Friday, January 30, 2009

the death of arne næss

A couple of weeks ago Arne Næss, the instigator of Deep Ecology, died at 96... a ripe old age! In reading his obituary I discovered he was a keen mountaineer. I am surprised by the number of philosophical writers who are also mountaineers. Mountaineering is not a very common past-time for Australians (we don't really have any mountains here and need to make a trip across the ditch to NZ to climb). Of course in Japan, New Zealand, Europe and Scandinavia (well, at least Norway) the sport is much more popular and you are likely to find yourself sitting on a train beside a person cuddling a day-pack, rope, crampons and ice tools. Still, I wonder, does the experience of mountaineering, its struggles, the extremes of temperature and slope, the ultimate dependence on your climbing partner, and the risk, breed philosophers? Or do philosophical types turn to the mountains? Whichever way it works, the allure of the world's peaks is hard to resist for any with a spirit of adventure, sturdy knees and a love for nature.

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