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Crossing the Stones
A Portrait of Arne Naess

An intimate biography of the Norwegian founder of deep ecology.

A printer-friendly version of this page 47 minutes
Directed by Jan Horne
Produced by Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation

Arne Næss-Norwegian philosopher, founder of "deep ecology," and alpinist extraordinaire-is the subject of this inspiring portrait. At the time of filming Næss was in his 80s, and was filled with wonder at the richness of the natural world and our unique place within it. For him life was 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 was 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 Næss, knowledge of the deepest kind should bind humanity to nature, and not push us further away from the tactile object of its study.

Arne Næss was leader of the first Norwegian Himalayan expedition in 1950, and at the time of filming lived 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. He died in 2009 at the age of 96.

Grade Level: 10-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 1993     Copyright Date: 1992
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-830-9     VHS ISBN: 1-56029-518-X

"Arne Næss is one of the world's most influential environmental thinkers...(This video) provides more than a portrait of Næss's philosophy. It shows the man himself, his influential mountaineering days, his life, and his life-style. Unlike many people today...Næss lives and apparently thrives by his ideals."
The Sustainable Futures Society

"An interesting biography for those who want to see a remarkable philosopher who practices his philosophy."
International Society

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Crossing the Stones

"A remarkable philosopher who practices his philosophy." International Society For Environmental Ethics

Environmental Ethics
European Studies

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