In prevalent individualistic and utilitarian political thinking in western modern industrial states, the terms ‘self-realization,’ ‘self-expression,’ ‘self-interest’ are used (in ways that assume) the ultimate and extensive incompatibility of the interests of different individuals. In opposition to this trend there is another, which is based on the hypothesis (that) self-realization cannot develop far without sharing joys and sorrows with others, or more fundamentally, without the development of the narrow ego of the small child into the comprehensive structure of a Self that comprises all human beings. The ecological movement – as many earlier philosophical movements – takes a step further and asks for a development such that there is a deep identification of people with all life.

Arne Naess

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