion. as that. It is against my deepest concern for myself. average lifestyle. But you may have of course some bad habits ecologically..’ So it’s. when you are working in favour of free nature. which require a lot of energy to be made.. and it has. That is: to join in activism. If it is necessary. Yes. Arne. as well as for nature itself. it doesn’t cost more than just sit with somebody in extreme. And we cannot continue this lifestyle. need not have strong compassion. mostly. but of course in China they don’t. not even touching. But I have seen too much of. or better. not holding a hand even. can you go back to the year 1973. Something relating to something. that is a long term.. but not what I would call your Self-realization. but clearly. Pfff! Did it also teach you something about compassion? Yes. the term ‘deep ecology’. the reformist people. But in the deep ecology movement we feel that we do not have the right to reduce the life on earth.. So.. demands changes. If we ask you: ‘Why do you do this. and the supporters of the deep ecology movement see nature as having value in itself. they are generally in favour of very harsh policies that seem to make a lot of trouble for you. And every word in such a formulation.. that demands that. But just be there.they would inject something and they just fall asleep. they were tremendously grateful. after when they get a little better. ‘to be a supporter of the deep ecology movement’. except to satisfy vital needs. is open to different interpretations. Doesn’t it restrict your possibilities? Doesn’ Sure it will restrict your possibilities. So you can do something. not. of course. 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. I started this terminology in 1970 and the first.. To join on the basis of your life-philosophy or religion. you know. some people look at nature only as resource. what’s going on..’ So it is. too much probably. And 18 . It’s. I will not go by airplane in my vacations... with a deep ecology terminology... it flows from their inclination to live in a way that is universalisable. bad for that. it is bad for this. says that every living being has inherent or intrinsic value. they would have to go up. people in torture and people in extreme suffering otherwise. then there it has catastrophic consequences. those who go all the way back to what I call the ultimate premises. To say: Life is wonderful. because if China starts on this way. 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. why?’. We have to go down.. And I need not such-andsuch products. and say that we shall have that lifestyle. It cannot be done. if it is necessary: no car. within. But they say: ‘Hah. You go all the way back.. together with the others. That is unnecessary.. religious opinions. and of course in the Third World. that people. Now you get injections and so most places. That’s one point we have said since 1970. the supporters of the deep ecology movement do not stop with for instance: ‘It is bad for the health if you have such pollution. to get rid of the ecological crisis. So you are motivated from what I call ‘deeper premises’.’ You do not talk so much about pragmatic what you call pragmatic goals. we cannot live as we do. just sitting there. when you first coined the term ‘deep ecology’? What ecology’ did you mean by that? Well. In order to overcome the crisis has to do with practical things. 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. which we call then.. but is more basic. even. the rich countries have to go down in material consumption. so that you feel. the third edition of a little book was in ‘73. but of course in Third World you have the same going on. I will not so-and-so. and these supporters then have a job to do. or get an injection. You cannot do anything you would like.
In philosophy. So that your moral obligations towards your fellow beings. no... Or even after the blooming. disturbing ecosystems is of course very much smaller. you should not’. it is not far from ordinary language to talk about: ‘It has value in itself. question: Is there more or less intrinsic value? I say: ‘That’s up to you to find. have a very high priority. and that it is in many countries. and there it is up to you..’ I find that it is not for me. The best formulation is to say that there is something which every living has in common with every other living being. I made a questionnaire about whether people knew or used the term ‘intrinsic value’ or ‘inherent value’. without ruining something. for instance. they have to be there. saying: ‘No. towards the different living beings. this is a. It makes meaning to do something for it and so on. That is a thing we asked a lot of people about. or something.. of course. no. thank you. and it countries. no. that’s a completely different thing.. you haven’t. the Norwegian term. in the beginning. intrinsic value in more and less intrinsic value. and so on.the more people we are... there should be no kind of priesthood.. but that’. penguins in Antarctica. and this is the way I use it in the third point of the eight points.. the deep ecology movement. there is no use for trying to make universal rules about how to behave in particular cases like that. It’s. in ordinary language. Calling it: ‘You don’t have right to eat all this which is supposed to be for your sister. But you must grade very much your obligations towards different kinds of living beings. and there are flowers such as Gentiana Nevalis.. each of us. what is that? Well. that has a special treatment. deep ecology priesthood. completely ordinary language. with little consequence for the deep ecology movement. what we can do. I use the term ‘differences in obligation’.. doesn’t have a building like Greenpeace for doesn’ example? 19 . They have value in themselves so obviously! Obviously. it is unavoidable to step on plants. not that. no. But when you walk around the hut. So it is a term. what we can do. For instance flowers. if we are going to be ten-thousand million people. I think they understood that.’ So.’ It is a little different from saying: ‘No. we have to make rules to be different in different societies. And it’s not a juridical term. I know this is a plant which will give such-and-such flower. no. And then. don’ Yeah.’ So this.. No. it’s. Does every living being have an equal value? No. according to this terminology. Feelings like that. it’s not a sect. That’s. you shouldn’t grade Can you explain that the deep ecology movement is already existing.’ It had nothing to do with having them around you. that’s up to you whether you consider that intrinsic value. And it was so interesting to see that. for instance saying to Tom: ‘Don’t! You have not the right to eat the dessert of your little sister. it is not a sect. I think... You do not have the right.. It is a value we call intrinsic value. these are terms from ordinary language and not technical ones.. it is a term mothers use to. you may then try to make it more precise this term. Can you tell a bit more about value in itself? Like a plant having value in itself.. And... they belong there and we like them to be there. not only Norway. So it is also. on the whole.... no.. they have value in themselves. But if. they.. in disturb.’ And if you would like to go to that: ‘No.. and that is done. how can you identify with them or feel obligations. no. You must make a decision on which plants you step and on which ones you don’t step. penguins. you never saw them. fellow humans of course.. I make more effort not to put my feet on flowers. And your obligations towards your children and your own children even more. But it has a status there of a very special kind. But. The general opinion was: ‘Oh. and in different directions. And they did. Who says that we don’t have the right? Where don’ does this come from? It comes from the inner life of the supporters. you use the term ‘right’.. no. according to my intuition.
. or an organization.. you see. that is impossible! So. many countries and in many cultures. Finland and Soviet Union. and that made an impression. So. and you mention something like eight points and so on. But you also say. Questions of. And you have the Chipko movement. It is a movement in that kind of. There would be a lot of. invited to make a speech in the school. nobody stood up for the dam. they stand out in a very strong way. yes! Yes. up there. so on the whole. the people with higher education who were against. you have similar things in the movement.’ There are also people in India. it was unfortunately.. But they sent. if you talk to people in. for instance in an ecological direct action. very much risking their lives. And they set down.. And then it was wintertime. but I felt like that.. that’s. environmental direct action. and there is a movement for this. But it’s very. if they stand up to protect something in nature. most people. Because it was ‘in’ to be against it.. We stopped the building a road. and the Gandhian principles are adopted by the deep ecology direct actions. and there is thousands and thousands in many. that’s how. But there. democracy. and to stay there made an impression. or anything like that. And according to the deep ecology attitude. They were very angry.. So. Oh. and there are very few theoreticians. the unemployment will go down when we make this dam’. Only few of them have heard the term.. Can you maybe give an example of a deep ecology action. it is not bad to have a word for this. had coffee and they didn’t turn round to opposition.. especially those who said: ‘We need electricity... because we were more than thousand people and it was a very harsh time. and in other cases in the Third World. Hugging trees and risking their lives and livelihood. You have the Norwegians and the Sámi people. for instance in what you are eating. That is in part reformist and in part deep ecology oriented. And it was summertime and we didn’t reach our goal. Some years you should eat that.. And some of us then thought that here. have some coffee’ [grins]. you see [grins].. kind of people.. Those are between fifteen and twenty at the moment. risking their lives. And they have very many things in common.’ ‘Please sit down. but they were not opposing us in a violent way or anything like that. It is a movement. For instance. that’s how I feel. always. But in arctic Norway. who were in favour of the dam.. And Norway has two cultures.. these arctic people you have in Norway. or would be justifiable. and so on. that is how I felt a long time! I mean. We couldn’t make a thing that is harming the Sámi people. When they come like this to our camp..But you should not think of it as a party. who act from inclination already. also. I mean those who try to verbalize more or less general value statements and hypotheses. that also would injure the Sámi people. And in schools for instance. according to the Gandhian principles. there was a plan to make a big dam that would also. Yes. when the police came? Yes. far north... and not that. And then they built big dams.. which was necessary to start. But were you sitting on the ground. you saw when I made a speech.. two people. if you talk to them and about things.. this must not be done. so many will say: ‘Well. Sweden. it was very cold. But they have nobody who thinks that dictatorship of any kind would be useful. you have to be very polite and very nice to people who oppose you. and they couldn’t resist that temptation. to stop us.. of course.. There were people then. By theoreticians. yes!’ And some will say: ‘Yes! I need. there was a direct action. there are people in the deep ecology movement who have never heard the term.. who I would consider theoreticians of the deep ecology movement. Hydro-electric power stations are all over Norway. So you see it is very difficult class questions. the government sent a big steamer with six-hundred police. like the one at the Alta dam? ecology 20 . Alta. but not necessarily anarchism or not necessarily soand-so. Very strong kind of democracy. very angry: ‘Hwrrrhhgg..
we can have electricity from other places here in Alta. Did you go to prison yourself? Pardon? Yes. ha-ha. to get in prison.. And using the river for fishing. To let Professor Arne Naess in prison that’s not good. the life of it is harmed. the term ‘the river’ also includes people living around there. that you feel a unity with nature. of course. yes. he was sure they have no technology to unfasten us from the rock. river live. Marvellous! I don’t know who made that slogan but whooo. yes.. And that is typical deep ecology. to use it.. you might say: ‘This place is part of myself. very strong iron things. I feel a unity with nature. many people will say ‘Yes. so.. it is a symbol.. to the ground.. like fire. Using the river for everything. the river. You can. so letting the river live includes of course what you call the ecosystem. they went back again. And.. And I said: ‘Oh yes. distinction between culture and nature. having a good chat with the police. yes.’ And of course they had things made so that they were able to not harm us at all. because some would.. but it’s unfortunate I think. in a Green society we would have police also.. that is much better than that you foresee that have to get some thousands of crowns. and foresee going to be taken prison.. If you use the term ‘mysticism’ and ‘unity’.. That is important to message. to get prison instead of money. So they didn’t.’ Saying that it. of course. you ask for prison.. Most. And it is also clear that the river.’ And they say: ‘Oh.. And if you gladly go into prison. ‘Well. There is something there. I asked for it. Isn’t it a form of nature mysticism? Isn’ I think that is a too strong term.. A second time and third time. What was the slogan of the activists? The slogan seemed to be very well chosen. But: Let the river live.. here. it was: ‘Let the river live!’ La Elva leva. yes. I will not go there and carry them away. in a way and. And then they get very harsh. and police have no choice. And did you get punished? Oh yes. Getting from further south and not disturbing anything Sámi. we had specialists showing that that was an alternative. But people would say: the river is still living. Ha-ha. I mean. I feel I am part of nature’. modern technology.’ Carrying is also interesting. In ordinary people’s mind. some of us had a very great privilege to be fastened with very. In Norwegian: La Elva leva. And one of the most active there.. Let the river live. then? Well.Can you describe what happened.. they have an idea of ecosystem. that was the thing! Let the 21 . they couldn’t say: ‘No. asking for what training they had in order to carry so many people and so on. No. they say.. It’s. As a fairly old man. I would talk to the police. It is still going on. it is a rule in deep ecology. Not: We need not electricity. you see. but don’t you see there are relations that distinguish..’ If you are a Sámi. some. practically nobody went into prison. Sigmund Kvaløy. when there is a dam. this is a symbol. we got punished.. It has nothing to do with. thank you.. but you see they wouldn’t let me have.. it is dammed up and it’s. yes. Police who are against this dam. All this has to do with communication to the Norwegian people. after the dam.. You may use the term ‘mysticism’. I mean. because so many people think of religion in a sense that is not appropriate.. But certainly some of the theoreticians have a kind of nature mysticism. according to the feelings of the population. after being carried away.
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 eat. so we were all very good in German. And river. when the students started being Nazified [sigh]. Did you also spend time here. But then when I was here with two of my most darling students. because of these what he called ‘eternal laws of nature’. 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. 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.. so we learned a lot. I cannot leave a part of myself.. you see.. very important ingredients of both National Socialism and fascism. And the daughter of my psycho-analyst had to jump out of the window.. had.. Why do you stay here?’ And he said: ‘This is part of myself. eight litres.. You were active in the resistance movement too.. maybe. So I sometimes carried a lot of weapons in my rucksack [grins].. that is absolutely poisonous for fascists and National Socialists. go getting violent. It is so stupid. for instance. no. ha! Tigers. Now. and I was active in an organization that was violent. there was some kind of strangeness about us.. against the Nazis. Some people will say: ‘To talk about the sacredness of the soil. looking down upon weakness is one of the important.. The real thing is to get a violent solution.. There was kind of excitement among the students and they would be violent.. And then to have a kind of. but that the Sámi people saw the river as some part of themselves? The Sámi. especially when the university was shut. and. And they were very good in German. where they were going to have the road. where he was staying. I was in Oslo and in 1934.Can you maybe tell again. I had already written a book in German. Yes.. So it is a spontaneous reaction. And this is said completely spontaneously by Sámi people without any kind of formal education. against Hitler. but. Hitler talked in favour of nature. every human being has intrinsic value. But I wouldn’t use weapons of any kind. reminds us of Himmler. some when. but not humans. you see.’ But they didn’t find it! Ha-ha. that is very. saying that. and the police asked: ‘Why do you stay here? It is not. And he is part of the river. that was part of himself...’ Five years. secret service. but I didn’t look down upon those who were fighting with weapons during. especially when I was... and physical strongest and mentally strongest would kill the weakly. I mean. ‘You hurt me. But it is interesting that Hitler of course liked nature. Goebbels had that.’ And I decided: of course we do that. from the very start. in the hut when Norway was occupied? Yes. you told it already you yesterday outside. occupation 22 . and they all drank it and You yourself have had quite some experience with the fascist occupation of Norway. because somebody. big tank of milk. And he is part of the river and the river is part of his self.. So. They were. I was here for a long time and the head of the Gestapo in Geilo heard about this hut. And this chief of Gestapo there gradually gets a more mellow. But to make a kind of argument. ‘35. river is part of his self. What is you response to that? Haah! Himmler had a sense of archaeology and certain other things... how can you talk in favour of nature?’ And so on. you hurt me if you do something to this place. that every human being as such has intrinsic value. Spying. He was staying at the riverside.. which is struggle and violence. so how can you have a good relation to your old mother. and thought: ‘Aahh! It better be burned. to somebody who is eating: ‘Well there are people who eat other people. There is no plus to have a nonviolent solution of a deep conflict. And the sense of humour of those students are just unbelievable. got hold of a big. what you call it.. First floor.... And so the violent. And of course. secret... And he was not supposed to stay there. the strategy of violent solution of conflict is also the second ingredient.
because human are fantastic beings. what..there are so many unwanted babies . every year.’ But it was such. the more difficult it is to keep up the richness and diversity of nature.. not knowing that it may be burnt down. and much Why is it so important to respect the richness and diversity. He simply couldn’t resist. 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. you see... there is one less.... you wouldn’t really feel the change that is necessary in the production of babies. and against. It is not imperialist of us to say this to the Third World? No. That’s to say: the others could also live on that level.. no. And we have to go down.’ We have also formulations saying that an increase. that when we stop going down.. he didn’t smile. we just see that you cannot be imperialist because there are no new continents. those two. and for the head of this Gestapo thing.’ and so on. but the next century. And in the non-rich.. as. it was a fantastic event for all three. this situation. non-dominated by humans. But we have to go down in material standard of living. I mean. so far. Did you spend time during the war looking out of the window to see if they were coming for you? No.. the ‘heavy water people’ and so on. without catastrophic consequences. There a professor was scolding. And that day. after Geilo and people saying: ‘Oh. among 400 babies.. But the term decrease . ‘Free nature’ is the term for pieces of nature not dominated by humans. there is a problem there... they didn’t tell me that they really drank all the eight litres. ha-ha.. and I scolded my students.. We have exploited new continents in order to get rich. saboteurs on the Hardangervidda. And if ten percent of un.. the eight points is: ‘It would be better for humans if there were fewer. they are not disturbing nature yet. I think people who have had the opportunity to live as children in free nature: to 23 . and very seriously destroy much of what I call the ‘free nature’. is so nonsensical from a deep ecology point of view. of babies who are not really produced because of the parents really want them .. So. they try to. any kind like that! How could you drink eight litres?’ You see. You two students. you are not supposed to go back to the cottage. and down-scaling the population. so far enough... ‘Well. ‘Nature is more important than humans’. you see. and the Gestapo chief. I said: ‘No. Above the turmoil in the rest of Norway... no. because I didn’t know at the time that they were looking. to not reduce it? Well.. You cannot get rich because there are no more continents. So. this is questions of hundreds of years. we have to go down. like the area here.. better for non-humans. But from the police you will get two tickets to get this train back to Oslo. I didn’t. how we live is universalisable. I was completely relaxed here. also in the Third World. I only knew that later.then people think in terms of one generation. And the Gestapo then thought maybe this is for the sabotage. of course. with each of them having intrinsic value..if you could reduce that to ten percent. they said: ‘Thank you for this being able to get the ticket’. You are very unfortunate. And then: ‘No. and to think that we should kill some of them. if there is half. so to speak. but he was mollified. it would be strange if we were able to do it within 400 years. Or 200 babies were placed where there really produce 200 babies. I didn’t really. far enough that eight or ten thousand million people could live on that level without seriously.they left it on the road.’ And leaving the place.. don’t thank them!’ that was going too far with the Gestapo! [grins]. decrease of human population is necessary to have the nonhumans realize their potentialities. it is enough. totally. so I then started telling them: ‘What? Did you drink all that? And it is war now. in the rich countries... that would be fabulous in the rich population. two students drinking all. or anything like that But the more people we are. So I was not looking.. eh. so many people don’t have any kind of.. one of points. if they’re produced 199: that’s enough. And even if it is said again and again and again.
. what we have in German. And it’s very different from biodiversity. the saying.. and was listening.. And this is for my philosophy very important. necessary for real human fulfilment to have this access to free nature? Well. and one of them. before I was made. for instance here.. So I feel I have one second of life now in this fantastic development that is infinitely greater than me.. the eagle. and so on. say to us: ‘We have. Well. and you will see that it is meaningful to do something for other beings than just humans. they may tell. to nature is one of the things you would have to have in this all-sided maturity of human beings. but he didn’t quite like when I was throwing something. don’t worry. the only thing to have a little nature is good for you. Then one aspect of your maturity would be a mature way of looking at other life forms than humans. but then it went about three metres further away..I don’t know whether it is a female or not -. there may be only one in our galaxy among more than hundred-thousand million stars. for lemmings or mice. yourself. I think that Selfrealization. the greater you feel your life here. But they’re all. You see. ‘abundance’: you think just about the number. who live around here. If you get depressed. of biodiversity. the term ‘richness’. you see practically no wild animals. And that’s a good feeling. They are interested in not being trampled on. I looked through this window. I like that because it is a little more than just counting. But somehow. They could just as high level of Selffulfilment and Self-realization. It is very different from biodiversity. don’t worry.. that is to say: all-sidedness of maturity. I use richness. you see. they are interested in water.them it is very important for their quality of life. that I am in a galaxy here... when people get sufficient opportunity to live as they wish to live. you are inclined to keep up the richness and diversity. And I couldn’t sit here and talk without this happenings hundreds of millions years ago. and we. But. there are some animals. So. there is no arrogance necessary in deep There is a difference between abundance and richness.. seeing the fox staying and looking at me. of course.. So I wouldn’t say there is something lacking there in Self-realization. I wouldn’t say that at all. there would be a planet. you have some marvellous birds. and so on.. that’s the.. most people will be in favour of the richness and diversity of life on this fantastic planet. they can hear some. worry.. a wild animal living here all year.. but there is a surplus of whales. And it’s important also.. or in Norwegian: alside. in having interests. We are not interested in the limit of extinction. It. the surplus. we have enough. we say. you might say it is only snow and rock. Whhpp. in a very deep sense. for instance foxes.. Can you maybe tell a bit more about this idea of richness? What richness is. No. we always wish to give some food of something and.. All year! I do not do that. then: I say what I say... we need not be afraid of extinction. Don’t. but only as tourists you can see if. here. yes. still.. ecology movement. Staying there and looking into my eyes and I looked into his eyes .. no. So. similar to us. And that’s a tremendous experience. So then. in their community life. there may be biodiversity. And the more you have of animals around here. the more or less deep ecology relations.. it’s. And: If people of other planets come here. and there are hundreds of millions of years behind me. as I call it. because if you have had free nature. Trusting me! Not being interested in me any longer. going down for lack of water and you have joy from helping them. the. they’re all.. But if you take all sides together. if that is supposed to be all-sided or many-sided. but trusting me. But we will cut down some of the population of you and 24 . in a way. and abundance would be a better. if you talk about. and you get this notion that they are.. But some people are so tremendously mature in their family life.. because. So I am very sorry that it is not much to be seen [coughing]. then the relation. Whereas. access to free nature. I mean. I think that the people never had access to free nature. a more precise term. So bio. we eat those... Because they are able to listen through the snow. the plants. I don’t know. Is it not. They can hear. And I tried to give some food. biodiversity has to do with the limit of extinction.
you have shelter. when we talk about the realization of the fulfilment of the potentialities of human beings. But it is not the same as a culture. psychiatric patient... It reduces my quality of life a little.every year. But you are not pessimistic? No. you see from. in detail. So there is. and you have certain other things. but the misery is so terrible. So. A culture.. or next generation of Norwegians. it tends to be a vital need that the family or the neighbours have a car. and then.. And in the arctic Norway at the moment. But I think the chances next century is small. through this generation. [clicks] But the loss of cultures seems to be a one-way oneprocess. you only hear a very well known piece of music from Mozart. Especially city people who are not afraid of what’s happening to different kinds of vegetables or what they are making. Yeah. Whereas. They cannot stand having wolves Why is it a loss? I think. I think. Because their children are. And what. the number of cultures which are not industrialized . they’re going extinct or getting near to extinction. sometimes I wake up thinking about this misery. for me of course. I take cultural diversity of humans on par with species diversity among non-humans. the possibility of economic unification of the world. And that is. 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. it’s nothing more. Vital needs is relative to the kind of society you are in. the education of a formal kind will be a vital need.. for instance.. What they had in 25 . not like those people coming. Let me ask: can you explain the difference between basic needs and vital needs? With basic needs. Then I think..our method of killing.... all of them. for instance of musicians. which is impossible for us. I think we would be. I mean. you can read about old fantastic cultural achievement.. cultures which tolerate other cultures. Does the feeling of this process happening make you sad? Yes. and in Norway. And this is how I see this interest about the extinction level. at this time. you have food.. they are influenced from other cultures. There’s a peace movement and then the social justice movement and then we have the deep ecology movement. the potentialities of humanity. all over. But they were small cultures. we vitally need the territory. [grins] So. and saying that to us. You have then only subcultures. there are three great movements. where they live in music. You have marvellous subcultures. and we have to do something to it. This is [obviously?] we should have abundance of life around and most people like abundance of animals. like the old Indian Sanskrit culture. generally. important. the same kind of products you buy. for instance. it is impossible for us.. You say: next to biodiversity. our method of reducing the number is so much superior to your. from a deep ecology point of view. a necessary condition. every year. to. and the vital need of sheep owners is to not to have any wolves around. And that’s then. today. this fantastic misery. that is.. by a strong world market. when I was 22 years old. That’s the very end to this [clicks]. You are dead. I wouldn’t like cultures which do not tolerate other cultures.. not considering the twenty-second century. as you have within New York. If you have the same. pfff. their mind was so fantastic. Because. sometimes yes. [laughs] We might have turned the tide. they’re. Yes.. we need the territory. but not dominated by any definite kind of culture. when I think about that. I am afraid that it is practically impossible to have deep cultural differences. it depends on what we do today and tomorrow. the same kind of economic system all over. I mean this. great concern about the unification. that the potentialities of humanity on this planet is much narrowed down if you have the same culture. We may have chance. also cultural diversity is important. So we are superior. That’s a vital need for them. when I think of my patient.
you cannot under any circumstances kill it. quality of life. when you know about it. The quality of life depends on how you manage the situation. they would be get. quality of life is a very important term. they shouldn’t have had.. your quality of life may be very high.. information machinery. also there are a couple of other big carnivores that could do the job. So it is a vital need for them. your cancer. Can you explain that a bit more? Well. culturally. and of course your. But to take over God. that’s an extremely important question. Bears have a very high cultural status among people who are sheep owners. It’s beyond any kind of machinery you could have. or whether you don’t understand how terrible your situation is. You have cancer.. And you have to stay with each. no friends. Ha ha. and half-day jobs in rural. how. so they would kill any wolves they happen to see. And then you can say: ‘There is a higher life-quality among women with full-day jobs. as the bears. Killing is absolutely compatible with having. in my opinion... your illnesses. we have to kill a lot of reindeer every year. we couldn’t. with recognizing intrinsic value. And you cannot just ask: ‘How-do-you-feel?’ You have to go round the question. And sometimes they eat some sheep.around. they would just harm them and.. What are your concerns. So. but not wolves. Oh yes. has value in itself. or something like. you are ill. there is more of them at other places. of course. But it may be also high. But if they are badly educated. have so little knowledge of what is going on in nature and that would be permanently like that.. we can have a little more. There is more to saying: ‘Lifequality has not to with how you live but how you take how you live. all over. We have made the wolves extinct around here. that they would say: ‘Oh yes. Because they get hungry and starving and they get thin and tiny and having a bad time. Can you explain the difference between ‘quality of life’ and ‘standard of living’? life’ living’ Well. It would be together with the humans. they could have farms or sheep. like to shoot wolves. the quality of life of Jews in Norway was very high. about life. with practically no big carnivores. that’s a bad expression.. your worries. a God. having cancer. probably. so that if you think this animal has intrinsic value. what other kind of worries. a single leaf you couldn’t.’ But it has not the status. All right. And within 30 years probably. It’s too complex. doing that? Yes. It’s a vital need for them. and there is no question that people in these valleys where there are.’ So. [sigh] And some of us felt that any day Gestapo would come and drag them away.... That requires. has nothing to do with whether you’re stupid or not. they have value in themselves. because the term ‘quality of life’ is getting more and more popular. how strong are suchand-such worries. You can generalize about quality of life. But it is important that in 1941. economic worries. It depends on how you can manage. Because the thing we can do is manage our own interference in nature and a little more. a God with brains would never tell humans: now you take over the management of nature.. but we cannot manage nature. if they behave. But that is a very special situation. also. But the wolf. but: no thank you. how you react to the way of life. Because quality of life has just to do how you feel life. they say.. And so it’s misused. And eh. it’s misused.. in this cases... because you don’t know about it. you 26 .. Their is no logical relation there. Many thousand reindeer are killed for ecological reasons. and then they have to be killed. How you feel life. reindeer here. Bears. Is that not that mankind is then sitting at the seat of the Creator.. what kind of economic worries. Which are your. wolf. But the quality of life. that’s OK.. 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. you see. we are going to do the job.. or in district Norway. it will probably not be economical interesting to have sheep in Norway. what’s high. each human you are interviewing. yes.
that they were leading Californians in. I mean. I fumbled getting some food for it.. it didn’t like that. you were wrong.. more generally. if you don’t find meaning of life. as usual with humans... and the abundance. And of course. or something like that. it’s describing the main features of the world. it’s after all something secondary in relation to the personality. So. of course. late 1940’s.. this fox has meaning.. That’s old-fashioned. postmodernism. Even if we. when I was in California. whatever you eat. it was so nice to have.. so the tremendous difference between the fox and the human. and mice. So it is both descriptive.. verbalized total view. you are totally responsible in relation to what you believe. at Tvergastein. And. That’s difficult.. It is not so easy to have a very high standard of living. than to the children of others and so on.. And you then try to find out where it went wrong. your spontaneous reaction for or against is very important. The difference was. to behave in such a way that they are all over here. accept what your system says? And then you get into a situation where you say: ‘No. There are too few. if you would like that word. not to the right’. we were completely on par.] high standard of living.. whatever you do. views.. but you [. you are going against your verbalized kind of value hierarchy. but when I was just giving. So. So.. like peacemovement and this movement. What is a total view? Did you recognize something of yourself in the fox? Natural. what country you are in and what social and political situation.. quite stupid. after all. because there is such a cynicism and that’s used by what is called the post. and pffff. [smiles] near. trying to give some food. He went a little further down. Arne. that I was a visitor here.. you would have a fantastic standard of life.. is too big for 27 .. That search for truth and validity on a large scale is out. also has hypotheses about who you are.but gradually they tolerate that they eat some things. That fox was looking at me and I was looking at the fox. it’s a view that has certain value priorities for your life..I am sorry.. that they take that. you know. where in your total network of your opinions.. Well. to sitting here and suddenly I saw a fox.. and that was a joke in 19. are you really. more animals around here. and that it has meaning. I think.. that’s very bad. you have to. but you looked to your psychiatrist as others would look to the dentist. some hen or something. some people like to kill foxes . I go to the right. where-ever you are. at every moment. The value priorities that. And value priorities... because foxes are able to hear the lemmings and other small. because he was so much against Hegel and a system. trivial. even if you have a tremendously well worked out.. so that you are more.’ And then. Do some disturbance for humans.. exactly down here.. university people. As to richness of life here. Of course in itself. what he called a system. and then standing and listening. pfff. three times do this and find out whether you really. they were leading in standard of life and leading in number of visits to psychiatrists. he didn’t like that. You as a person are always above the system. but if you have a system. I have to go to the left now. where the fox was living here all year.. So.Also to find meaning in life? Of course.?.. your. and this great movement. according to Kierkegaard. that doesn’t disturb the feeling of unity. what they’re doing underneath the snow and underneath the soil... and now you have cultural conversation and small narratives.. that’s. you interpret Kierkegaard as saying that you are always responsible to develop a total responsible view. you have more obligations to your own children... what I say is that it would be marvellous to have more. the feeling of what we call identification. Because. the terrible condition of humans are such that you are responsible for your choice.. so that you say: ‘According to my general view. And I interpret him to say that. Which is difficult for humans to get. completely: one looking at the other. you see. can you explain that? that? I don’t think that is typical for Kierkegaard. But I think that. and. So you have more or less fundamental views.. some people kill . and today that’s more important than ever. quite trivial. I will not go to the left.
what Gandhi would say. we are not Godless. that today. this is. Fortunately. So your act. narratives of a smaller kind. and also about the future of your own self.’ What is nihilism to you? Nihilism will say that there are no opinions any better than any other opinion. it was like that!’ Next day you may say: ‘Oh no. in the post-modern age... just for instance your desires at the moment. you are. I was not mistaken!’ And that is typical then for human beings. and don’t have this arrogance to try to erect consistent views of reality and so on. but not Godless... in principle and in practice. we are now realizing the consequences of what Nietzsche said. Fallibility is such that you never have a guarantee to have the truth in your hands. It’s just a kind of belief in general fallibility. this is correct of you to do. no. saying: We cannot reach any truth and we cannot reach any truth. but also in the old Greek culture you had a couple of philosophers who were like that. so-called postmodernism... the next century. one use that goes back to Pyrrho. that’s natural you do. I’m mistaken. That the search for truth is over.. That scepticism is very different from nihilism.us. and you know your power is tremendously small towards others. that ‘God is dead. But that’s not the case. that’s alright. to have small narratives to talk to each other. Cultural conversation. this will not last long. I have published a book on a very special sort of scepticism. And if I say.’ dead. That is out. what will be your opinion tomorrow. for instance. And there are no values in any universal sense. and you have certain values which are just absolute for us.. was. such that you say that you have no guarantee that you have the truth in your hands. ecology movement. silent’ I think I should add. to act and go into the centre of conflict which you think are important. So it’s extremely different from nihilism. no thank you. and I think there are more and more waves. probably has completely consistence there. that you have never a guarantee to be completely in truth of what you say. You’re no guarantee. sure.. as I am when I write selfbiography. What. there is a wave in philosophy.. a Greek philosopher. at the same time as you must be strong in your action. as today. We may be atheists. ‘Oh yes. 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. there may be a lot of errors. Gandhi thinks of himself as an orthodox Hindu. But some say. And it asks for open mind. at the same time as you are aware that you are been mistaken all the way! There might also be another form of nihilism. You have no guarantee in this about the future. such that against torture.’ So you see.. according to this kind of scepticism. nobody 28 . completely open mind.. that you are not Godless. this. you may have definite values of such a kind. Is their a difference between scepticism and nihilism? Yes.. Hmm. I think. the spiritual vacuum of this time. ‘Oh yes. We just have small conversations and narratives to each other. So anything can happen. of people saying that ‘God postis silent’. You are. And some people think that this leads to a kind of nihilism. but he has great respect for militant atheists. so to say. And that’s. But you may say: ‘No. what we are going to have is locally. If you are against torture. I mean scepticism. and you come back to serious questions which are more or less global. A Christian God. and so you can just do what you like. it is in to have a kind of. but we are back again. Any kind of vary serious great movement like peace movement. that you have this fallibility. where it is in to have such-and-such opinion. to have total views which are more or less fragmentary. which I find very much. is out. I think is very much good in it. you are responsibility.. but we are serious people. And that is a big distinction for a Gandhian and others who have. you may have ten ways of using the term but. God is not dead in the sense that we still have priorities of value. There are no values which are such that you ought to follow this and realize those values. And you are liable to be mistaken about your past. so to say. but always you act locally.’ Well.
who say: We are. they think are valuable. yes. freedom of choice is tremendous. like myself. you get. Well.. So it pays. and it has always cost.. if you read a lot of history. a Jewish philosopher said to me: ‘How can you be that sceptical? And we have such joy as a Jew. I think. not as a mortal kind of doubt. That’s of course nonsense.. oh. if you have been brought up with a definite kind of God. they speak about the silence of God.. I think. And that’s good in a sense. It’s all there. But I will just say that life as a phenomenon. as believe in God. People not finding a place to belong. a definite kind. They find something meaningful and other things not meaningful and they are willing to die for certain things. and one thousand years ago. Can you explain that a bit more? Well. also in the Middle Ages.. Of course. I think. never come back to anything like definite views of life. I am doubting. ‘Oh. Thousands of people are suicidal.. And your instinctual life is. how the world has gone to pieces. I am doubting. they feel that God is silent.. this great distance between the cultures. 29 . what to do with yourself. So that’s.. I would like to be like my friend who is believer in God and next life.’ But then she would laugh and say: ‘I can’t do that. or something.. I wish I could. I had a mother who said: ‘Oh people. So.. now. God is not taking care anymore. than if. We have to pay for having this mind and this kind of possible. the development of life in six hundred million years is wonderful and fantastic and unbelievable. for instance. like the Swedish film maker Swedish Bergman. not as anti. I don’t know. that you. and will always cost.’ And they were sceptical. and definite views of greater and lesser values. it costs.. when there were very. in the future.other than human beings. and therefore I would never say that life. It costs very much.Still there is. how. And it then breaks down. or a pig.’ So. we should be helping them.. We will follow our spontaneous impulses as long as they are not too bad for other people.. to get rid of their life... and they’re suicidal. as it was one hundred years ago. What shall I do? My God. has much less to say than with a fly. that was a joyful scepticism. [sigh] Great spiritual suffering. being a human being.’ The Jewish scepticism is one anxiety and frustration. I doubt!’... with definite kind of goals for you.. is wonderful. and so on. Where? Where is it? In the minds of people. I am doubting.’ So. saying: ‘We don’t know much. this means that this But even people with a Christian or another religious background may say that this world is this falling to pieces. So many young people say: ‘I don’t know what to do with myself. just as we think going to die as a thousand years ago. maybe completely blocked in your. potentiality of reflecting all the time.. With this threat of atomic war or the ecological crisis. then you get into trouble very much easier. still quite a lot of spiritual suffering at this time. where people were supposed always to be Catholics.. at the moment. and nothing is worth anything and so on. But that has been like that in old times. with a mother who was like that and with a suspicious about every teacher at the school. the brain and the entire human mind is such that you see alternatives which seem not to be open to animals . thousands of people who rather die than live. I think. go on living. you don’t get into having a very strong belief that there is definite kind of God. that those are mistaken. That’s all there. for some people it’s an awful thing. area of freedom makes that you get completely. we don’t know. I think.. they still find something value-less and other things valuable. And in some cases. We can see completely different possibilities for yourself and for everything. It costs.’ Whereas a Hellenic scepticism of Pyrrho. being alive. Some 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. you see how terrible things have happened then. ‘Oh my God.. you don’t know what to do.
the. It is frightening for many people that humans are so able to be. There may be a tremendous big stone on the way down. by chance. And he said: ‘My world is gone. He was very depressed. that shouldn’t disturb you much. So I’m a great believer in equanimity.. adapting to a new kind of reality. developments. it’s frightening. His world. And that is typical of some of the sceptics. or. There are great problems ahead and there is no certainty about things going towards catastrophe. who was a free Indian. was his name. And if we were young. not believe of a very dogmatic kind of anything. he said. You go on. it doesn’t take long time before they’re just as protective minded.’ So. There is no 30 . whatever.. that we have wars of such-and-such terrible kind. to get into be a torturer or to be a saint. could destroy more than 95 percent of humanity. and there is no reason to stop and say: ‘We are helpless’. and this diversity of cultures. and us.. let’s say two hundred years. a trust.. overcome the ecological crisis. the.. I don’t see any sign that the world is going to pieces.. pushed into some other reality.. that’s talk... you try to do this. you are.. But you might argue that there is still a huge difference. that you will have. or not coming. Like the American Indians. we are suddenly drowning in a flood coming through the house here. I don’t know. We are just going to go on and trying to protect our own life and the life of others. And they are there. And hitting us within two seconds.. in olden time.. The. And not that the possibility. sometimes your world simply go to pieces. we used to live in an enchanted world. very different kinds of characters. completely. These doomsday preachers are just doing harm. this was olden time.. is gone to pieces. were caught in 19 so-and-so. the last Indian for instance. He was taken very good care of. the last free Indian. You just try to help what photo: Doug Tompkins geographically et cetera. You do this now... But before the Middle Ages. that we will. We don’t know much. We have to be educated. a long time ago.. we would probably show very.. not only five or ten years. million species are going extinct or four million species are going extinct. And today. between a Sámi person. now we live in an age of the disenchantment of nature. So. some of you. and two hundred. but it also is a very good thing. trust. and this. but that’s talking. And then you have five percent and that’s enormous number of humans. Ishi. so we just go ahead.’ That’s. who lives in an enchanted world who feels the connection to. but a trust. So human beings are such that they seem to be completely stuck in one kind of way of living. getting into free nature. and one that seem to have vital needs of such-and-such-and-such things. where the.good signs.. and I don’t think the atomic wars could. for instance.. and this.. we are all just out of here. a long youth. now. that’s.. With this. They talk about disenchantment of nature.. Ha. who have to relearn it. and if they had then. by chance. It turns out that people lived all their life in cities.. in the next century. Just saying: ‘Goodbye life and eh. We have moved beyond the split.. inside yourself somewhere. just as eager to protect free nature and others. and they get.
But if you read carefully about the social reality in certain cultures.. that’s what. Just as yesterday. for me. we may say. spirituality. he was. So. but only fragments are verbalized. There is a fair chance [smiles]. I was then having a total view...none of them make. you yourself are a fantastic being. He tried to be artist. They didn’t have much power to destroy. when I was sixteen years.’ But not compared to others. I don’t think we have grown apart of nature. wilderness. of very little interest whatsoever. you do not need. but that is not what I mean.. but we are proud beings.. I think that there is hope for the twenty-second century. But that is on the individual level. as long as you can have a little food. Yeah. And whether you get to be socially successful or not is absolutely un. I think. and that’s the main reason they didn’t destroy much. very technical book of some kind. And we just go on and do what we think is the right thing to do.. then you can have a fabulous life. and you don’t think that every non-industrial civilization had consistently better relationships to the nature. We are tiny and. where the ice was covering this. here. out in the highest mountains in Norway.. of there was a world of development before humans. yourself are tiny. and that holds good for other people. a total view. when I got into a hut.. ‘I could sing some song I like to return to the subject of ‘total views’. It makes you feel humble.. it is so much worse than we have. they don’t have all this time to reflect. any of them. I hadn’t. But things happened to me.. wilderness. for instance. certainly. It is all a whole. compared to this form of beings. starting discussing with me and told me about. Just a little money. And I feel the Ice Age just as yesterday. now the terrific power is in hands of adolescents. but a Sámi person belongs to a culture where there is no split between what we call nature. So I didn’t understand why people were so upset by things and I didn’t.. that you are better in playing the piano or better in so-and-so. such a fantastic successful human being! And we need many more of them! And he was also invited very much by people. you may be very bad in everything. couldn’t see how any human being could feel small and helpless because. where you do not live in this century but you live in a time that is covering hundreds of millions of years. And from that time...you think is worth to help. or capacities. a tourist hut. I got the feeling. compared to this cosmos. a feeling of time in terms of millions of years.. and keep quiet inside here. And a professor of 31 . but he was such a marvellous person! His achievements were: ha. six hundred million years of development of life. unbelievable power. he never succeeded in anything. because he had always nice things to say. but you are also a fantastic being. palaeontology of the worlds before our own time. I had a friend who never succeeded in any kind of thing. and spirituality.. of the deep ecology movement.. I have. he tried botany. That we are on the way of decreasing the unsustainability of life. is of a kind were you. and they think that every old culture was better than what we have now. they didn’t make headway. That they didn’t have this terrific power. I mean is that if we use the word or the concept of nature. some thick. even a dinosaur will have a fantastic power in their minds. ahaa! ‘You should be tremendously proud of yourself. The Indians. he tried to go to the theatre. So. it means that we have grown apart of nature. I am sorry he died long ago. views’ Maybe you can tell about your own total view. It is amusing to see that among supporters of deep ecology. it’s amusing to see that they have such a high estimation of any culture that is not industrial. But what’s so terrible today is our power to destroy. success. He saw me sitting there and started.. So. I was always sitting with a... so small. and therefore. I think. those who are not professor in philosophy. tiny being in a fantastic world. being humans. So.. my total view is.. tremendously proud beings. But that’s also an exaggeration. and at the same time great. but it was so nice to be together with him because he had so many interests ..
. which is a very important part of philosophy. We have thousands of volumes of very good scientific reports about the state of the planet. if they really get old and cannot do any shovelling anymore. you see. in United States and in Norway. turning towards the left in politics without being a socialist.. And then. And he was a peasant. with a difficult rhythm of Chopin. old porridge. And you act according to the premises. et cetera. or ecosopher.for you!’ And then he sang moderately good. as they do now. that is wisdom. It was another experience you had in the mountains when you went as a boy of eleven. So the political philosophy. when I was fourteen years. he was hired to shovel snow. And when I got up there. leftist views. He didn’t complain at all. being a state university. cold. So we must have a welfare society. tiny.. You just talked about going to the mountain and reading this book. because it is so easy to be making fun of them and. no.. all this. Probably he was sixty. and his outlook . he was ninety years old. You regard yourself as an ecosopher. this old man.. as socialist. I didn’t. You made the word ecosophy. they had so many meetings. So we need sofia.. for me that word is the name of a science.. And when he. without being socialist. That is to say: that you do practical decision-making. For me. Old. as wisdom. [smiles] I speak good. But his rhythm. getting away this snow. that he was very joyful. No.. poor peasant from neighbourhood. Against the wishes of my mother. a tiny. never being a socialist. Did he make a sad impression on you or. But there was an old man who was shovelling snow all day and he told me. without being socialist. because of the personal initiative. was impossible for me. but with tremendous enthusiasm! That’s the kind of person I like. in his life. who was asking ‘No. I mean. I speak well about politicians. completely uninteresting. to Jotunheimen. I have then a paradoxical situation. that I am politically active. This kind of life. it’s because I saw myself as a son of an upper middleclass family. There. And I am voting left. I was voting left and left. ecosophy.. a big. but city people. and make headway. [sound of stamping foot] And was doing this. he had nothing to complain about. And I am so much for personal initiative. And I compared myself with this fellow and I thought that such people must be taken care of.. a certain classical. the rhythm! I was quite good at that time.. Because. he was taking his violin. playing the violin. how did this experience develop your personal experience personal development. early morning. is for me uninteresting. no. But I saw this and that made me politically. But we need wisdom.. We must have a society that resemble that of the socialist. How did then your political development. make practical decisions from really good premises. without being a politician. this old man. in my political philosophy and social philosophy. I couldn’t follow. when it got dark. two weeks before the tourists would come. When you came to meet mountain people. I went alone to the area of high mountains... made him go up there. very cold room.. What is that? Well. ha. you can stay with me in a shack. alright. But whether it’s private or not private. but he had this. But what was the old man doing in the mountains? He was hired to shovel snow. And he didn’t like that. A university may be fabulous.completely sovereign. he went out shovelling all day again. When I often have told about this old man. and then he said: ‘You have to do that also. and ecosofia means. Because I make a tremendous difference between private initiative and personal initiative. you must have 32 .’ And I tried. ecology. But. What we eat was porridge. speaking about what I really admire. He had some money for doing this job and that money would help him for months.. you understand. with his feet.. This was alright. of course I say. I mean. Not as much science. and play. Ahh! Yes. no’. with a lot of money and a lot of education. no hut was open yet.. So. owning a hotel.
that’s not a good answer. I think. but Spinoza was something.ecosofia. And if we ask about his relation to ecology. because I thought that was worthwhile. So it’s no dogmatism. ‘wisdom of the world’. as eco-sophy. you could say: ‘Arne. because I discovered him when I was having a lot of Latin in school. have developed ‘ecosophy T’. So it is not only that we are in God. I call it ecosophy T. And this causality is for him freedom. then. I will try to find out. It’s a total view that’s inspired in part by our situation of an ecological crisis. It is inspired also by a philosophy like Spinoza has. they write more than ever. and man is completely superior to other living beings.’ So that I say: ‘Alright. at any moment. in any time. social views you have. in Gallia was completely uninteresting and. approach to life. don’t. what’s. and they say: ‘No. yourself. [clicks] important to stand up. Here. and you have a kind of life philosophy. is not only being wise in your relation to the planet. that means.. And that made me not flunk. Spinoza wrote that reason demands. that you should work to some extent. But it is only inspired in part with the ecological crisis. that everyone loves himself. and the study of him is very difficult. in itself. And it is much more important now to teach eco. and belonging to a very different period and civilization than we are. What are your. That is to say: There is a core where you are full cause of your own action. not so much eco-logy. pfff! Cicero was very uninteresting. And they ask: ‘What’s so good about him?’ And I say: ‘Spinoza may say nothing to you. fully causing our action. and those who should be saying less and writing less.’ It’s so 33 . But this God of him is contrary. in my term. et cetera.. It’s just that I again and again say: ‘As a human being. in having the possibility of being cause of own action.’ But ecosophy. or herself. And I say: ‘It may be not! Maybe not. and that And you.. But Spinoza means very much different things for me. what makes your life meaningful. or another kind of philosophy.... it is called completely immanent. ‘wisdom of household’. you are much greater than you think. you should use some of your time to find out about yourself.. And the God is defined through being completely in himself. he has certain very abstract notions but important to me.. but God is in us. I don’t think so. there.’ And so. that he strives to obtain all which really leads men to greater perfection. So if you can get some million dollars less for ecology but for ecosophy. on this planet. determinist. I am glad you tell me about this.’ And then I get probably some stupid answer. Good friends is one that really criticize you. or religion. which should always criticize you. stand up and tell things. There are situations where you are full cause of your decisions and your action. anywhere. so-called. and people think it’s T is for Tvergastein. so I don’t find it strange that you do not even like him. what’s the meaning of what you do now? What’s the meaning of being here now. living in the seventeenth century and writing in Latin. I make a point that you should do. whereas Caesar’s wars in France. there would be no God. So there you have all the grades of being in itself. then you can change many more peoples’ behaviour and many institutions would be also saturated with ecosophy. and I then started a new reading Spinoza in Latin. no. through others. 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. that is to say: If there were no finite beings like us. so I have ecosophy T. So he is called. that means you must behave according to your ultimate value priorities. and that you must try to verbalize to some extent in our present civilization. ‘wisdom of. namely. you learn a little more about yourself. or find him obnoxious in certain ways. but also in himself. what are. that every living being is not only in something else. what is the most important thing for you in your life? And. That answer Arne is not good enough for you say you have ecosophy T. but as a total view which includes the relation towards the nature. covering political views you have. through friends. But for ecosophy T. that’s general covering your life. And God is then a limiting kind of notion of a being that would be in any situation. And many people who should stand up. So ecosophies would then be personal point of view.
he is typical of a philosopher who tries to have a tight connectedness between your opinions. and it’s not intellectual love but it is an understanding love. for that reason.. one norm. Believing. And then he uses Nature with a capital ‘N’. and through knowing your weaknesses.. some extent. he has. He has a verb intelligere. So I have used. static. but if you are not insane. What is your bottom? Well. the Latin is intelligere. He has a verb for nature naturing. That loving is a kind of understanding and understanding is a kind of loving. with complete understanding of your weaknesses. from particular thing to a particular thing. That kind of psychology is also very good. and natura naturans. not generality. of your actions and decisions. but that does not imply dogmatism. But one that makes this systematically much more easy to handle. for him. understanding and loving cannot be separated at all. And then you have the natura naturata. the ‘natured nature’. or are created. always towards particular things. towards ultimate questions. many philosophers today. Deus sive Natura. you have things. That’s Spinoza hundred percent. That’s the term. I have the word Self-realization. So. he calls amor intellectualis Dei. as they do. Spinoza talks as if he is a pantheism. He speaks about God or Nature. of course. We humans are special favoured beings. And this presence participe of a verb. And he says: ‘There is a force of some kind of dynamics. that there is a bottom. So you have both in one. general like that. as a personality. He has a wonderful distinction between natura and naturata. and does not imply that you have closed mind! You may have a completely open mind. he is. and then he has this relation of positivity towards beings. So this kind of freedom is a good kind of combination of scientific point of view. which is for freedom. So you wouldn’t like to feel that you are not causing your actions. I like that. And that’s very good. And God and natura naturans. the highest kind of knowledge is what he calls an intuitive knowledge. God as creative nature. to develop Self-realization. And that is also why he is considered impossible by people who say: ‘You must stop talking about foundations’. 34 . nevertheless. That. as in science. Because if you have hundred sentences. But intelligere has to do with understanding. So you also get rid of this scientific point of view. or status. with a maximum. but that’s far out. you are cause. So I like to have as few as possible sentences which are the basic ones. 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. saying that ‘You get better on the way to greater freedom. putting together. so to say.. He is typical of foundations. through knowing yourself. and that is nature with an ordinary ‘n’. naturare. And the highest kind of understanding is the understanding love of particular beings. the ideal.makes people don’t like him at all. typically asking about which would be the ultimate things you believe in? So. you are already on the step upwards towards greater freedom. creating nature. their compatibility with each other takes a lot of time to develop. naturing. because the highest kind of understanding is always between. And there is bottom. and your total view. and people then think this has to do with intellect. Well. nature as something that is made already. And then he asks. is then for him synonyms. is synthesis. which is not the realization of your ego. But that is for convenience. System doesn’t mean another thing. So. for him. If you know your weaknesses. Because. Stop talking about foundations. and then a lot of hypotheses. trying to get to the bottom of things. And that is natura naturans. he is there also. the ideal maximum is a maximum of identification with every other being. Systema in Greek. in creating nature. Whereas you can start with one norm. I mean. that is to say that everything is God.. which is knowledge of particular things. that is to say. but the larger self. then. about who you are. I’m a systematician. you are on a higher level of freedom already. But we are part of nature naturans.
but also individuals are more than the whole. and you are permitted to manipulate words as a philosopher. that you are preoccupied with the ego. is that not Self.’ Corresponding to Nature with a capital ‘N’. And he said many things like that. egoistic. And the same we see in nature beings. you realize. and the cosmos. as a human being. as a man of his age. you see. this term can be used in ten different ways. The cult of your ego. to some extent. I am inspired by the kind of thinking. means realizing the possibilities. I mean so-andso. but it must. and in this intuitive understanding. or a river. use Spinoza in my kind of total views. Intuitive knowledge would be intuitive understanding of some particular other being. I manipulate words. but then you can always say that ‘By self. This is of no importance to me. 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. and so on. And it is depending on temperature. But it is a term most people have used or know about. egoistic. But if you see the ecological crisis. So. it must be a component of spontaneity.realization. is that one source for intuitive knowledge? that Exactly. And feminism gets in. biodiversity for instance. Of course you can also analyze relations of a very more or less difficult kind. you talk about ego. And also because. To see. not to coerce. Then they say: ‘Oh. that’s stupid.. no whole.’ So the ego-trip. So it is in the middle of great traditions. they have potentials of Self-realization. the loss of diversity. get’s realized through the Self-realizations of the living beings. in my terminology. this Self-realization. He said it was womanish. Without any spontaneous understanding. as part of yourself. as part of yourself. Gandhi talks about Self-realization. as we know it. I can use. insects. Marx talks about Self-realization. Selfrealization of their selves. So the basic term is really: Self-realization potential. how does biodiversity Self-realization fit in there? SelfThat different beings have different Selfrealization. Western and Eastern. and so on. I propose to use this so-andso. that’s the highest they can do in life is the ego-trip. So. be a spontaneous understanding. We cannot do that. fundamentally. and abstract kinds. But it doesn’t mean that I must have the same opinion as a human being as Spinoza. I talk about the self with the ordinary ‘s’. and not with the ecological crisis? ecological No. spontaneously. your special kinds of wishes and desires. And you find philosophers all through the centuries talking about something like Self-realization. bang like this. it is Selfrealization of this totality which is augmented. in Spinoza. And in this way. But there. outside the window. I would take it and somehow do something to get it into warmer weather.If you talk about Self-realization. Human being Spinoza didn’t have much regard for animals. So it all adds up to the Self-realizations of life on this planet. the more you have of particular beings. And you talked about spontaneous experiences. I try to define my words. you see. which is by some people thinking they are. butterflies depends on the high temperature. nobody can say much against him. ‘This is part of myself’: the Sami. because males cannot decide which are the Self-realization potentials of women! The women must themselves find out which are their Self-realization potentials.’ So I am much in favour of definitions. because: without individuals. So if there is a butterfly here.. the kind of thinking. I can suit. Only that you say: ‘No. So in many ways. not to diminish the realization potentials of other beings. So. as a human being. and the self with the capital ‘S’. So that this Self-realization means. The self-potential of the 35 . not to be willing to kill animals. And the whole may be said to be more than the individuals. it would be an abstraction. it’s probably dying because of the coldness brought up by the wind. and I don’t know how many other planets there are. which is so splendid. and not so-and-so. a mountain even. other. if it is possible. understanding is realized in a bang.
we have Spinoza!’ ‘Ah. I think it is important that we today call something rationalization of.. And to have an outstanding philosopher like Spinoza in your culture. those who saw in him a devil. And it’s not going to the bottom. he had so good time in Nederland. not all his life. It’s just a blind alley! He was expelled from the church? church? He was expelled. or pseudorationalization from the point of view of Spinoza. but always in the service. And he felt that. rationality. And his relations with friends. having helped Spinoza in his life and his many years. he is undermining everything. classified as a great rationalist. He had terrible enemies and he had very good friends. and is. they say. yes. you must use your rationality. this. With a mountain view. but no enemy was able to point out that he was immoral in his life. more or less. Why did Spinoza argue that intuitive knowledge is the superior knowledge? knowledge? That has. in the conflicts. as a human being.. then you need no more philosophers. the.. Not with rationalists.. and that was. Because it is rational within a very limited context of economic life. especially in economic life. yes. there is no hope that you can understand that you are the chosen race. But it couldn’t compare with the understanding of the intuitive kind. next to a thousand years. so you have enough. rationality. with such behaviour of modesty and wisdom… So. yet intuition is more like. rational thinking is also necessary to gain such kind of freedom that makes place for understanding of the intuitive kind. But intuition 36 .. the more important you have people like Gandhi. was a terrible thing for a Jew to be expelled from the community. usually it is being associated with poets.. He was very impressed with chemistry of his time. Yes.. No Jew should ever. And so on and so on. No mountains.’ We don’t have mountains! don’ No. somehow there he realized this intuitive kind of understanding. Ha-ha. it’s an absolutely necessary instrument for gaining freedom and reaching understanding of the intuitive kind. in the sense that it’s not a top thing in humans. just like Descartes. yes. dealing with other people. you see. to the foundation of well-being. ruining Christian faith. yes. you have Spinoza. the term rationalization et cetera have nothing to do with Spinoza. if you don’t give up that rationality. yes. as somebody devilish. And that’s good for me. It’s interesting that Spinoza. Fascism and National-Socialism.’ He is regarded as a rationalist. that’s right. and not in the context of total human life. and that way we complete irrationalization.’ Rationality. Never. Such a humble fellow. according to him he was very much impressed with mathematics and chemistry. long time. rationality. who was very rational in his ways. probably. uses a term: intuition.. today. you see! He had terrible enemies. But he had a good time in Nederland! [smiles] And I think. [clicks] If we get back to intuition. and artists. the more important.. to do with his. So. As Hitler says: ‘We must give up this rationality of the Germans.Why is that? [sigh] His life. but you have Spinoza. of making rationality a kind of top faculty of human beings. But he is undermining Christianity. with this enormous view of Spinoza. and believed in rationality. they also say: ‘Well.. of social and political well-being. and Germany is so-and-so-andso. however brilliant the sciences were. If you knocked on the door: no! They should isolate him completely. they say: ‘How can Naess be a Spinozist?’ Whereas Spinoza was working. That rationality is an instrument to gain in freedom and to gain. ‘alright.. So this rationality was completely pragmatic. alright’. You can say: ‘Well we have. yes. no.. But you see what he is saying: that in order to gain in freedom. never equalizing. no! Talking about rationality. how his feeling of intuition. in the service of higher goals. the more difficult a situation is politically and socially. having had. with other people and his friendships he had. for a long.
you see. To take care of your intuitions and to trust your intuitions. and we all know what we call immature behaviours and with the liberal kind of democracy. They would bend down. white people. But it’s not a knowledge. And they were able. huh! So. you see.. bringing up boys. not like a monk. So it is inter-cultural. There are attitudes.. Today we need. because it’s not a knowledge they have in common. and there it was between particular beings. And that helped. beyond rationality. and still act in similar ways to face the ecological crisis. it’s spontaneous experience and also an understanding. they don’t know whether you should stretch out your arm. And so. Because you need rationality all the time. which can be quite different like Christian or Buddhist. [clicks] mean: coming smiling. who took their child with them. and. the Indian community. Yes! According to deep ecology movement. not on the level of science at all. They get together and they could meet somewhere in free nature. When you. as we have. it’s.there does only mean that you don’t have still deeper level of argumentation. And in Spinoza’s term.’ And so they approach the Indian with a child. And that culture didn’t know anything. and so on. a tremendously different culture. because that may mean hostility. You don’t know anything what it means. [laughs] And they then said: ‘We’ll have a child with us. And I am glad to say that so many different basic ultimate valuations are compatible with the deep ecology movement. Beyond rationality. on understanding itself. but to start with is what we call intuitive kind of understanding. to connect.. basic features. other are Jewish. they see it in the same way. but the foundation is not within an argumentation. there are so many different religions. they couldn’t be enemies. And it is an understanding. approaching them. of course. 37 . somehow. Because you got no argumentation. and some are atheists. so many different philosophers. feel intuitive understanding of another living being. what we would call intuitive. in a situation. and these attitudes have intuitive. on the basis of which. You have to go beyond argumentation. but probably will bend down. They see the same. Because it has to do with maturity of thinking. in Brazil or somewhere. in family life. You have no speech or actions that could be convey anything. you see. Can you give an example of coming to such a basic intuition? Well. you have teenagers. And then. You have an understanding that it is not founded on argumentation itself. Training oneself is taking care of intuitions.. And smiling. that? Well. and what should we call it then? Intuition is a quite good word. Intuition was so important. but not against rationality. [sigh] It is starting point. you have. the first people trying to connect with them. You have to start somewhere! It was Aristotle already saying: ‘You cannot prove everything. It has to be with training also. logically. there is wide possibilities for acting out any kind of impulse. it is easy to get examples of what. And they would have the same attitude. So in ecosophy you need knowledge. They see. couldn’t know what that could You talked about maturity of behaving. plus knowledge of ecology. they derived a kind of intuitive understanding of this person coming. You have nothing. And they said that they kill you.’ And we cannot prove everything. what is behaving. but it doesn’t mean that it is absolutely true or absolutely unfounded. knowledge of the second kind. some are from Islam. But we need both. let’s say you are outside your own country and you are trying to approach Indians. The first kind is just superficial. So there is a movement in spite. knowledge. that moment it’s a spontaneous experience. You have no science of that culture. But it is intuitive in the sense that it is not part of the argumentation. that is to say: certain principles that’s in fairly general and in common in the deep ecology movement. They kill white people. on the basis of which you can come to what I call the eight points. Maybe you can tell a bit how people from intuitive understanding come to ultimate premises. of course. as they did hundred years ago. what you hold. and maturity of behaving. one movement in spite of. The connection of the child couldn’t be. So you start somewhere.
15. develop a self. But it would be ten years before one could use that amount of money in a rational way. it’s feasible. So in 1988. when the Washington-based institution Worldwatch tried to estimate the cost in dollars . ‘No we never have that in our culture. in order to overcome the crisis. in this way. So we must estimate and say 200 thousand million. and from that year on. I think. top-businessmen say: ‘Oh. the possibilities are greater than in a more closed society. confronted with this numbers. it would be important. and nothing seriously is being done. they may not take away their arm. normal people. One can say in general that it is a decrease in life quality of the planet. certainly. that is 149 thousand million dollars. the term maturity. What is the opposite of Self-realization? SelfIf we ask. we are practically helpless in helping them. what’s the opposite of Self-realization. or 250 thousand million dollars a year.’ or something. to get stabilized in a sustainable ecological world order. what you are alienated from others. But for every year it costs much more.And as long as you are very immature. social justice. and increasing money you would have to spend. when you are 13. So if they get burned. on a stove for instance. they ask: ‘Do all cultures have a lot of alienation.this is a strange way of measuring what’s necessary. And in a great conference with people from all great cultures. And of course. I mean. in Latin in alio. what it consist of.’ And of course. So. of certain children.they said that for 149 billion dollars. which are staggering for us. as some people are unable. But some have. not linearly. so much. from year 2005! It’s amusing that businessmen. taking care. and there is no reason to say: ‘It’s too late. as we have in our industrial rich cultures?’ And somebody said: ‘No. that’s not a fantastic big amount of money. that you take care of yourself. 38 . it affects the humanity in a very serious way. 14. And it certainly is a very small percent of the total military budget. stopping deforestation. because then you have kind of ego. can be given a quite good psychological and sociological meaning. you are alienated from your culture.’ And. they do not even have a self. there is an ethics of self. More closed society. no. we have a difficulty there. towards others.’ I don’t remember which culture. If you are alien towards yourself. So that would be 1998. Alienation is very good as an opposite of what Spinoza called: being in itself. seeing how they develop. you can define maturity. Arne. globally. Autistic. So the zero Self-realization would be exemplified by certain children development. And then. of course. the possibilities of alienation in our civilization today. one could spend in a rational way 149 thousand million dollars for stopping erosion. And that has to do with increasing work. and there are very touching histories of autistic children being lead into kind of connection with others. Because. So: in alio. the financial life today is such that billions of dollars are just fleeting around. So. 16 years old. that will also be a lot of violence. So it doesn’t make a great impact. also. they could change the direction from increasing unsustainability to decreasing unsustainability. but at least it is one way . if you would say something about the urgency of the ecological crisis today. The autistic children. not been able to. et cetera. but like a curve that is steeper and steeper. I think. and the urgency of ecological getting involved in the deep ecology movement. There is a difference between the urgency of getting global justice. before I forget it. they will say: what would be the zero Selfrealization? The zero Self-realization would be where you have. Can you also say that alienation is the opposite? Alienation is very good. So. and in your self. but take care of others too. So you have a direct connection between the term alienation and Spinoza. we never had. The estimation was done in 1988 and now we have 1995. when we talk about Gandhi. Some. I think. are unclear about the crisis. violent impulses. but also seeing that you are not hurt yourself. at all. So. And it is increasing. of course. The life conditions are decreasing in quality. and the urgency of doing something really serious about the ecological crisis. has to do with the term alienation. for instance.
So. The close interaction. including those who fish. the better. north of Norway and Soviet Union. for instance. the more seriously you take the non-living.. What is important is to go on with the practical problems.. and in the neighbourhood there was a hotel. and there Indian students came. it’s quite interesting that the non-human beings here. we should be activists. it affects the poor more than the rich. which we do not dream of. that will go extinct. my master manuscript. the human life. not moving much for themselves. in a hut of my mother. So since the seventeenth century. but with the total ecosystem of the Barents Sea. the organism fleeting around.. they would say: ‘For me. can always get clean water and water enough. for me. never for the rich. Can you also explain why there is a crisis in the life conditions of non-human beings? conditions This crisis. big civilization and continent like India. they are affected very heavily.And. And if you touch the life condition of the plankton. because of the dignity of an old.. that are not commercial. that’s much greater than usually understood. I was studying just down here. and we had enormous discussions about the future of India. I would like to come to Gandhi. To see that we have. and so on. and to look in a time reference not of five years. that’s important.. of plants.. affects non-human lives. you touch the life conditions of this non-commercial fish. as always. that are. which again [coughs]. The fisheries are dependent on certain fish. are. and so on. not only with certain fish.. which all. and that means that we all who have this formal education. every species. affect the life conditions of the commercially extremely important fish. at Ustaoset. And those fish depend on the plankton. But the poor cannot do that. and so on. it is a question of the next century as a whole [clicks]. pollution for instance in London. that’s either nonsense. They cannot stand the level of pollution we can stand. So. affects again. we need to educate people. when I was writing in my master art. But one cannot first make people rich . My conclusion was that there would be more happiness in India if the British continued. always.’ And without reindeer. Fellow-humans [so as that goes on?]. but it is intolerable. So there are conferences all the time now about what’s happening in the sea. So. so for instance. practically every kind of. that reindeer will get less to eat. ten years. will affect human lives... on the stones. who are concerned about the life of the non-human beings. So you see the interconnectedness we have. And the nonhuman life quality decreasing. if you take the fisheries which they have played a great role in northern Norway. the Sámi population some of it .gets into trouble. whether supporting the deep ecology movement or being more practical.. because it’s so natural for us to have fellow-humans in our mind. A small hotel at that time. or this is not important. of course. so that you can make them an indicator of the level of pollution. tiny creatures living darkly under the stone. Could you tell how and when you first came across Gandhi and his work? I think that in 1931. are many very important types of what. we are dependent on every. this is not question of today. so obviously. It was an Can you give examples of non-human beings nonthat are affected by the ecological crisis? Well. And it will never be taken too seriously.. And there. So one has to take the ecological crisis very seriously. And I immediately contacted the Indian students.. the nonhuman beings. of course.. the last ten or twenty years. So ecology. and access to all the data. So. everybody are thinking about. this interconnectedness of species? Well. has always been a question. we are dependent on bacteria. specially. It’s good that we have more people now than before. The rich can always disappear from very polluted area. and so on. the tiny. we have changed the policy of fisheries. We don’t know which species are of no consequence for us. problem for the poor. has to do with the interaction of organisms on this planet. 39 .if ever. but hundred years. being very careful. or will be reduced. saying that this concern about philosophy and religion or the ultimate question is. my definition. Can you maybe say a bit more about that..
if you torture somebody to death. And Gandhi was so fond of this man. one of the first things he was saying. when he woke up in the hospital. and it is special. at all. there was certainly in Gandhi a great enthusiasm for people who. to explain. you will be killed.. simply delicious. the untenable. they got tea to drink and anything. if he in a way tramples on the values of that culture.. and I later elaborated into six points of ethical rules for discussion. And never. you attack their opinions. and had tremendous physique. so solving conflicts. or even half-way free people. when you are conscious in a hospital. not India. So.’ So from that time on. his name is Abdul Gafr Kahn. during the war. I found marvellous. they would question: ‘Where are such-and-such people?’ So the Gandhian way of communication is then. is nothing. When he was nearly killed by some people who viewed him as a traitor. because. not the surroundings. Because in intense conflicts.undignified situation and suddenly the students felt the. I played that to the torturers. So I was then communicating with the torturers. Pain. to have your emotions under control. So. their attitudes.. That is how to go. we had a lot of discussions about Gandhi. or your house. attack the persons. and we tried to find out where they had. of course. He has seven foot high. They did. they go sometimes with a weapon. and this notion of bravery. consistent way. I started reading about Gandhi and his campaigns in South-Africa. explain why it was correct for them to kill him. And then. Eh.. was: ‘Don’t persecute these two people who are trying to kill me. then. some day. And Gandhi said: ‘Those two were braver than other. Gandhi thought that if you are on the side of justice in a really convincing. the police could hit him over the head and he would stand up. according to their religion. I had to do with finding the bodies of people who were tortured to death. So. He started there and what made the most impression was his way of communication. who ought also to have killed me! They were the only ones who really tried to kill me.. And I have then written books about that. and used to violence.. it is not only ethically. and see the points of your opponent and then go against what you must go against and nothing else. neighbourhood Afghanistan.’ hmmm! ‘Who should have done it. absolutely consistent distinction between a person and the views of that person. you have to kill somebody. they are so happy with going around with a gun! Even you go to the toilet outside your farm. You do not attack persons. eh. or being pff! That’s nothing. and you were eating together. who are brave and honest. it is rules for effective discussion. and Hindus and Sikhs. and didn’t care about being hit. among the Pathan. what they have done and where the dead bodies were. the best strategy.. So Gandhi played a role. and according to Gandhi. both ethically and effectively. who are educated in a very violent way. in 1945. and they couldn’t be slaves under. what is effective is to keep completely cool about. you will get into prison. primarily because of his way of communication.. his way of feeling identity with the opposition. of course. it made a special impression that certain Pathans. or maybe even earlier.’ And they had their serious conclusion that what Gandhi was doing was against the cultural values of their religion. And from that also very probable that if you stand up in a conflict. Where they had little war. it was a marvellous thing. He had to be hit many times before he sank down. delicious family conflicts. with the same religion. And of course. you see! And the British liked that. But I. And when he was convinced by Gandhi. I think. at that time I started. because of so-and-so. physical pain.. plus his way of explaining the viewpoint of the opponent who tried to kill him. If 40 . one must seek the centre of the conflict. Gandhi then met one of the superior people in. To make this clear. the British and this Pathans.. his bravery and his violent background made him much braver in conflicts between Hindus and Muslims. in the long run. because there were always nice.’ And this bravery. and you may be shot when you went to toilet. very good friends in either eating together or killing each other. And there. And they saw the possibility that Hitler would not win. I mean but the same style: you’re killing a nice way. and Sikhs and Muslims and all this terrible internal conflict in India. the superior way of communication and the nonviolent strategy is. So. Because. they got rid of the body so that there would be no indication what had happened. under British rule. you will be hit on the head. And then to say: ‘They are better than those who didn’t kill me.
this way. So. was dependent on that Hitler could rely that Norwegians would not fight the Germans. and some of my friends were exactly the same way. When the war stopped. and-so-on. that was over. not be punished. it was clear that one should not only try to resist. Norway was invaded. they didn’t think that way in general. I was then on the so-called silk front. and those fighting with weapons. I was. in April 1940. and they knew that I was not in any way helping the occupation. they should be.you do that and use you resistance it is only by luck that you don’t loose your life or your health. of course. like France and Hungary and all over.. One shouldn’t only think of weapons. There were so many black points in the history of Norway. ‘Silken hands’ in the treatment of those who were on the wrong side in Norway. So. So they were continuing being in that organization.. That. non-violent action was not considered important. So. looking at it. if the Gestapo knew that we knew something. with the war you say: ‘Nothing can be done before the war is over’. the Gandhian way would be to participate. they were acting in according to what I would call justice.. militarily. was war. for both it was this problem that within half an hour. So Gandhi would then say: ‘Of course. that you felt that the period after the war was worse than it was during the war. if Hitler won. But. I could be without anybody attacking me. and then they didn’t leave their political organization which was not democratic. So I couldn’t. but a Gandhian has to go into the canter of conflict. [clicks] You said once. not that. we should have more pain. but doing it.. in the sense that you. I think it is very different from a pacifist attitude. but without weapons. we had to see what their standpoint was and so many thousands of Norwegians were convinced that Hitler would win. if Hitler started the war. in the Resistance during the war. the Nazis. now we shall just see how we shall treat those who were on the wrong side. practically nothing were done. as I have said many times. it took some time before I really went into the Resistance movement. contribute to the pain of this people who were on the wrong side. They were active on the Resistance. not even 41 .. and not according to anything: ‘They should have pain. for both categories. they knew that we knew something and then they thought that torture is justifiable. if he were to occupy Norway. And the children. The the years before the Second World War. Those who had been on the wrong side. But. from a Gandhian point of view.’ So in this way. with the Quislings. the children were treated very badly. And when. putting them into prison and-so-on. at school etc. as you say. those who fought with weapons and those who didn’t. That they couldn’t say: ‘Now the war is over. We should contribution. 1945-1950. So. and was occupied by the Nazis for five years. without any weapons. then. in Norway. but not really National Socialist either. especially in 1945. and then bang. there was absolutely no friction between people who would fight non-violent without weapons.. If. but many were prisoners. more or less directly. so they killed many of the people who had been ‘on the wrong side’. and-so-on. it was the best for Norway to. So. they would be tortured. the Quislings. rather depressed. [clicks] You also tried to get the torturers and the families of the people who were tortured together. And also. not to help them necessarily. but one has to also think about the way one could resist Hitler. But at least not. then not many people knew what could be done. the children of those who had been on the wrong side... and if they found a weapon or found documents and so on.. Gandhi was important figure. Because. in other countries. according to Gandhi. the Gandhians and non-Gandhians had excellent partnership within the war. with Hitler being crushed. I felt that of course. if they were caught. because they thought that Norwegian independence after the war. refrain from sabotage and all these things. because I had been in the Resistance movement. at that time. I could stand up for a treatment that was according to Gandhian principles. more depressed than during the war. very few were killed. that’s to say: you partake in the war. supporting the occupation?’ First of all. the people who were. had not the permission to enter the university. not to fight against the occupying forces. then the question was: ‘What we do. after a while..
. as. by a Gestapo man. Ah!’ But I didn’t. the officer opened the drawer and I was not kept away. how it made a big impression on me. a very small. So you see: If somebody is a Gestapo. Finding this document. against the rules of the university. andso-on. ah! And-so-on.’ And he said: ‘Alright. he said: ‘You may go. Suddenly. A man in the Gestapo. into the drawer. after the interrogation. The title of the seminar was: ‘Moral indignation during the war. understood Norwegian. And I had to decide very quickly whether he understood what it was or not.’ And then I thought: ‘Ah! I should like to talk more about this. you see. it’s something that shouldn’t be in a drawer!’ And then. but a Gestapo man. I remember very well. I didn’t know about it. we remember we didn’t give it to you. You see. you see. Two ordinary Gestapo people. So I found it necessary to get some of the prisoners. So I left. who. he said: ‘But I did not get those pamphlets and those periodicals the Resistance movement were distributing. and he completely. but actually. from prison probably.’ And you see. together. or they would go into prison. I asked: ‘May I take a book with me. That’s against the Gandhian rule. an enemy. because they thought there were some Resistance people there. And it couldn’t be worse. According to Gandhi. Yesterday you said something: that you are angry very little in your life. and Gestapo is killing people. so they had done something to me. the house was invaded by Gestapo. against their homeland. But the Gestapo couldn’t be sure that I didn’t know something. ‘From where you come?’ And he said: ‘Sleeswijk Holstein. Of course we couldn’t give any information to you. And they searched all over the house.’ And then. in the drawer. but he didn’t know about the ‘final solution’ of the Jewish problem or anything like that. I thought: ‘My god. and that is very brave of him: ‘Everybody in the police had to go into the Gestapo. well. ftttt!: torture immediately! When somebody found that. [clicks] 42 . The pointing weapons of course. or conceive this. you never treat anybody as an enemy. because I had nothing to do with that document. and then an officer in Gestapo. And he grabbed into the drawer and say.around the university. This that you should always treat others as persons in a correct way. kept outside. He knew about concentration camps. At the seminar we had Resistance people and those who were traitors. he was in the sense a friend.’ And one couldn’t doubt that he didn’t know. one of the Quislings. well. I am glad to say that I was saved once. the moral indignation was tremendous against Quisling. He admitted me to be with him. And then. he put this document back. of course. I said. We had not to talk. what is happening now?’ And then I was arrested and I got into interrogation. and never judge anybody because of affiliation to an organization. That would. And some of them were very good at it. doesn’t mean that you should treat this. alone in the house of family members.. So I didn’t know. around searching. I would have been put into prison! I was innocent of that. during the interrogation. where I was sitting in the house. too. So. But when for instance Resistance men would say: ‘You should have known about the concentration camps and the killing of the Jews!’ And then. a couple of hours. And I decided: he understood what it was. clearly. because that was brave of him. I didn’t see him as a possible friend. as. Of course. as a professor. who were on the wrong side! That was considered dangerous. three Gestapo. Point. they started smiling then. You always see in other people a possible friend. We said to the Norwegian people: Don’t talk with the Quislings. I remember. getting them together. And he said: ‘Haah. ‘Well. Because they didn’t give those information to us. So he was against the Nazis. and closed it. That we should keep off. border of Denmark. this man who is part of Gestapo.’ And then he added.’ ‘May I ask’. sabotage against the Germans. was not doing what Gestapo asked him to do. some of the Quislings in a seminar at the university. before 1945. nice little man. take a book with you.’ Because then they were saying things which were dangerous probably and we should keep off. So I went into Gestapo. I was glad. I must have a book with me. The situation was such that it was better not to talk to them. but there was one little episode in the war that you really got angry. Looking angry. They were out. if he hadn’t been against the occupation. so-called traitors. and said to me: ‘What’s this?’ And it was how to do sabotage in industrial buildings.
everything that. Spinoza can also be interpreted that way. not question of disappearing in a unity. SelfAtman. or short. and Hinduism. is conventionally translated by ‘soul’. our present culture. for me the kind of interpretation I have. the Self. They just closed the door.’ And here I am in accordance with the way we have in philosophy. and not a Self with a capital ‘S’. saying: exactly this Gandhi was thinking. that you have to have a free attitude towards the texts. That’s to say: When I do things.’ But when I’m talking about these things. how altruistic you are. So that’s out. there is a difference also. And then they act according to. very close connection. one of the most honoured texts they have in Hinduism. Arne. no. And he says: They’re capable of seeing that to their own self. no. no! I realize myself. When he was caught. Gita. I would then spell with a capital ‘S’. Spinoza changed his views all his life! And the same with Gandhi. He has not at all this feeling of being a drop in a ocean. is such. and his treatment. and not. the doctrines against Atman. and Buddhism. One reason why you shouldn’t think like that is: they were all living beings with a development. So he sometimes has said: ‘I am also a Buddhist. but mysticism that is very special. a little different between Hinduism and Buddhism. the best is to be non-violent.I like to go back to Gandhi and his notion of Self-realization. But they are then against the transcendent Self. and should be important for our culture. and Spinoza. And I never have been altruistic. non-duality? The sense of unity of Advaita’ nonman and matter and all that lives. is alive. Gandhi thought that. the judge would say: ‘But wouldn’t that lead to anarchism. how altruistic how you give up things in order to help others!’ He would say: ‘No. finding so many terrible things within Hinduism. and not that. But guesses are extremely important for you. because the status of the drop. in my terminology. that there is a close relation between Spinoza and Gandhi. Are there similarities to you between Spinoza’s Spinoza’ concept of Self-realization and that of Gandhi? SelfSpeaking about Gandhi. Selfrealization was of course a very positive word for Gandhi.’ So. That it serves their self to be nonviolent. the status of the individual is so high. So you see yourself in the other human being. You should just be arrogant. you have of course the concept of Oneness of everything. This is a kind of mysticism then. And that is also against what Gandhi thinks. but I am realizing myself. the individual. because Buddhism is just a reformed Hinduism. So. There it’s 43 . like a drop in the ocean. unity. he was not permitted into the Christian church in South Africa. people are capable of seeing what is just and not just. it’s important for me. because the individual for Gandhi has such a supreme status. as a kind of Self existence.’ Atman. not at all. they underrate their being as human beings. and Gestapo. As you know. humans as drop. And then. a Self that is apart from us. according to the notion that they have an ego that sits. Buddhism has something they call An atma wada. in the sense that you shouldn’t be so arrogant to think that you can really understand deeply what this other people have meant. can you talk about Gandhi’s concept of Gandhi’ ‘Advaita’. the most honoured. and serves your personal human self to treat others as similar beings as yourself. better try to keep Hinduism. The individual consciousness: what is right or wrong is up to the individual. the individual beings have high status.’ And this Self then.’ ‘OK! That is your interpretation. that is to say. They don’t see how great they are. he thought he would be Christian. Yeah. And there. And when people said to Gandhi: ‘How marvellous. no. And if somebody says: ‘No. if everybody should live according to his or her individual consciousness?’ And Gandhi just said: ‘No. but at the same time. taken into prison. in my philosophy. And by chance. The Hindu concept of Atman. are so high. maybe I should talk about the relation of this Gandhi and the philosophy. Which is not a good translation. and to reform Hinduism. There is a unity. he decided: ‘Alright. But then. Gandhi was interested in philosophy and he made a translation of Bhagavad-Gita. by mysticism one need not mean a kind of complete unity. basically. You only have guesses. I do it for myself. Only that most people underrate themselves. So. I am not selfish.
including Self-realization nonhuman beings. you have the deepening of the Self. once a week you go to church or something. completely immanent God. the first hypothesis g is: ‘The further you are able to go in your Selfrealization. it doesn’t mean to get to be a fanatic. by being there. too dark and difficult theoretical problems. to help the Self-realizations of others. So that seemed to be very unorthodox. So this is a deepening. But rather soon. So he was very much against.’ Can you maybe say more about the widening of the Self? What I find. and the whole of the rest of life. but not enough for everybody’s desires. For him. the metaphysical views rather far out. He himself said: ‘There is enough on this planet for everybody’s needs. But he insisted: ‘No. then. They have now to help the village people. being alone. Meditating in the forest. You. of course. a little. not transcendent. the aim to see God face-to-face. he started saying: ‘God is Truth’. in the sense that they stayed up Karma-Yogi’ in the Himalayas and never went down. your own nation. In my ecosophy T. et cetera. who would laugh and smile a lot. Only that so-and-so is enough for me. no. and whatever. Hermeneutics. Widening in the sense that you see. Now it is this. the more important it will be for gaining still more Self-realization. ‘Enough is enough. to his death. you do it as in what we call an integrated person. then. Well. is the existence of a possible process of widening and deepening yourself. as he Moksha’ face. It’s like the Buddhists who went into the Himalaya. you identify with more than your own family. he would cut that out. they went back into the village. And desires. But you should have a depth always. cutting out speculations about metaphysics and Atman and all this. Himalaya forests to train themselves to live in certain ways and not hurting any animals. in any way. as an ideal. now it is vacation. saying: ‘Truth is God. Not every. I’m orthodox Hindu. in society and so on. Can you tell about Gandhi’s pursuit of Gandhi’ ‘Moksha’. like Buddhists. Just cut it out. the purists who would then stay in the woods. And that is also an ecological main slogan. ‘Self-realization is dependent on Selfthe Self-realization of others too. desires are infinite. And he also was very much against fasting too much. But that the church is there all the time. the philosophy of interpretation. And even. and help others. 44 . He was not. hmmm. But. that when it gets to be a little far out. He was very practical man in the sense.tosays. So the further you are. And then. Moksha is supreme liberation. as he says. That integration is integrated in your life. So that a meal. cut out. Enough is enough. your own tribe. used his words for God constantly. he would stop. But it’s a whole you have. of course. now it is that. that is not cut out: Now it is work.’ And there he is also quite modern in the sense that this is ecologically important thing to feel when enough is enough. When you get into too abstruse. Gandhi. of course. meaning honesty and certain other things. And the depth: in the church you go deep. And he remained. So he has nothing against material goods you have in life. they could influence somehow. for instance. you You once said. not very much but at least he was against. After many years. a very practical fellow. You have to be in the community.. or whatever you do. That’s a width of the broadness of your thinking. in the sense that you have in your mind this constant kind of attitude that what you do is part of your Self-realization. the more impossible it would be to come anywhere further. I like that’ and then he was eating vegetarian of course. and thinking. He says: ‘I’m for a delicious meal. according to what you try to do. The two have. God was immanent. You have kind of feeling of the whole of your life. you get even outside the area of human beings. Widening and deepening.. in common. Gandhi looked down upon the so-called soKarma-Yogi’s. you are playing something.’ Then he went even further.called hermeneutics. they could influence the war. He was not very much interested in Nirvana and such notions. They couldn’t do anything more with themselves.’ And that means. Like Buddha himself.
there’s a doctor thesis on his relation to environmentalism. that you act not as a selffunctionary but as an autonomous. Then you are seeking God. But in the morning. and there is no God.. he would quote the Bible freely.. he was terribly annoyed with the brutality of 45 .are seeking truth and truthfulness. So much interested in free nature! He went out. Because there will be a scorpion or a snake or something and they don’t understand. But many sophisticated people.. So that I also find a very good thing with Gandhi that he’s not interested intimately in niceties of texts. and got to get out of the village. you were barefoot. some of which. And it is astonishing how. But some of the Christians. Yes. a doctor thesis.’ So he had a rule: no medicine against snakes bites and so on. 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. brutality. fully autonomous. they didn’t believe quite that those scorpions would find it alright. They should stand up. walk like this [makes gesture]. but the power relation has nothing to do with your dignity and your self-respect. And when you walk over the floor. as they. where. responsible person.. And he said: ‘They will not do anything. standing up. in his speeches he would quote the Koran. they had a secret medicine. that you need bravery. and they would understand. So he was then far out from the point of view of the masters of Hinduism. to use your selfrespect in a way that made you brave. You had nothing on your feet. some of whom are very much more powerful. in many ways. if you are among the [Pariyans?]. being brave. So he was very good at it. The obligations of us for humans are more than the goat. in what we call today public relations. But what you then try to do. selfWell. if you are without class. in general. religious centre they had ‘let the doors be open. as being completely on par with any kind of king or some. followers of Gandhi. weak people in India. they would say: this is meaningless and pfff. He was good in the public relations. but at least you should behave. And the Hindus there of course obeyed the rules.. they have relations with other humans. He looked shouldn’ down upon cowardice. they bite. You cannot fight for your own self. the top people in the classes you had in India. And what’s special of course about humans is that when you. And he quotes. No medicine. look into your slippers and see: there may be a scorpion there. that’s stupid. milking. So let the doors be open. you cannot really fight for justice. except in this seeking. is exactly what we are saying today. do you harm. And he was looking at scorpions and snakes as friends. brave person is. of course. So. as I have said already. And one shouldn’t be a coward. This is of course. how he started as a young man. For Gandhi self-respect is also very important. He would also take his own goat everywhere he went. as a demonstration against the Hindu brutality. that he thought that brave. You need to be brave and without brave. You must. religious centre. how. of course. the goat is a being on par with humans. When trampled on. very many unsophisticated people would ask: ‘Why do you have the goat?’ And he would say it. and the same time he was quoting the Hindu scripts. then. The self-respect. So we had eh.the centre of. let the Ashram’ . braveness. And they milk. And this is a public relations problem. And the author has gone through the eighty. just like the present head of the Buddhists. And he demonstrated by having always a goat with him. he tried to make conditions better for the down-trodden. Because. you are just on par with the top Brahmans. And he also said that perhaps the reason that the rivers are being more violent is maybe because of the deforestation. getting the last drop of milk of the cows. behave well towards the goat.. more than eighty volumes of the complete works and sayings of Gandhi. if you are careful. Yes.
it’s not only very painful. it is the opposite. In what sense are they close? Well. I don’t want to say very much more about it. Because when everything went down and there was a massacre in India after the liberation. certain other people.. According to Spinoza. one as a prisoner and the man who got him into prison. there he. from your personality corresponds to a step in greater freedom and greater virtue. this joy. you loose some freedom. they always started with some witticism. That’s. [coughs] has inherent value. for melancholy. to keep the insight alive that things are getting worse. To say that the joy from your whole person. But that’s because they don’t understand this. Gandhi was quite outstanding in the terrible conflict with the British. I’m glad to say! But one might argue. and the same with. I have a lot of trust. has a very great part in the life of Gandhi. these other cultures. but depressing. this is eh. the same as the eight point of deep ecology. they try to make these people like Spinoza and Gandhi and other people from other cultures relevant to the crisis. I try to get. this things. eh. like. And if there is melancholy. 46 . joy from all your. That’s the doctor thesis. well. it’s so good to see how Gandhi can be used in the ecological crisis and eh. a very deep trust in human nature? Gandhi trusted the people and Gandhi trusted nonhuman beings.. But is it not. very little. and. Then you have at least as much trust according to them as you accord to yourself. according to this doctor thesis. Gandhi was saying something that was completely. It’s the deep ecology movement. in deep ecology. immediately. I don’t think so. again. against this would be: there is a reason to be depressed and melancholic about the increasing. and-so-on. Anyhow. but certainly if you end by smiling and even laughing. he didn’t smile anymore. And I think that if you see other people as very close to yourself. what’s the importance of Gandhi. And as to the population problem. When you say. between deep ecology principles and the Gandhian. it is a state where you gain in freedom and gain in virtue. the deep ecology movement. it is getting worse. I think they would say that. you continue. The doctor thesis ends with saying the deep ecology movement is the most close to Gandhi thinking. He made a pare of slippers for general Schmutz. The South African government made him a prisoner and it was general Schmutz who ordered him to get into prison. And general Schmutz was also witty. and-soon. Both Gandhi and Spinoza would say: ‘There is no reason for it. well. It’s is typical of Gandhian trust. a last argument then. except the last couple of years. identify with. So. according to my. you are also decreasing your level of freedom and virtue. and when they had a session. If you have a state of joy. he was very witty. at least as I find it. that’s Spinoza for me. of course. But if you have little trust with yourself. that the ecological crisis gives every reason to feel said. the joy: he looked upon joy as something [sigh] necessary and beautiful and so on. and also. what’ importance in fighting the ecological crisis? ecological For me. but it takes very much self-discipline and self-reliance to. if you are depressed as a. to eh. and you loose in virtue. there was an intimate relation. like Spinoza. 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. There is no reason for it. increasing ecological crisis. the principles that Gandhi had. Some smiling and laughing and then they got on. I’ve much too much trust in humans. that every living being has a self. Gandhi was very witty. some people say: ‘Oh no. you also tend to trust others very. And that’s Gandhian. if you trust yourself very little. your total personality.’ But in this doctor thesis on Gandhi’s relation to environment. And there. You shouldn’t produce children as something inevitable from sexual life. But you never stop with this spontaneous experience. basically. that would be in the atmosphere of both Gandhi and Spinoza and others. and so they had a marvellous relation. some people psychiatric cases. So joy. more than believe in abstract statements. there. joyfully.To close of. and you cannot reckon them. trusting to ridiculous.
four thousand one hundred and fourteen today. But the activeness. and we disobey those nonsense. But eh. And only when he stops doing things. there are 4114. because we had some tremendous weather. in the Alps it would be very much above 2500 metres high. But the highest hut in the Nordic countries of Europe. That’s the opinion of good people here. Carried up here. So. But it’s actually only 1505! Because of the 60 degrees north.’ But that’s because he stops and get passive. whole personality. in. if they hear here it’s 1500 metres: but that’s a nice place with a lot of people living there in small villages.. et cetera. So it’s despite knowing the terrible truth. You. He will be eager to do things. running itself make you joyful [clicks]. but it’s a problem whether I can be here really enjoying the view and enjoying the place as I can now. when I can’t walk up here. And you start doing this the next moment. Do you think the mountain will miss you? Slightly. with blood and all terrible things around. must see to it. It goes on. But are you already sad. Do you feel sad about that the hut is living longer than you are? No. maybe less than five or six times. the activeness of: ‘Now I’m going to. 47 . I couldn’t be sad about that. privately owned. But there is nobody else. the doctor will come also and do things and. A little more than about 500 meters above the tree line. in. he thinks: ‘Oh. Perhaps people coming from other countries. Well. so the climate at Tvergastein is purely Arctic climate. 500 meters. south of Greenland. living according to the rules of Tvergastein. only sun.. the it’ state of the world. Then you get: wraaah! But then you start again doing things and you are: joyful. that you probably in the future won’t come up here? That you won’ cannot make it? I could be carried up here. I hoped I would live here quite a lot and I numbered the days I was here. I’m going to get the ambulance soon!’ Ha! And if you are able to continue then. But there is no village here. it’s very few times. in all next century. it’s not easy to understand for people in the Italian Alps. So that’s no problem. all next century. that would be completely [laughs] impossible to think of.. get joyful. certainly. for instance. That’s between eleven and twelve years. at this place. Because you do then something which you think is important and which is in accordance with your whole. If you are the one who knows how to reach a telephone and you run. At 1500 metres. think that there are many huts. he will not being depressed.with: so what are we to do?’ And immediately when you say: so what am I going to do the next moment? Ha. I think it is extremely nice for me to know that there are people who say: ‘We should. 60 degrees north. This is a terrible case. [laughs]. sun and sun and sun. in Norway. inevitably. there would be Tvergastein. In 1938 I started living here. Just as in a traffic accident. on this level. and moderate winds. it makes no meaning to carry me up here. visiting Tvergastein. easily. And now we are four thousand. The context is just terrible. It’s number one. this place is just as another nice place just above the tree line in the Alps. And when I am past that stage. as a professional. yes.. but at least I have lived here more than eleven years. it’s the highest privately owned hut. I’m now 83 and I see that I may be not able to have lived here twelve years. this is Arctic. this is a terrible case. today. you continue. So eh. Well. There are certain nonsensical rules. one hundred and fourteen days. But most of the rules would be kept alive here. Yaah. Twelve multiplied by 365. And I’m counting the days. counting the days. That’s not yet twelve. Passivity. nothing like it. So I hope that I will experience the twelfth year here. even you. What you have higher is meteorological stations. who are now interviewing me. Tvergastein is about 1500 feet above tree line. north of the Equator. that you had had so many days with such weather like this! And it is only the middle of the summer possible. It is the same latitude as Greenland. and there would people here. would think it is.
This place can also be very silent. because. she wrote a book. It was part of my sport. the more it says. it is Hallingskarvet. I had a peculiar relation to small animals. because of the climate. It is not the Arctic climate. 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. and so on. it makes you. even in the You could not resist. Can you maybe relate the fact that you have been professor for so many years. But then came something tremendous. And eh. And it has to do with the Norwegian tourists. I prefer to get away from people. And people. endless.000 members. bigger. So those two institutions started then a campaign against her. And you listen. and there is not much wind. Saying: this was completely unscientific and it was a hysterical woman talking about things she didn’t know anything about. as I have told. no. Infinite complexity. that it was necessary to climb with your hands. to stay. there was no reason to have any hope.. and they had about 100. No. it came from United States [laughs]. She was specialist on life along the shores. that was not unique at all. first of all against destroying the soil. For instance. But because of the water. Silent Spring. The biologist Rachel Carson. if you get the silence.. and you. pff. and at one point you got interested in the ecological problem. 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. Here you have endless movement in the water. Tiny. which is really. No journalists. if you are not too unlucky. It was called the tourists’ institution. and little bigger.And there is good reason for it. You have all sorts of waves. that direction and it’s flowing. But it is Hallingskarvet I’m for. I mean. the ocean and the mountains. why should you have an Arctic climate. the silence. even before the book. 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. I mean.. before it was published and started a campaign against her. sportive ego. and the first twenty years no journalists or no filming permitted to come up there. more and more. ordinary life. the meaning of life. But what’s going on in me was something more complicated. probably. And 1950. But if you place yourself where there is no water rushing. So she got admirers. Communicating. for instance. by chance. you get. In 1940’s I was. And movement this direction. were supplying all the chemicals used in agriculture: together with the Department of Agriculture. but also that we were destroying life along the shores. in order to reach the cottage. certainly you can have. if you were to sit down here. it’s not a typical question of silence. and sometimes away from here to get down to people. I said yes to be in the nature protection kind of institution. They thought that tourists should go everywhere they wish to go and that we should have houses or huts anywhere. Nature not dominated by people. those two tremendously powerful institutions came together. when they heard about the book. I think. but I had the idea to have been still higher on the mountain. The longer time you use. a God-like being would ask you to come nearer. And the light. And it then led to be a tremendous shaking of the people in the United States. I’m obeying. You can sit here and look at this.. Is the silence important to you? Oh yes. But there was no kind of real effort to protect what’s left of non-dominated nature. Eh. And. I had also relation to. But that was in 1940’s. I had no kind of hope that there would be a different kind of policy towards free nature. Certainly. And then came the big firms of chemistry. endless variety of movement. no. that was out of the question. talking about pesticides. tiny ones and then little 48 . That was a bad idea. you see the silence is very important in the mountain. then you may listen to the silence. seeing things from her point of view.
I am a philosopher. Of course.. When you heard from her.. to. You get accustomed to certain ways of thinking. what is truth. which is: bang. so to say. In what sense? You are then forced to place your problems in certain ways. I think. And the total view means you have certain value priorities. through political means. with this capacity here. go on! Go on!’ And she really was able to carry on this polemics. I work more than write text books without any kind of free time. I was not a physician because I liked the way Spinoza was thinking: the grand total view that humans beings. And then from that time on. who they are. in the spring time. so the only thing would be to be a kind of philosopher. social and political means. then your mind suffers very much from it. in the city. What did you teach? I thought every branch of philosophy. in the first years. it was complicated. But then I was academic philosopher until about ‘65. and what kind of cosmos are you put into. and you have certain hypotheses who you are. you have to meet a lot of people. it meant that instead of getting rid of academia. We can forget about our job if we support you. but don’t use our names. writing and polemics. the life. 49 . Good laws about protecting species that was threatened and eh. So. in a sense. being a professor. that you cannot place a factory anywhere you like. to explain what is going on then in. But it didn’t help very much. early seventies. every week.. So I had to be two days. and all this. Three things. From nothing to nothing. in order to get away. and also a couple of books. 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.. the book. very bad life. within this time? Bang. I mean. You have to be in all kinds of meetings. I wished to get away from writing so much. and what is to be done [clicks]. So you have more than five branches of philosophy. And then I jumped into that instead of having living as I wished to live. for some years. But we are just behind you. I do more than the others. I felt that ordinary life couldn’t satisfy me. the theory of knowledge. very active from about 1970. you got very good kind of protection through laws. So. to change policies towards nature. bang. And I wrote then several hundred articles. bang! You are born. in order to prove that I am not skipping my responsibilities at all.chemical industry and in the Department of Agriculture. Four years after. and what is worthwhile. life. got in the early seventies . That’s my first article. bang! Not more than one second. Fabulous laws. I gave up that position in 1969. you were an were ordinary professor in Oslo? I had a friend in Norwegian. you gave up that position. and. what’s to be done in your life. bang! and you die. I think [clicks]. and so on. in the environment. if you are a professor for long time and head of the department and. what you call the environment. Nineteen years old. And I always gave more lectures than was required of me. who is. when people like to hear my opinion on But you are one of the most famous professors in philosophy of Norway. But I have to go back again into the city. to be a positivist. what is knowledge. I was considered to be. You have to have. But really. what kind of reality. so the great philosophers are those who take up every branch: the philosophy of mind of course. And what. ‘67. in the. From that time I would say: ‘I am not a professor of philosophy. that it was possible. And eh. United States was top. pfff. no-no. Ah. I saw life. The top level of protection. all this things. So. and so on.this was ‘63 -. I had all my lectures and meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.’ That’s to say: when certain. who told me a little about Rachel Carson in 1966. wrote to her: ‘We are all for what you are saying. and so on. very active. when I left school. ah! So they have the obligation to find out where they are. And I planned in 1965 to leave in order what I say to function as much as I would live. And then you get. But this made me. 1965. pfff. who is now professor of Ethics. And I placed the examinations early in the year. then. I continued.
they didn’t really. you mean probably this.’ So.. and this is false!’ You were among quite some noted philosophers in Vienna. hundreds of them just flunking there.’ I didn’t have any kind of thought. I wrote an article saying: ‘Nature is vanishing’. to listen to another way of formulating a think. eh. I wrote many books and in many fields. At the exams. and philosopher called Neurath. no. hundreds of flunking. I had to be a little more precise.’ And instead of saying: ‘Well. as of course saying: ‘If you wish to listen to me. yes! yes! Aha. I don’t know. the people who influenced you? Oh yes. you.. And. It’s a big boat. what is your question? What’s the problem?’ and so on. we have boxing together! Everything together with the students! But then I. it took a long time before I started on that. If you don’t want to listen to me. and on. it’s not quite a fortunate way. And then in the background was Wittgenstein. and then shaking them like this! [laughs]. And you could give lectures and everything like this – wa-wa-wa . full professor of 27 years old. never mind!’ my terrible ways of thinking. I distinguished talking from thinking.something. I thought then. that’s an intelligent way. and eh. Sometimes we don’t meet because: ‘Oh. So therefore. I didn’t think that anything could be done as an individual. by tons. 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. he won through magnetism. because he.. We talk and talk and we say we meet soand-so place and by chance we meet there. oh yes!’ So. because then you must have a question mark. you must prove that is same thing you mean by those words you agree about. and. which is very flat kind of philosophy. It’s the weight. and that was. at a young age. because I was so young. then perhaps we agree. got a lot against him. Except saying. I don’t know. they are. they thought it was the same as something like positivism. this is what I have. and that’s OK. And it was painful to think! [laughs]. You just talk. And because I was so young. So. We talk. this boat is very big with 100. but without any kind of arrogance. So I had a great power over the students. I was hang up in questions of how to pose your question precisely. I had a peculiar admiration of exact science. we were climbing together. That you don’t mean really any definite. could you say it this way?’ And then the other will say: ‘Yeah. So you try to find out what the other really meant. in order to talk. I think. more than thinking. I have to tell my opinion. Then I had to go into the ecology. or something like that. so to say ‘It is a big boat’ and you say: ‘100. And because there was so little known about philosophy in Norway. And eh. in this Vienna circle. couldn’t really dislike Is there a relationship between your being. at the same time. really. Do you.000 tons’. Whereas. Maybe it’s not a lucky way of saying what you mean there. You would say: ‘Perhaps you mean so-and-so. So. And try to see it best. but eh. yes. ‘Well. So they started: ‘How do you solve the problem of death?’ And I say this: ‘It’s not a problem. But Carnap and I. anything. 27 years old. You say: ‘Well. They had a formula: when others would say: ‘I disagree. you invited the other in the sense. a thought. I get. Can you still maybe try to tell a bit about this time in Vienna. Because we going slalom together.talking without really having an intended meaning. Probably we never agree about the same thing. a long time. natural. you meant so.’ they said: ‘Maybe what you say is. pfff. and eh. as I thought that if you are mathematician or a physicist. That’s what they call the logical positivists. And before that. to. they are rushhh. And maybe never disagree about exactly the same thing. Hm-mm. I knew if you agree about something. and what I liked so much was that they were trying to help each other within philosophy. I found that. whereas mostly philosophers like to disagree and don’t think that you understand me. But then I had to answer questions about the life and death and eh. if you. like this.000 ton’. that’s quite hypothetical. And I was the only professor of philosophy. if you ask what you mean by 100. and if you go ask exactly 50 . Thousands of students. big boat how many tons. I would try to take hold of the students. they were this philosophers called Carnap. like this.
and so on. how you also came to the concept of deep ecology? Absolutely. as I talk in my lecture. ‘Wouldn’t you like me to do this for you. but you act morally.’ You can start anywhere. So he said: ‘If they do what the moral law requires of you. on what basis you make physics.. because it would be a fantastic for us. And there. to see things being protected.’ Good for you. saying: ‘You wouldn’t mind.. you protect yourself. So if you dig deep enough. He makes the distinction between moral actions and beautiful actions [laughs]. the motivation. And we have lot of people doing research on the climate. Who would neglect totally the philosophy. they are often inclined to care for others and to other things. So. human force of inclination. We must not behave as we do because it is bad for yourself and for the children and grandchildren. we should do it.. You act. but through inclination. is so tremendously bigger than the force. you get into metaphysics and get into philosophy. They are more inclined than men. that’s not for me. not to much to eat.. then you get into such development. What distinguishes supporters of the deep ecology movement from other in the. And it’s no reason that everybody should try to be a supporter of deep ecology movement. if it is completely motivated by a respect for the moral laws. But. Whereas inclination. and we couldn’t do the same job. a kind of life philosophy. It’s not necessary. Then you act morally. especially among women. So it’s. and everything. mostly. if you start: ‘What time is it?’ And you say: ‘It’s half past eight. of course. So we have cooperation between activists in the deep ecology movement and activists who say: ‘Philosophy? No. Because if you get into such situations. because we are not afraid of being hurt. according to moral law. would be so glad.’ And they would say: ‘Oh yes! Act beautifully. And the act is only moral. That’s fine with me. 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. And for animals. Because a force. We would be glad if you could protect nature. And you protect through inclination. Then you act beautifully.’ All right. you say: ‘Why? I don’t catch what you thought there and what you. they do things for. even if you have no cars.’ We try to get away with it. in this way. and so on. among professors of philosophy.’ You can start: ‘Well. so we can be more radical in our views. The. that I would like more. it’s more. I have been lucky to find a distinction in a really very great philosopher. out of duty.. he says. Wouldn’t you like. That you lose yourself in questions that cannot be solved.’ And then. moral law teaches you to do so and not so-and-so. But then. if you only act beautifully and not morally. For me. and you go deep: you get into philosophy [clicks]. He distinguishes in a early work.’ And they are inclined to do things for other people and so on. as a kind of starting point or motivation. We of course do that sometimes. we need not go deeper. only motivated to see. to be able to say: I acted beautifully. the plus with the minority who are activist in deep ecology movement is that they will do everything out of inclination. is that the supporters of the deep ecology movement have. that more and more people are led into situations that they do things out of inclination. they go into themselves: ‘What are meaningful for me and what make me feel as I feel I am’.’ And that’s promising for the protection of the planet. whatever you see of life. but we try to avoid saying: ‘This is a moral law. Is that the distinction Kant makes? Ah. wherever you start. some eternal laws of morality. But they do it through inclination! They feel. what they feel that ‘what I am hangs together with nature. And they said: ‘Well.. or make eh mathematics. Immanuel Kant. yes! With this digging deep. I like to think of myself as acting beautifully. exactly. We 51 . on the ozone layer. that is not known. Then you act beautifully! Whereas if you protect because of the moral law. then you do not act beautifully. do other things which they should do. feel like it. activists in the ecology movement. So wherever you start. whereas those who are not deep ecology supporters. then you protect.what you mean and ask what. to act morally.’ So when you protect nature. exact question. what you mean by that?’ And you get into problem of time. as we live. I do it.
psss. or even more powerful. and I’m here. moralism. ordinary man or woman. Eutreptiela. to see the beauty and to see the marvel of life. I’m not able to do that. and then. but eh. in a way of identification. To see the reality of life and. you widen yourself.. Then. they would. and you show your inclination. easily get to be inclined to behave properly. I would say that to see the world in a certain way. that’s. and gymnastica is the species. and eh. it’s a question. that’s reality we have. but some people seem to relate to. But then I have my other hand behind the shrimp. at the moment there are plans to have real biology and ecology teaching in high schools and universities. of course. because then the get. as a human being. for instance. practically.. Or if there is any experience. if the parents behave properly. And if. they go try the window. and that’s against their instinct. you are extraordinary.to kill the insects. it’s no. And I. Every human being is completely extraordinary. And there is no limit. more or less. What’s there. and you see you are just as great as Einstein. No-no. identify with all life. eh? I found that I’m on par with. that you are much. What I meant is that you. and the relation between you and Michelangelo and Einstein and so on. if you have a lot of insects in the window. they have to go into darkness.’ And you say: ‘Look at this.. quite a lot of training. than a shrimp. Because: if a shrimp is here. for instance. 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 should compare yourself with a shrimp . what I referred to is when you looked through a microscope. So I’m for what I call. And a few people like to train themselves. So. But when you are already fifteen years old. And I speak about Self with a capital ‘S’. genus. You may have very big windows in summertime and a lot of different kinds of insects down on the [short?].’ [knocks on window] And so. for me. and then you don’t trample on it. psss. I repeat it over the radio many times. that’s different. Gestalt ontology.Is there a way to nourish inclination? The way to nourish inclination is most obvious when you have to do with children. So. I can take the hand and it will go like this. my power is evidently. eh. you see. compared to a shrimp. I say: ‘They like to go out. there are certain ways of experiencing Gestalts.and with Einstein. what’s real. the small children were trying to help the insects out. and you bend down to look at a tiny flower. So. Also. you see! Just as you would like to get out. But eh. then. for instance. like this. much powerful than you think. everything. that’s the genus. So. is fantastic power. that’s how I would like to move! So I see it as something similar to me. And it will go straight into my hand. maybe not experiencing anything. You think you are just an ordinary. Absolutely. that’s important. That’s to say. 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. Because you just lead children in free nature. Then the parents give them some poison and they like to psss. And that takes no time for children. And the name is Eutreptiela gymnastica. But I have the opportunity to say: ‘Very amusing. and so. Nobody is like the other. And eh. the world is made of Gestalts and eh. it’s much more difficult to get people to see my point. more and more. And it’s moving [imitates movement]. you see. And 52 . [laughs] You once identified very strongly with one of the tiniest creatures. which you have to train yourself in. is much more important than getting rules how to behave. a ballet. I. for instance. Well. I don’t. You bend all the way down. psss . Buddhists. you get [sufficient?] training. and.. I have a feeling of identification The learning of a new way of perception is more important than moralism.’ And they identify with these insects. no difficulty to get children. the similarity there is so great. 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. Then children are easily. You say: look at it. Eh. And the child will say: ‘What are you seeing there? There is nothing to be seen there. you identified too. And that is in philosophy called ontology: what’s real. but eh.
Trying to get out. it’ Yaah. So. even if there’s tremendously differences also. green or yellow. [laughs] I sometimes talk about that. But if I think that the spoon is alive. with this spoon [picks up spoon]. this is a story. for itself. you can have rights without obligations. another thing is. that’s not a living being. what you call it in English. That’s done in modern what you call eco- What is identification? It is just that you see yourself in somebody else. And there it was in the drop. They have six eh. it fragments [picks up tiny bread crust]. but also attributing rights to other beings. which I. just like between green and yellow you have hundreds of shades. for the spoon.. lemming? Lemming. But eh. But I say. so there is no chance.. as I have. you are also prepared to do something for this . What is called eh. A rock is maybe somewhere in-between. But a fly. you recognize the resemblance. he was not any professor at that time. generalize the rules. You see a similar being as yourself. with Jon Wetlesen. Living. Similar. completely disturbed mentally. you have a lot of rights. somehow. I had a lemming. just generalize the rights philosophy. in favour of rights of animals and living beings in general. We were together in Sonoran Desert and eh. professor Johan Wetlesen. is obviously trying to get out. And it lasted about ten minutes. And there is a lot. The movements were as we would do. And then a flea from the lemming landed on the glass under the microscope.. it’s a kind of caring . You see. wrote or said in an interview that you realized that the concept of human rights. that it could also be applied to nature. Lemming. When it’s alive. If you pick up something like this. as an amateur chemist. Whereas. if there are molecules that just are able to multiply. you had a special experience in the Sonora desert. inA rock? A rock I don’t see as alive. like to study. there was a flea there. that’s different. the. Yaah. And things were happening in that drop. And I couldn’t save it. Lemen? A small animal. Impossible because the adherent. certain forces on the surface of the tiny drop. But you also identified with the death struggle of a flea. I couldn’t tell. which you would. billions of them. But a mountain! [clicks] If you go back to this critical period in the late sixties.with this. So. it’s kind of fragment. most eh.. But if you identify yourself and you do something for your own sake. then I wouldn’t call it. the philosophy of rights. because one cannot avoid. because they think that if you have no obligations. then. you have no rights. for instance. That you could extend the idea of rights. yes.. 53 . So it’s illustrate what I call identification.whatever you identify with you are prepared to do for their sake. limbs. I don’t have names for all this shades. I would clean the spoon for my sake but I wouldn’t do anything for the. and every limb was doing things which we do when we are suffering. So there would be questions in-between. But certainly. And people who are disturbed mentally. My colleague. well. And he agreed that one could eh. such that I would say: Oh! This is a living being. So. And exactly what they are. then of course. it started moving. I don’t see it has a self.. seeing one’s self. The same. at that time. [sigh] Oh. the death struggle of the flea. You once desert. Like babies. but eh. bacteria also yes. no obligations and you have rights. and you get rights for animals. of course. in the water. outside southern Norway and they are not popular among the fishermen. And there. On this table I was working and then I had a lemen [lemming]. he was much in favour of human rights and I was. there are certain characteristics. And suddenly. But eh. some people. I don’t have the feeling. like. It is so obvious it has interest to get out. and also Johan Wetlesen hesitate.not only caring for other beings.
or more or less exactly. in the surround. always there. because otherwise. living. have immensely greater problems than you have. But even if they have no obligations. ‘Save the children’. from day to day. is so fantastically much greater than the children of other people. but still quite big. More than for the tigers and lions et cetera. And you have. many animals. immensely greater problems. that’s right. The existence of rights. animals in Africa. some animals really have obligations to protect us. very wrong I think. Yes. that has to do with academic philosophy. Why is that wrong. you get this stupid argument that deep ecology supporters care more for animals than for humans. But. Therefore.. So. So. humans are al. on fellow humans is so big that if one percent of that would be. to say.philosophy of the radical kind. how can you avoid talking about rights of animals?’ And if they say: ‘Well. which is eh. So to do that. but human beings. we know very much what it means to suffer. Whereas. would be used to help non-human beings. that if there are human rights. why is that a Why misconception? Because in the daily life of supporters of the deep ecology movement. I think it’s good for supporters of the deep ecology movement also to show their concern for fellow humans by eh.’ I say: ‘Well. your obligations towards fellow human beings… because they are so near to yourself and you know exactly what you can do for them. then it would be a colossal help for nonhuman beings. are certainly very great. You once put it this way.. if you have a lot of obligations then you. have to do with other fellow humans. why can’t they have rights?’ And then. like Amnesty International or other great institutions for helping fellow humans who are immensely. If only one percent were set aside for non-human. The term right. And that’s good. your obligations are tremendous there. for instance dogs. but what you spend financially. I sometimes say: ‘If you are among those who talk about rights of humans. 54 . Like deep ecology. worldwide. you have very great obligations to your fellow beings in that expedition. some. In academic philosophy. they have no good answers. and you have to care for them. they don’t have obligations. What’s different is that your obligations are tremendous towards fellow humans.. Of a wolf or a sheep. you agree completely that you have those obligations.. mostly we just know that they care to be alive. Your obligations towards your own children. And your obligation to hungry children in Africa or somewhere. and. there is a lot of polemics going on whether [mumbles] where they want to clarify the concept of rights. and eh. and eh. If you go have an expedition. then there are also animal rights. supporting institutions like eh. so.
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