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'The smaller we come to feel ourselves compared with the mountain, the nearer we come to participating in its greatness.' Philosopher, mountaineer, activist and visionary, Arne Naess's belief that all living things have value made him one of the most inspirational figures in the environmental movement. Drawing on his years spent in an isolated hut high in the Norwegian mountains, and on influences as diverse as Gandhi's nonviolent action and Spinoza's all-encompassing worldview, this selection of the best of his writings is filled with wit, charisma and intense connection with nature. Emphasizing joy, cooperation and 'beautiful actions', they create a philosophy of life from a man who never lost his sense of wonder at the world.
Arne Naess was born in Slemdal, Norway, in 1912. After earning his Ph.D. at the age of 27, he became the University of Oslo's youngest professor, and Norway's only Professor of Philosophy. Naess was a keen mountaineer, environmentalist and social activist. In 1938, he finished building an isolated wooden hut high in the Hallingskarvet mountains, where he would spend a quarter of his life. It was here that he developed his concept of 'deep ecology', and his lifelong commitment to the environmental movement. His activity within the movement ranged from grassroots protest, to candidacy for political office with the Green Party, to a post as the first chairman of Greenpeace Norway in 1988. His achievements as a philosopher, ecologist and activist were widely recognised during his lifetime. In 2005 he was knighted and made a Commander with Star of the Royal Norwegian order of St. Olav First Class. He died in Oslo in 2009.