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Crossing the Stones

Crossing the Stones

Arne Naess-Norwegian philosopher, founder of 'deep ecology,' and alpinist extraordinaire-is the subject of this inspiring portrait. Now in his 80s, Naess is still filled with wonder at the richness of the natural world and our unique place within it. For him life is something to be enjoyed completely.

From a childhood during the First World War through the study of psychoanalysis in Freud's Vienna, through the mid-century hardening of ideologies to the most recent decades with the emergence of ecology as a political force, his exuberant life in the throes of nature has always been characterized by a drive to embrace precise and clear thinking in the face of the great contemporary dilemmas.

Deeply touched by the thought of Spinoza and Gandhi, he coined the term 'deep ecology' to express a vision of the world in which we protect the environment as a part of ourselves, never in opposition to humanity. Deep sensitivity to nature is the articulation of something that every child understands. And for Naess, knowledge of the deepest kind should bind humanity to nature, and not push us further away from the tactile object of its study.

Naess was leader of the first Norwegian Himalayan expedition in 1950, and now lives with his wife in a remote hut well above the treeline on the side of a mountain in central Norway. And, like Thoreau, the example of his own life is as instructive as his writing.

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