7 mar. 2009

Editorial - The Wizard of Oz

THE WIZARD OF OZ


Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue…” entona la famosa canción de “El Mago de Oz”, aquella película de 1939 que cuenta el andar de Dorothy por un camino amarillo en busca de la ansiada Ciudad Esmeralda.


Ciudad Esmeralda, Christiania, Paraíso o Edén, las versiones sobre una soñada utopía proliferan en fantasías infantiles, textos antiguos religiosos o filosóficos, literatura, cine y arte. Pero cuando iniciamos la búsqueda de materiales cercanos para este número dedicado a la utopía, buscando –lo confieso- razones para la esperanza, nos encontramos con una distopia generalizada. Quisimos ver en el espejo el ideal reflejado, mas nos encontramos con nuestro propio rostro demacrado.


El poeta René E Rodas lo señala en “El museo de la Nada ”:


«Todo ciudadano tiene derecho a enriquecerse, convertirse en espectáculo, engordar, copular, adelgazar, hacer el ridículo, emparejarse los dientes, portar un arma, siempre que pague sus impuestos y no intente subvertir el orden establecido».


La utopía es literalmente el no-lugar. “No existe” pensarán algunos, mientras otros dirán que si existe, vamos sin embargo en el camino contrario. O eso parecen decirnos tanto Rodolfo Molina en su serie de fotografías digitales “Arquitecturas utópicas” como el fotográfo-arquitecto Andreas Hablutzel, y Jason Flores-Williams en su autorretrato “desde el fin del mundo”.


Curioso, porque es desde el extraño cruce de caminos entre el paisaje, la arquitectura y las artes visuales que surge el campo más fértil para un espacio ideal. En algunos roza la locura, como en Adolf Wölfli, quien creara complejas estructuras mentales en su monumental obra en dibujo. O en Salarrué, cabalgando libremente sobre su imaginación hasta llegar al Paraíso de Xi, para describirnos admirado su hallazgo:


«una pasmosa anastomosis de brazos, piernas, cabezas, sexos y cabelleras, y en la cresta de aquella palpitante estructura del Bien y del Mal, las dos indescriptibles flores del Dolor y el Amor, roja la una y la otra blanca y luminosa.”


En otros, los espacios solo son visibles desde perspectivas absurdas como en las bellas anamorfosis fotográficas del francés Georges Rousse: pequeños paraísos de color que desaparecen al dar un paso en otra dirección.


Y hay más. Están aquellos que, necios en su empeño, siguen creyendo –como pequeños niños dispuestos a tirarse del techo en una noche de luna llena para comprobar que pueden volar- en el amor (Miguel Huezo Mixco), en la educación (Luis Valdivieso), en las posibilidades del trabajo comunitario ( La Fábri-K ), en el respeto a la naturaleza, la necesidad de actuar hoy y ahora, y en la felicidad (Arne Naess).


Para culminar aquí con una nota en alto, hago aquí un insólito coro a dos voces entre las palabras de Naess y la voz de Judy Garland como Dorothy, mirando abrazados hacia el horizonte cual paisaje de Friedrich:


Naess: You should not look hard for happiness.

Dorothy: The dreams that you care to dream really do come true.

Blanco y Negro

Andreas Hablutzel

USA / 1965





Andreas Hablutzel’s intriguing art work is an austere yet complex visual exploration of the common ground shared by both his chosen professions. In this uncharted territory, the solidness of walls built is but an scenario for the vulnerable spaces that lie in between - spaces marked by the passage of time and the meanderings of humans-, where he uses the ever-so-fleeting light of photography to register the textures, colors and subtle tones of those surfaces which form the contemporary urban labyrinths we call cities. Hablutzel describes his work as “drawn to quiet scenes -devoid of people- places which are about longing, temporality, and memory”. In the solitary travel of brick and asphalt that his photographs register, the longing is latent; be it for a continuing maze or for a promissory encounter, his work opens up our sense of awareness and expectations of that to come.


Andreas Hablutzel is an artist -photographer and architect- living in Brooklyn, NY. He has degrees in Architecture from Rice University in Houston and the Southern California Institute of Architecture, and an MA in Photographic studies from the University of Westminster in London. He has exhibited in the US, Switzerland, the UK and Estonia.

Salarrué

NARRATIVA
Salarrué

De "O-Yarkandal"

SAL / 1899-1975

Nunca se convirtió en adulto. Los setenta y tantos años de su vida fueron una bendición del tiempo para que él ejerciera a plenitud su generosa infancia. Fue siempre el niño de su propio planeta extraño, y desde ese planeta accedía a mundos tan diversos como los que estaban profundamente enraizados en las terribles y sencillas verdades de la tierra (“Cuentos de barro”), los que reproducían y prefiguraban el modo de ser ingenioso y toscamente tierno de su gente impregnado en las travesuras de sus niños medio campesinos, medio citadinos (“Cuentos de cipotes”), o desde los cuales elevarse a esferas de mística sabiduría, como en “O-Yarkandal”, del que aquí se presenta un fragmento. Qué afortunados fuimos de que su maravilloso planeta visitara alguna vez el nuestro. No queda más que darle las gracias, don Salarrué.


NAMUNDAYANA


El narrador dijo:


“Referiré como se refiere en los libros sagrados la visión del Paraíso según Harpodyatra el profeta, el que trajo la luz, el que trajo la ley.



Decía el profeta que el Paraíso de Xi era una isla, mas añadía que era una isla interior, lo cual parece incomprensible, puesto que no puede haber una isla interior a menos que sea en medio de un lago”.


Sonrió Saga misteriosamente y continuó:


“Había en el Paraíso las cosas más estupendas que un hombre puede encontrar sobre la faz de la Tierra; y se entraba en él por arriba, pues no había otro medio de entrar o de salir.


Dice el Profeta que él y su discípulo predilecto Darnadiri, se hallaron un día sin saber cómo, en el propio Paraíso de Xi. Supiéronlo por un genio alado que estaba cerca de ellos y que les guiaba llevándoles sujetos por la cintura cuando volaba, uno a cada lado y haciéndoles sombra a cada uno con una de sus alas. Al principio se hallaban en un bosque inmenso. Caminaban sobre el tronco de un árbol inclinado que debió ser muy viejo, pues su corteza se había ido cubriendo de polvo hasta permitir a otros árboles menores brotar encima. Así este tronco era como un camino inclinado a cuyos lados crecían árboles y hierbas florales y jamás habían visto ellos un árbol tan grande. Verdad es que aquel monstruo vegetal no era en el Paraíso sino uno de tantos, y poco después pudieron conocer un bosque de árboles gigantescos que según les dijo el genio alado, no era sino el musgo en la rama de un árbol mayor, tan grande para ellos que ya no podían distinguirle como tal.


Había, dice, grandes hojas que pendían como mantos o cortinones, y que cuando ya estaban marchitas se desprendían en el abismo del bosque, aleteando como vampiros gigantes y formando en el suelo un colchón aromático, por entre cuyos desgarros surgían flores colosales como cabezas de león.(….)


Luego llegaron a un paraje despejado, a una llanura sobre la cual les pareció que el cielo azul se deshojaba como un árbol marchito; más pronto se dieron cuenta de que aquellas hojas eran miríadas de mariposas azules revoloteando en giros alocados, con leve susurro de nevada. Y cada mariposa era una joven bella y desnuda y todas ellas danzaban alegremente, agitando sus mantos azules en el aire y en la luz.(…)


Aquella noche durmieron sobre la blanda felpa de unas vainas gigantes que pendían de una rama, y que abrían su concha de día y la entrecerraban al ponerse el sol. Cada uno escogió una para sí, y pronto, arrullados por aquella sinfonía alucinante, se quedaron profundamente dormidos.


Les despertó un ruido desconocido que se asemejaba al de las olas cuando chocan contra el acantilado de las cosas. Era una sucesión de golpes de ola a lo lejos y aun podían escuchar el hervor de las espumas en la arena. El genio explicóles que aquel extraño rumor era causado por el chasquido de enormes gotas de rocío caídas intermitentemente de las hojas del bosque en las profundidades del mismo. Cada chasquido era como el golpe de una marejada, y el agua clara se rompía en espumas inundando en círculos los céspedes del bosque.


El sol había llegado. El aire todo, lleno de humedad y de perfume, era un mar prismático. Se vivía en la mañana como dentro del Iris de siete colores y siete sonidos. Un mundo de seres minúsculos trabajaba la vida del Paraíso, y divinos pájaros de plumajes multicolores, volaban gritando su delirio de vida, de rama en rama.(….)


Y por último habla del árbol sagrado, hecho todo de cuerpos humanos retorcidos; teniendo por raíces inquietas serpientes que hurgaban la vida en el suelo; sus millares de ojos tenían una vida fogosa, cerrándose unos, abriéndose otros, guiñando, girando… Había ojos espantados hasta la locura, y ojos apagados de sensualidad, y ojos torcidos de malicia o de burla, y ojos enrojecidos de furia, y ojos extasiados en el éxtasis supremo, y ojos suplicantes de amor y de deseo. Habla asimismo de los millares de bocas del árbol: bocas rientes, bocas cantantes, bocas sonrientes, bocas llorantes, bocas besantes, bocas mordientes, bocas silentes y bocas babeantes. Y describe una pasmosa anastomosis de brazos, piernas, cabezas, sexos y cabelleras, y en la cresta de aquella palpitante estructura del Bien y del Mal, las dos indescriptibles flores del Dolor y el Amor, roja la una y la otra blanca y luminosa”.


El narrador cortó un momento la palabra que fascinaba a sus oyentes, miró al cielo con un gesto de sutil melancolía y murmuró:


“Os he referido la visión del Paraíso como se refiere en los libros sagrados, según Harpodyatra el profeta, el que trajo la luz, el que trajo la ley. No olvidéis que él decía ser su historia en sí una verdad, y que el Paraíso existía y existe por siempre en una isla interior; lo cual parece incomprensible”.


Y Saga volvió a sonreír misteriosamente.



Adolf Wolfli

ARTES VISUALES

Adolf Wölfli

SWI, 1864-1930


Wölfli's imaginary autobiography and one-person utopia starts with “From the Cradle to the Grave“(1908-1912). In 3,000 pages, Wölfli turns his dramatic and miserable childhood into a magnificent travelog. He relates how as a child named Doufi, he travelled “more or less around the entire world,“ accompanied by the “Swiss Hunters and Nature Explorers Travelling Society.“ The narrative is lavishly illustrated with drawings of fictitious maps, portraits, palaces, cellars, churches, kings, queens, snakes, speaking plants.


In the second part of the writings, the “Geographic and Algebraic Books“, Wölfli describes how to build the future “Saint Adolf-Giant-Creation“: a huge “capital fortune“ that will allow to purchase, rename, urbanize, and appropriate the planet and finally the entire cosmos. In 1916 this narrative reaches a climax as Wölfli dubs himself St. Adolf II.


In the subsequent „Books with Songs and Dances“ (1917-1922) and “Album Books with Dances and Marc
hes“ (1924-1928), Wölfli celebrates his “Saint Adolf-Giant-Creation“ for thousands of additional pages, in sound poetry, songs, musical scales, drawings, and collages. In 1928 he starts with the “Funeral March,“ the fifth and final part of his great imaginary autobiography. In over 8,000 pages he recapitulates central motifs of his world system in the reduced form of keywords and collages, weaving them into a infinite tapestry of sounds and pictures, a fascinating requiem ending only with his death in 1930.


As a multiple outsider, Wölfli used the world as a quarry for constructing a complex mental edifice comp
lete unto itself. The “Saint Adolf-Giant-Creation“ was both a kind of wish-fulfillment machine and the result of his obstinate reception and reproduction of turn-of-the-century ideas, values and fantasies. Wölfli created a body of work that was part of its age in terms of content, yet clearly alien to that age's conventions.


Jean Dubuffet, the French artist and founder of Art Brut, called Wölfli “le grand Wölfli“; the Surrealist André Breton considered his oeuvre “one of the three of four most important works of the twentieth century“; and the Swiss curator Harald Szeemann showed a number of his pieces in 1972
at “Documenta 5“, the renown contemporary art exhibition in Kassel, Germany. Wölfli's writings, which he considered his actual life's work, only began to be systematically examined and transcribed in 1975 when the Adolf Wölfli Foundation was founded. Elka Spoerri (1924-2002) built up the Adolf Wölfli Foundation and was its curator from 1975 to 1996. Taken from the Adolf Wölfli webpage.







La Fábri-K

Fotos en esta sección cortesía
La Fábri-K

Colectivo de artistas

http://lafabri-k.blogspot.com/

La Fábri-K (LFK) se reapropia del término por el que fuera conocido el lugar originalmente, para convertirlo en un espacio desde donde puedan surgir nuevas formas de integración cultural pero también de resistencia cultural, así como nuevas ideas y estrategias para abrir espacios propios en el cada vez más complejo mapa global.

La antigua fábrica de baterías situada en Loma Linda, en las proximidades de Zaragoza, departamento de La Libertad, cuenta con un espacio privilegiado a tan solo 15 minutos de San Salvador en la carretera al Puerto. Dos bodegas, una de 650 mt2 y otra de 150mt2, un área de oficina/biblioteca de 75 mt2, la antigua residencia patronal con vista al mar, y las 10 mzs de cafetales silvestres que conforman el terreno circundante constituyen el complejo que ahora llamamos La Fábri-K.

LFK es un colectivo asociado de artistas en un espacio cultural autogestionado. LFK es: Espacio de taller-estudio para el trabajo creativo individual de cada uno de sus miembros; Espacio común para proyectos grupales de exhibición, promoción, formación y comercialización de su trabajo; Enlaces comunitarios de desarrollo cultural local como por ejemplo a través de talleres, asesorías y participaciones directas con diferentes sectores o comunidades; Intercambios culturales con otros grupos e instituciones internacionales; Red informativa de actividades del colectivo.

La nueva Fábri-K tiene también una línea de producción, conformada por ideales que buscan construir una comunidad artística enérgica y expansiva con efectos visibles y perdurables, y fomentando la reflexión artística y el diálogo comunitario a través de una conversación abierta y continua



Miguel Huezo Mixco


Leonora y Salarrué:

Tocando a las puertas del palacio
Miguel Huezo Mixco
ESA

En 1946, en la ciudad de Nueva York, se produce el encuentro entre los artistas Salarrué y Leonora Nichols. De aquel romance se conservan una serie de cartas escritas por Leonora a su amante. Para el poeta y ensayista Miguel Huezo Mixco, aquella correspondencia deja evidencia que aquellos dos seres intentaron, sin éxito, trasponer los límites del deseo en pos de la plenitud espiritual, atascándose en los terribles asuntos propios de los triángulos amorosos: frustraciones, culpas, incertidumbre.

I.

Comenzaré contándoles el final de esta historia. La última vez que vi a Salarrué fue en su casa, en Villa Montserrat. Estaba viejo y enfermo. Pocos meses después de aquella visita, murió. Lo había conocido por azar. En el colegio me tocó hacer un pequeño ensayo sobre uno de sus libros y Salarrué bajó de su casa en las alturas de Los Planes al antiguo edificio de la Biblioteca Nacional para darnos una entrevista a mí y otro compañero del colegio. Así fue como lo conocí.

No volví a verlo sino hasta algunos años después, cuando yo era un aprendiz de editor en la Dirección de Publicaciones. El director, malhumorado, me encomendó atenderlo. Salarrué quería que se hiciera una nueva edición de “Cuentos de barro”. Comencé a viajar a Los Planes para hablar con él, primero por su libro, y luego por el simple gusto de verlo y escucharlo hablar. Así, volvemos al final –o al principio, según se vea-- de esta historia.

Pasó el tiempo. En 2005 el Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen publicó el libro “Sagatara mío”, que reúne una parte de la correspondencia que Leonora Nichols mantuvo por años con su amante Salarrué. Ese libro nos mostró una faceta desconocida de su vida: la de un hombre capaz de verse arrastrado por la pasión sino por otras menos dignas como la ira o los celos.

Leyendo entre líneas aquellas cartas no es difícil entrever los asuntos terribles que acompañan a los triángulos amorosos: frustraciones, culpas, incertidumbre. Janet Gold, la autora de esta compilación, nos mostró a un Salarrué tenso, arrogante y grosero. A causa de su relación, aquellos dos “místicos ardientes” en busca de la gracia, como gustaban definirse, vivieron circunstancias complicadísimas.

Veamos detalles de la historia. Salarrué llegó a Nueva York en 1946 con un nombramiento oficial. Pese a que unos doce años atrás había asegurado no tener patria –lo dice en su “Carta a los patriotas”--, Salarrué se ha convertido en un representante del gobierno de El Salvador. No tiene grandes responsabilidades diplomáticas, tampoco un gran salario. Tiene 48 años. Está casado y tiene tres hijas, todas mayores de edad. Su familia se ha quedado en El Salvador. Nueva York se le ofrece como una ventana para desplegar su talento. Allí se encuentran Leonora y Salarrué, donde, para decirlo con un tópico, nace el amor. El amor que endulza y sangra… El Amor como Utopía, que hace a los amantes trasponer los límites del deseo hacia la plenitud espiritual.

Pero apenas han pasado unos meses desde aquel encuentro y los problemas comienzan a aparecer. El 9 de enero de 1947, Leonora escribe: “me siento triste y con el ánimo por los suelos, como si los dioses, después de todo, nos hubieran engañado”. Añade: “¡Dónde, oh, dónde está nuestro camino juntos Sagatara!”. Una semana más tarde, Leonora es de nuevo presa de la congoja y le propone que acepten que su amor debe permanecer “dentro de los planes del espíritu y de la mente”. La carta del 2 de mayo nos revela un Salarrué que pelea con frecuencia.

En realidad, Leonora parece estar enamorada del otro yo de Salarrué: Sagatara, el personaje de su libro más fascinante: O-Yarkandal. Sagatara es un ser en el que brilla el fuego de lo divino. Ella sueña con venir a El Salvador y vivir a su lado. Esos momentos de ilusión, sin embargo, se ven repetidamente interrumpidos por la incertidumbre de Salarrué que no parece dispuesto a deshacerse ni de su familia ni de su amante.

A finales de 1947, la paciencia de Leonora parece llegar al límite reprochándole sus celos y sus temores. Tras las ráfagas de dolor, vuelven las ilusiones. “La fuente de cristal fluye libre y abundante otra vez”, le escribe, en las vísperas del fin del año. En junio del año siguiente, se produce un hecho significativo. Salarrué realiza una exposición de sus obras en una galería de Nueva York. Eventos que no conocemos en detalle hacen que aquella exposición se convierta en un verdadero suplicio. Parece ser que algún comentario en público de Leonora hirió al orgulloso “maestro”. Todo lo que sabemos es lo que ella le escribe:

“Mi amor, no cruzó por mi mente la idea de “disminuir” el arte de Sagatara... Lo único que hice fue expresar lo que consideré una crítica constructiva”.

Parece que la reacción de Salarrué fue tremenda: “Desperté tu ira, me lastimaste, y quedé exhausta por tus acusaciones”, le dice Leonora. “¡Salarrué fue el que me atacó como con una varilla de hierro!”. Sus quejas sobre las actitudes irascibles y los celos de Salarrué, aparentemente injustificados, se encuentran a lo largo de esta correspondencia.

En julio de 1949, esta pareja pasa por uno de sus momentos más difíciles. Nos encontramos a Leonora en Taxco, México, pidiéndole a Salarrué que venga para los trámites de divorcio. “Tú serías legalmente libre en cuestión de semanas por la suma de aproximadamente 12 dólares”, le dice. Pero los días pasan y Salarrué se sumerge en la indecisión. “Ahora tiemblo, pues veo que la estructura de nuestro Gran Sueño de Amor gravita de nuevo”, le escribe ella un mes después. Como alguna vez le escribió Leonora, se les hace tarde.

Aquel libro no es sólo una historia de desamor. También es un libro que muestra la impotencia de dos seres extraordinarios puestos a prueba por las circunstancias. Nos muestra también su coraje. Porque tuvieron el arrojo de soñar y de lanzarse desnudos en la fosa hirviente de la pasión, de la cual nunca se vuelve igual.

Salarrué y Leonora estuvieron dispuestos a dejar esa estela ácida en la historia de nuestra cultura. Ahora bien, el gesto profundamente terrenal de aquellos amantes no sólo nos habla de sexo. Intentemos vincularlo con la filosofía en la cual intentaron encontrar explicaciones y consuelo en esta vida.

El famoso poemario “La conferencia de los pájaros”, del poeta persa Farid ud-Din Attar, publicado en el siglo XII, cuenta la peregrinación de los pájaros que buscan al Simurg, encarnación de la Divinidad. En ese viaje en pos del palacio del Simurg, los peregrinos deben cruzar siete valles: el amor, el entendimiento, la separación, la unidad, el asombro, la privación y la muerte. Algunos pocos tienen éxito.

Leonora y Salarrué hicieron su propia peregrinación. No conocí a Leonora. Pero de mi admirado Salarrué puedo atreverme a decir que cuando lo conocí, pobre, solitario, enfermo y viejo, parecía estar tocando insistentemente a las puertas del palacio del Simurg. Quizás para entonces, pasados los siete valles, se había convertido en el auténtico Sagatara.

Leonora y Salarrué soñaron con la dicha más excelsa en este y en los mundos del más allá. No tengo noticias de esos otros mundos. En lo que se refiere a este, el único mundo que conozco, creo que el supremo anhelo de reencontrase alguna vez, después de aventuras, tropiezos, asombros, privaciones y hasta la muerte misma, pareciera haberse cumplido en ese pequeño libro.

Arne Naess

Self-realization:

An ecological approach to being in the world
Arne Naess
NOR / 1912-2009


Arne Naess, a Norwegian philosopher whose ideas about promoting an intimate and all-embracing relationship between the earth and the human species inspired environmentalists and Green political activists around the world, died just recently.

In the early 1970s, after three decades teaching philosophy at the University of Oslo, he threw himself into environmental work and developed a theory that he called deep ecology. Its central tenet is the belief that all living beings have their own value and therefore, as Mr. Naess once put it, “need protection against the destruction of billions of humans” and called for population reduction, soft technology and non-interference in the natural world.

It formed part of a broader personal philosophy that Mr. Naess called ecosophy T, “a philosophy of ecological harmony or equilibrium” that human beings can comprehend by expanding their narrow concept of self to embrace the entire planetary ecosystem. The term fused “ecological” and “philosophy.” The T stood for Tvergastein, his name for the mountain cabin he built in 1937 in southern Norway, where he often wrote.

Over his career, Mr. Naess progressed from a radical empiricism to pluralism and skepticism. In his many publications, he took on a wide variety of philosophical problems. Harold Glasser, the editor of “The Selected Works of Arne Naess” (2005), has called him “the philosophical equivalent of a hunter-gatherer.” He was interested in language, meaning and communication and in the relationship between reason and feeling. He also wrote books on two thinkers central to his worldview, Spinoza and Gandhi. In 1969 Mr. Naess left the university to develop his ecological ideas, which, he believed, demanded political action. Taken freely from The New York Times Book Review.


In tribute to Arne Naess we present here an extracted version of one of his earlier papers in which he explains his core ideas on self and incites us to identify deeply with the Earth and all living beings and engage in “beautiful” acts for the benefit of all.


For about 2500 years humankind has struggled with basic questions about who we are, what we are heading for, and of what kind of reality we are part. Two thousand, five hundred years is a short period in the lifetime of a species, and still less in the lifetime of the Earth, to whose surface we belong as mobile parts. I am not capable of saying very new things, but I can look at things from a somewhat different angle, using somewhat different conceptual tools and images.

What I am going to say more or less in my own way and that of my friends, may roughly be condensed into the following six points:

  1. We under-estimate ourself. I emphasize ‘self’. We tend to confuse it with the narrow ego.
  2. Human nature is such that with sufficient allsided maturity we cannot avoid ‘identifying’ ourself with all living beings, beautiful or ugly, big or small, sentient or not. I need of course to elucidate my concept of identifying. I’ll come back to that.

The adjective “allsided” in ‘allsided maturity’ deserves note: Descartes seemed to be rather immature in his relation to animals, Schopenhauer was not so much advanced in his relation to family (kicking his mother down the staircase?), Heidegger was amateurish –to say the least- in his political behaviour. Weak identification with nonhumans is compatible with maturity in some major sets of relations, such as those towards family or friends. I use the qualification ‘allsided’, that is, ‘in all major relations’.

  1. Traditionally the maturity of self has been considered to develop through three stages, from ego to social self, comprising the ego, and from there to the metaphysical self, comprising the social self. But Nature is then largely left out in the conception of this process. Our home, our immediate environment, where we belong as children, and the identification with human living beings, are largely ignored. I therefore tentatively introduce, perhaps for the first time ever, a concept of ecological self. We may be said to be in, of and for Nature from our very beginning. Society and human relations are important. These relations are not only relations we have to other humans and the human community. (I have introduced the term ‘mixed community’ for communities where we consciously and deliberately live closely together with certain animals.)
  2. Joy of life and meaning of life is increased through increased self-realization. That is, through the fulfilment of potentials each has, but which never are exactly the same for any pair of living beings. Whatever the differences, increased self-realization implies broadening and deepening of self.
  3. Because of an inescapable process of identification with others, with growing maturity, the self is widened and deepened. We ‘see ourself in others’. Self-realization is hindered if the self-realization of others, with whom we identify, is hindered. Love of yourself will fight this obstacle by assisting in the self-realization of others according to the formula ‘live and let live!’ Thus, all that can be achieved by altruism---the dutiful, moral consideration of others---can be achieved---and much more---through widening and deepening ourself. Following Kant we then act beautifully, but neither morally nor immorally.
  4. A great challenge of today is to save the planer from further devastation that violates both the enlightened self-interest of humans and nonhumans, and decreases the potential of joyful existence for all.

---Now, proceeding to elaborate these points, I shall start with the peculiar and fascinating terms ‘ego, ‘self’.

The simplest answer to who and what I am is to point to my body, using my finger. But clearly I cannot identify my self or even my ego with my body. Example: Compare. I know Mr. Smith with “My body knows Mr. Smith”; I like poetry with “My body likes poetry”, The only difference between us I that you are Presbyterian and I am a Baptist, with “The only difference between our bodies is that your body is Presbyterian whereas mine is Baptist”.

In the above sentences we cannot substitute ‘my body’ for ‘I’. Nor can we substitute ‘my mind’ or ‘my mind and body’ for ‘I’. More adequately we may substitute ‘I as a person’ for ‘I, but of course this does not tell us what the ego or self is.

---A couple of thousand years of philosophical, psychological and social-psychological thinking has not brought us to any stable conception of the I, ego or the self. In modern psychotherapy these notions play an indispensable role, but, of course, the practical goal of therapy does not necessitate philosophical clarification of the terms. It is for the purpose of this paper important to remind ourselves about the strange and marvellous phenomena we are dealing with. They are extremely close. Perhaps the very nearness of these objects of thought and reflection adds to our difficulties. I shall only offer one single sentence resembling a definition of the ecological self. The ecological self of a person is that with which this person identifies.

This key sentence (rather than definition) about the self, shifts the burden of clarification from the term ‘self’ to that of identification, or rather ‘process of identification’.

What would be a paradigm situation of identification? It is a situation in which identification elicits intense empathy. My standard example has to do with a non-human being I met 40 years ago. I looked through an old-fashioned microscope at the dramatic meeting of two drops of different chemicals. A flea jumped from a lemming strolling along the table and landed in the middle of the acid chemicals. To save it was impossible. It took many minutes for the flea to die. Its movements were dreadfully expressive. What I felt was, naturally, a painful compassion and empathy. But the empathy was not basic, it was the process of identification, that ‘I see myself in the flea’. If I was alienated from the flea, not seeing intuitively anything even resembling myself, the death struggle would have left me indifferent. So there must be identification in order for there to be compassion and, among humans, solidarity.

One of the authors contributing admirably to clarification of the study of self is Erich Fromm.

The doctrine that love for oneself is identical with ‘selfishness’ and an alternative to love for others has pervaded theology, philosophy, and popular thought; the same doctrine has been rationalized in scientific language in Freud´s theory of narcissism. Freud’s concept presupposes a fixed amount of libido. In the infant, all of the libido has the child’s own person as its objective, the stage of ‘primary narcissism’ as Freud calls it. During the individual’s development, the libido is shifted from one’s own person toward other objects. If a person is blocked in his ‘object-relationships’, the libido is withdrawn from the objects and returned to his or her own person; this is called ‘secondary narcissism’. According to Freud, the more love I turn toward the outside world the less love is left for myself, and vice versa. He thus describes the phenomenon of love as an impoverishment of one’s self-love because all libido is turned to an object outside oneself.

What Erich Fromm attributes here to Freud, we may today attribute to the shrinkage of self-perception implied in the ego-trip fascination. Fromm opposes such shrinkage. The following quotation concerns love of persons, but as ‘ecosophers’ we find the notion of ‘care, respect, responsibility, knowledge’ applicable to living beings in the wide sense.

Love of others and love for ourselves are not alternatives. On the contrary, an attitude of love toward themselves will be found in all those who are capable of loving others. Love, in principle, is indivisible as far as the connection between ‘objects’ and one`s own self is concerned. Genuine love is an expression of productiveness and implies care, respect, responsibility, and knowledge. It is not an ‘effect’ in the sense of being affected by somebody, but an active striving for the growth and happiness of the loved person, rooted in one´s own capacity to love.

Fromm is very instructive about unselfishness—diametrically opposite to selfishness, but still based upon alienation and narrow perceptions of self. We might add that what he says applies also to persons experiencing sacrifice of themselves.

The nature of unselfishness becomes particularly apparent in its effect on others and most frequently, in our culture, in the effect the ‘unselfish’ mother has on her children. She believes that by her unselfishness her children will experience what it means to be loved and to learn, in turn, what it means to love. The effect of her unselfishness, however, does not at all correspond to her expectations. The children do not show the happiness of persons who are convinced that they are loved; they are anxious, tense, afraid of the mother’s disapproval, and anxious to live up to her expectations. Usually, they are affected by their mother’s hidden hostility against life, which they sense rather than recognize, and eventually become imbued with it themselves…

If one has a chance to study the effect of a mother with genuine self-love, one can see that there is nothing more conducive to giving a child the experience of what love, joy and happiness are than being loved by a mother who loves herself.3

We need an environmental ethics, but when people feel they unselfishly give up, even sacrifice, their interest in order to show love for Nature, this is probably in the long run a treacherous basis for conservation. Through identification they may come to see their own interest server by conservation, through genuine self-love, love of a widened and deepened self.

At this point the notion of a being’s interest furnishes a bridge from self-love to self-realization. It should not surprise us that Erich Fromm, influenced as he is by Spinoza and William James, makes use of that bridge. What is considered to constitute self-interest, he asks, and he answers:

There are two fundamentally different approaches to this problem. One is the objectivistic approach most clearly formulated by Spinoza. To him self-interest or the interest ‘to seek one’s profit’ is identical with virtue.

The more each person strives and is able to seek his profit, that is to say, to preserve his being, the more virtue does he possess; on the other hand, in so far as each person neglects his own profit he is impotent. According to this view, the interest of humans is to preserve their existence, which is the same as realizing their inherent potentialities. This concept of self-interest is objectivistic in as much as ‘interest’ is not conceived in terms of the subjective feeling of what one’s interest is but in terms of what the nature of a human is, ‘objectively’.

‘Realizing inherent potentialities’ is one of the good less-than-ten-word clarifications of ‘self-realization’. The questions “Which are the inherent potentialities of the beings of species x?’ and “Which are the inherent potentialities of this specimen x of species y?”’ obviously lead to reflections about and studies of x and y.

As humans we cannot just follow the impulses of the moment when asking for our inherent potentialities. It is something like this which Fromm means when calling an approach ‘objectivistic’, opposing it to an approach ‘in terms of subjective feeling’. Because of the high estimation of feeling and low estimate of so-called ‘objectivization’ (Berdinglichung, reification) within deep ecology, the terminology of Fromm is not adequate today, but what he means to say is appropriate. And it is obviously relevant when we deal with other species than humans: animals and plants have interests in the sense of ways of realizing inherent potentialities which we can only study interacting with them. We cannot rely on our momentary impulses, however important they are in general.

The expression ‘preserve his being’ in the quotation from Spinoza is better than ‘preserve his existence’ because the latter is often associated with physical survival and ‘struggle for survival’. A still better translation is perhaps ‘persevere in his being’ (perseverare in suo esse). It has to do with acting out one’s own nature. To survive is only a necessary condition, not a sufficient condition.

The conception of self-realization as dependent upon our insight into our own potentialities makes it easy to see the possibility of ignorance and misunderstanding as to which are these potentialities. In Fromm´s terms, “man can deceive himself about his real self-interest if he is ignorant of his self and its real needs…

The ‘everything hangs together’ maxim of ecology applies to the self and its relation to other living beings, ecosystems, the ecosphere, and the Earth with its long history.

The scattered human habitation along the arctic coast of Norway is uneconomic, unprofitable, from the point of view of the current economic policy of our welfare state. The welfare norms require that every family should have a connection by telephone (in case of illness). This costs a considerable amount of money. The same holds for mail and other services. Local fisheries are largely uneconomic perhaps because a foreign armada of big trawlers of immense capacity is fishing just outside of fjorda. The availability of jobs is crumbling.

The government, therefore, heavily subsidized the resettlement of people from the arctic wilderness, concentrating then in so-called centres of development, that is, small areas with a town at the centre. But the people, as persons, are clearly not the same when their bodies have been thus transported. The social, economic and natural setting is now vastly different. The objects with which they work and live are completely different. There is a consequent loss of personal identity. ‘Who am I?”’ they ask. Their self-respect, self-esteem is impaired. What is adequate in the so-called periphery of the country is different form what counts at the so-called centres.

If people are relocated or, rather, transplanted from a steep mountainous place to a plain, they also realize, but too late, that their home-place has been part of themselves, they have identified with features of the place. And the way of life in the tiny locality, the density of social relations has formed their persons. Again, ‘they are not the same as they were’.

Tragic cases can be seen in other parts of the Arctic. We all regret the fate of the Eskimos, their difficulties in finding a new identity, a new social and a new, more comprehensive ecological self. The Lapps of Arctic Norway have been hurt by interference with a river for the purpose of hydroelectricity. In court, accused of illegal demonstration at the river, one Lapp said that the part of the river in question was ‘part of himself’. This kind of spontaneous answer is not uncommon among people. They have not heard about the philosophy of the wider and deeper self, but they talk spontaneously as if they had.

The sentence “This place is part of myself” we may try to make intellectually more understandable by reformulations, for example ‘My relation to this place is part of myself’, ‘If this place is destroyed something in me is destroyed’. ‘My relation to this place is such that if the place is changed I am changed’…

One drawback with these reformulations is that they make it easy to continue thinking of two completely separable, real entities, a self and the place, joined by an external relation. The original sentence, rather, conveys the impression that there is an internal relation of sorts. ‘Of sorts” because we must take into account that it may not be reciprocal. If I am changed, even destroyed, the place would be destroyed according to one usual interpretation of ‘internal relation’. From the point of phenomenology and the ‘concrete content’-view the reciprocity holds, but that is a special interpretation. We may use an interpretation such that if we are changed, the river need not be changed.

The reformulation ‘If this place is destroyed something in me is killed’ perhaps articulates some of the feelings usually felt when people see the destruction of places they deeply love or to which they have the intense feeling of belonging. Today more space is violently transformed per human being than ever, at the same time as their number increases. The kind of ‘killing’ referred to occurs all over the globe, but very rarely does it lead to strong counterreaction. Resignation prevails. ‘You cannot stop progress.’

The newborn lacks, of course, any conceptions, however, rudimentary, corresponding to the tripartition---subject, object, medium. Probably the conception (not the concept) of one’s own ego comes rather late, say after the first year. A vague net of relations comes first. This network of perceived and conceived relations is neutral, fitting what in British philosophy was called ‘neutral monism’. The whole, their universe and altogether, lacks the tripartition at this early stage. In a sense, it is this basic sort of crude monism we are working out anew, not by trying to be babies again, but by better understandings our ecological self. It has not had favourable conditions of development since before the time renaissance glorified our ego by putting it in some kind of opposition to what else there is.

What is now the practical importance of this conception of a wide and deep ecological self?

Defending Nature in our rich, industrial society, the argument of the opponent often is that we are doing it in order to secure beauty, recreation, sport, and other non-vital interests for us. It makes for strength if we, after honest reflection, find that we feel threatened in our innermost self. If so, we more convincingly defend a vital interest, not only something out there. We are engaged in self-defence. And to defend fundamental human rights is vital self-defense.

The best introduction to the psychology of the self is still to be found in the excellent and superbly readable book “Principles of Psychology” published in 1890 by the American psychologist and philosopher William James. His 100 page chapter on the consciousness of self stresses the plurality of components of the wide and deep self as a complex entity. (Unfortunately he prefers to talk about the plurality of selves. I think it may be better to talk about the plurality of the components of the wide self.)

The plurality of components can be easily illustrated by reference to the dramatic phenomenon of alternating personality.

Any man becomes, as we say inconsistent with himself if he forgets his engagements, pledges, knowledge and habits… In the hypnotic trance we can easily produce an alternation of personality,… by telling him he is an altogether imaginary personage…6

If we say about someone that he or she is not himself today, we may refer to a great many different relations to other people, to material things and certainly, I maintain, to what we call his or her environment, the home, the garden, the neighbourhood…

When James says that these relate belong to the self, it is of course not in the sense that the self has eaten the home, the environment, etc. Such an interpretation testifies that the self is still identified with the body. Nor does it mean that an image of the house inside the consciousness of the person belongs to the self. When somebody says about a part of a river-landscape that it is a part of himself, we intuitively grasp roughly what he means. But it is of course difficult to elucidate the meaning in philosophical or psychological terminology.

A last example from William James: We understand what is meant when somebody says “As a man I pity you, but as an official I must show you no mercy.” Obviously the self of an official cannot empirically be defined except as relations in a complex social setting. Thus, the self cannot possibly be inside the body, or inside a consciousness.

Enough! The main point is that we do not hesitate today, being inspired by ecology and a revived intimate relation to Nature, to recognize and accept wholeheartedly our ecological self.

The next section is rather metaphysical. I do not defend all the views presented in this part of my paper. I wish primarily to inform you about them. As a student and admirer since 1930 of Gandhi’s non-violent direct actions in bloody conflict, I am inevitably influenced by his metaphysics which to him personally furnished tremendously powerful motivation and which contributed to keeping him going until his death. His supreme aim was not India’s political liberation. He led a crusade against extreme poverty, caste suppression, and against terror in name of religion. This crusade was necessary, but the liberation of the individual human being was his supreme aim. It is strange for many to listen to what he himself said about this ultimate goal: 7

What I want to achieve---what I have been striving and pining to achieve these thirty years---is self-realization, to see God face to face, to attain Muksha (Liberation). I live and move and have my being in pursuit of that goal. All that I do by way of speaking and writing, and all my ventures in the political field, are directed to this same end.

This sounds individualistic to the Western mind. A common misunderstanding. If the self Gandhi is speaking about were the ego or the ‘narrow’ self (‘jiva’) of egocentric interest, the ‘ego-trips’, why then work for the poor? It is for him the supreme or universal Self---the atman---that is to be realized. Paradoxically, it seems, he tries to reach self-realization through ‘selfless action’, that is, through reduction of the dominance of the narrow self or the ego. Through the wider Self every living being is connected intimately, and from this intimacy follows the capacity of identification and as its natural cosequences, practice of non-violence. No moralizing is needed, just as we need not morals to make us breathe. We need to cultivate our insight:

The rockbottom foundation of the technique for achieving the power of non-violence is belief in the essential oneness of all life.

Historically we have seen how Nature conservation is non-violent at its very core. Gandhi says:

I believe in advaita (non-duality), I believe in the essential unity of man and, for that matter, of all that lives. Therefore I believe that if one man gains spirituality, the whole world gains with him and, if one man fails, the whole world fails to that extent.

Surprisingly enough, Gandhi was extreme in his personal consideration for the self-realization of other living beings than humans. When travelling he brought a goat with him to satisfy his need for milk. This was part of a non-violent demonstration against certain cruel features in Hindu ways of milking cows. Furthermore, some European companions who liven with Gandhi in his ashrams were taken aback that he let snakes, scorpions and spiders move unhindered into their bedrooms---animals fulfilling their lives. He even prohibited people from having a stock of medicines against poisonous bites. He believed in the possibility of satisfactory coexistence and he proved right. There were no accidents. Ashram people would naturally look into their shoes for scorpions before using them. Even when moving over the floor in darkness one could easily avoid trampling on one’s fellow beings. Thus, Gandhi recognized a basic, common right to live and blossom, to self-realization in a wide sense applicable to any being that can be said to have interests or needs.

Gandhi made manifest the internal relations between self-realization, non-violence and what sometimes has been called biospherical egalitarianism.

In the environment in which I grew up, I heard that what is serious in life is to get to be somebody—to outdo others in something, being victorious in comparison of abilities. What today makes this conception of the meaning and goal of life especially dangerous is the vast international economic competition. Free market, perhaps, yes, but the law of demand and supply of separate, isolatable ‘goods and services’, independent of needs, must not be made to reign over increasing areas of our life.

Ability to cooperate, to work with people, making them feel good pays, of course, in a fiercely individualist society, and high positions may require that; but only as long as, ultimately, it is subordinated to career, to the basic norms of the ego-trip, not to be a self-realization worth the name.

To identify self-realization with the ego-trip manifests a vast underestimation of the human self.

According to the usual translation of pali or Sanskrit, Buddha taught his disciples that the human mind should embrace all living things as a mother cares for her son, her only son. Some of you who never would feel it meaningful or possible that a human self could embrace all living things, might stick to the usual translation. We shall then only ask that your mind embraces all living beings, and your good intention to care and feel with compassion.

If the Sanskrit word translated into English is atman, it is instructive to note that this term has the basic meaning of ‘self’, rather than ‘mind’ or ‘spirit’, as you see in translations. The superiority of the translation using the word ‘self’ stems from the consideration that if your ‘self’ in the wide sense embraces another being, you need no moral exhortation to show care. Surely you care for yourself without feeling any moral pressure to do it---provided you have not succumbed to a neurosis of some kind, developing self-destructive tendencies, or hating yourself.

Incidentally, the Australian ecological feminist Patsy Hallen uses a formula close to that of Buddha: We are here to embrace rather than conquer the world. It is of interest to notice that the term ‘world’ is here used rather than ‘living beings’. I suspect that our thinking need not proceed from the notion of living being to that of the world, but we will conceive reality or the world we live in as alive in a wide, not easily defined sense. There will then be no non-living beings to care for.

If self-realization or self-fulfilment is today habitually associated with life-long ego-trips, isn’t it stupid to use this term for self-realization in the widely different sense of Gandhi, or, less religiously loaded, as a term for widening and deepening your ‘self’ so it embraces all life forms? Perhaps it is. But I think the very popularity of the term makes people listen for a moment, feeling safe. In that moment the notion of a greater ‘self’ should be introduced, contending that if they equate self-realization with ego-trips, they seriously underestimate themselves. “You are much greater, deeper, generous and capable of more dignity and joy than you think! A wealth of non-competitive joys is open to you!”

But I have another important reason for inviting people to think in terms of deepening and widening their selves, starting with the ego-trip as a crudest, but inescapable point zero. It has to do with a notion usually placed as the opposite of the egoism of the ego-trip, namely the notion of altruism. The latin term ego has as its opposite the alter. Altruism implies that ego sacrifices its interest in favour of the other, the alter. The motivation is primarily that of duty: it is said that we ought to love others as strongly as we love ourself.

It is, unfortunately, very limited what humankind is capable to love from mere duty, or, more generally, from moral exhortation. From the Renaissance to the Second World War about 400 cruel wars were fought by Christian nations for the flimsiest of reasons. It seems to me that in the future more emphasis has to be given to the conditions under which we most naturally widen and deepen our ‘self’. With a sufficiently wide and deep ‘self’, ego and alter as opposites are stage by stage eliminated. The distinction is in a way transcended.

Early in life, the social ‘self’ is sufficiently developed so that we do not prefer to eat a big cake alone. We share the cake with our friends and nearest. We identify with these people sufficiently to see our joy in their joy, and see our disappointment in theirs.

Now it is the time to share with all life on our maltreated Earth through the deepening identification with life forms and the greater units, the ecosystems, and Gaia, the fabulous, old planet of ours.

Immanuel Kant introduced a pair of contrasting concepts which deserve to be extensively used in our effort to live harmoniously in, for end of Nature: The concept of ‘moral act’ and that of ‘beautiful act’.

Moral acts are acts motivated by the intention to follow the moral laws, at whatever the cost, that is, to do our moral duty solely out of respect for that duty. Therefore, the supreme test of our success in performing a pure, moral act is that we do it completely against our inclination, that we, so to say, hate to do it, but are compelled by our respect for the moral law. Kant was deeply awed by two phenomena, “the heaven with its stars above me and the moral law within me”.

But if we do something we should do according to a moral law, but do it out of inclination and with pleasure---what then? Should we then abstain or try to work up some displeasure? Not at all, according to Kant. If we do what morals say is right because of positive inclination, then we perform a beautiful act. Now, my point is that perhaps we should in environmental affairs primarily try to influence people towards beautiful acts. Work on their inclinations rather than morals. Unhappily, the extensive moralizing within environmentalism has given the public the false impression that we primarily ask them to sacrifice, to show more responsibility, more concern, better morals. As I see it we need the immense variety of sources of joy opened through increased sensitivity towards the richness and diversity of life, landscapes of free Nature. We all can contribute to this individually, but it is also a question of politics, local and global. Part of the joy stems from the consciousness of our intimate relation to something bigger than our ego, something which has endured through millions of years and is worth continued life for millions of years. The requisite care flows naturally if the ‘self’ is widened and deepened so that protection of free Nature is felt and conceived as protection of ourselves.

Academically speaking, what I suggest is the supremacy of environmental ontology and realism over environmental movement in the years to come. If reality is like it is experienced by the ecological self, our behaviour naturally and beautifully follows norms of strict environmental ethics. We certainly need to hear about our ethical shortcomings from time to time, but we more easily change through encouragement and through deepened perception of reality and our self. That is, deepened realism. How is that brought about? The question needs to be treated in another paper! It is more a question of community therapy than community science: Healing our relations to the widest community, that of all living beings.

The subtitle of this paper is “An Ecological Approach to Being in the World”. I am now going to speak a little about ‘Nature’ with all the qualities we spontaneously experience, as identical with the reality we live in. That means a movement from being in the world to being in Nature. Then, at last, I shall ask for the goal or purpose of being in the world.

Is joy in the subject? I would say “no”. It is just as much or little in the object. The joy of a joyful tree is primarily “in” the tree we should say---if we are pressed to make a choice between the two possibilities. But we should not be pressed. There is a third position. The joy is a feature of the indivisible, concrete unit of subject, object and medium. In a sense self-realization involves experiences of the infinitely rich joyful aspect of reality. It is misleading, according to my intuitions, to locate joys inside my consciousness. What is joyful is something that is not ‘subjective’, it is an attribute of a reality wider than a conscious ego. This is philosophically how I contribute to the explanation of the internal relation between joy, happiness, and human self-realization. But this conceptual exercise is mainly of interest to an academic philosopher. What I am driving at is probably something that may be suggested with less conceptual gymnastics: It is unwarranted to believe that how we feel Nature to be is not like how Nature really is. It is rather that reality is so rich that we cannot see everything at once, but separate parts or aspects of separate moods. The joyful tree I see in the morning light is not the sorrowful one I see in the night, even if they in abstract structure (physically) are the same.

It is very human to ask for the ultimate goal or purpose for being in the world. This may be a misleading way of putting a question. It may seem to suggest that the goal of purpose must be somehow outside or beyond the world. Perhaps this can be avoided by living out “in the world”. It is characteristic for our time that we subjectivize and individualize the question asked of each one of us: What do you consider to be the ultimate goal or purpose of your life? Or, we leave out the question of priorities and ask simply for goals and purposes.

The main title of this paper is partly motivated by the conviction that ‘self-realization’ is an adequate key-term expression one uses to answer the question of ultimate goal. It is of course only a key-term. An answer by a philosopher can scarcely be shorter than the little book “Ethica” by Spinoza.

In order to understand the function of the term ‘self-realization’ in this capacity, it is useful to compare it to two others, ‘pleasure’ and ‘happiness’. The first suggest hedonism, the second eudaemonism in a professional philosophical, but just as vague and ambiguous jargon. Both terms connote states of feeling in a broad sense of the term. Having pleasure or being happy is to feel well. One may of couse find the term happiness to connote something different from this, but in the way I us ‘happiness’, one standard set of replies to the question “How do you feel?” is “I feel happy” or “I feel unhappy”. This set of answers would be rather awkward: “I feel self-realized” or “I do not feel self-realized”.

The most important feature of self-realization as compared to pleasure and happiness is its dependence upon a view of human capacities, better potentialities. This again implies a view of what is human nature. In practice it does not imply a general doctrine of human nature. That is the work of philosophical fields of research. An individual whose attitudes are such that I would say that he or she takes self-realization as the ultimate or fundamental goal has to have a view of his or her nature and potentialities. The more they are realized the more there is self-realization. The question “How do you feel?” may be honestly answered in the positive or negative whatever the level of self-realization. The question may, in principle, be answered in the negative, but at the point following Spinoza I take the valid way of answering to be positive. The realization of fulfilment---using a somewhat less philosophical jargon---of the potentialities of oneself is internally related to happiness, but not in such a way that looking for happiness you realize yourself. This is a clear point, incidentally, in Stuart Mill´s philosophy. You should not look hard for happiness. That is a bad way even if you take, as Stuart Mill does, happiness as the ultimate or fundamental goal in life. I think that to look for self-realization is a better way. That is, to develop your capacities---using a rather dangerous word because it is easily interpreted in the direction of interpersonal, not intrapersonal, competition. But even the striving implied in the latter term may mislead. Dwelling in situations of intrinsic value, spontaneous non-directed awareness, relaxing from striving, is conducive to self-realization as I understand it. But there are, of course, infinite variations among humans according to cultural, social, individual differences. This makes the key term self-realization abstract in its generality. But nothing more can be expected when the question is posed like it is: What might deserve the name of ultimate or fundamental goal? We may reject the meaningfulness of such a question---I don’t---but for us for whom it has meaning, the answer using few words is bound to be abstract and general.

Going back to the triple key terms pleasure, happiness, self-realization, the third has the merit of being clearly and forcefully applicable to any beings with a specific range of potentialities. I limit the range to living beings, using ‘living’ in a rather broad sense. The terms ‘pleasure’ and ‘happiness’ I do not feel are so easily generalized. With the rather general concept of ‘ecological self’ already introduced, the concept of self-realization naturally follows. Let us consider the praying mantis, the formidable group of voracious insects. They have a nature fascinating to many people. Mating is part of their self-realization, but some males are eaten when performing the act of copulation. Is he happy, is he having pleasure? We don’t know. Well done if he does! Actually he feeds his partner so that she gets strong offspring. But it does not make sense to me to attribute happiness to these males. Self-realization yes, happiness no. I maintain the internal relation between self-realization and happiness among people and among some animal groups. As a professional philosopher I am tempted to add a point where I am inspired by Zen Buddhism and Spinoza: Happiness is a feeling yes, but the act of realizing a potential is always an interaction involving as one single concrete unit, one gestalt as I would say, three abstract aspects, subject, object, medium. What I said about joyfulness in Nature holds of happiness in Nature. We should not conceive them as mere subjective feelings.

The rich reality is getting even richer through our specific human endowments; we are the first kind of living beings we know of which have the potentialities of living in community with all other living beings. It is our hope that all those potentialities will be realized---if not in the near future, at least in the somewhat more remote future.