A lot of teenage readers joined the open discussion with Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder that took place at Carturesti Carusel bookstore and was hosted by cultural journalist Marius Constantinescu and Alexandra Rusu, owner of Booktopia. The discussion was held in English and I was pleasantly surprised to see how engaged into the conversation were the highschool young adults as the topics really drew up their attention and matched their interests. The world goes on through youth and I am glad that an author such as Mr. Jostein Gaarder show his love for teenage upbringing that he writes books for them, as they are a constant source of inspiration for his literary work.
About school and self-motivation: I was not a motivated pupil, I think I learnt more informally by talking to people in general. When I was a student at the University of Oslo then I was extremely motivated and I was working very hard. When I was 15, 16, 17 life was so full of everything. I was a dreamer, I was a loner, I loved to go for long walks in the forest with a notebook in my coat. In Norway, education, school is the responsability of the society, but all the time with the contribution of the parents. Everything is dependent on individuals, but in general I do think that we have today a good school system in my country.
About destiny and hobbies: I honestly believed that I was going to be a fulltime write. I wrote Sophie’s world as an act of duty for the students, because they contributed to the dialogues within the book. I enjoy being a writer. I write even more after I finish a book than during the process of writing. One of the my hobbies is to take long walks in the forest up in the mountains. I am very priviledged where I live in Oslo, I can actually leave civilization behind me in 5 minutes and on weekdays when ordinary people are working I can walk for hours without meeting any human being. I am not able to move my thoughts without moving my body. It’s a modus of thinking. Some people have to drink wine to think. I don’t have to drink wine, but I have to walk. If I’m sitting in front of a computer I think I am a little more stupid than I am if I am walking. I always had a notebook and I took notes while I was walking. Today I don’t, because I don’t have so many new ideas. I’m thinking maybe slowly but I’m thinking good when I am walking.
The connection between philosophy and the immediate reality: You need to be attached to something before you fight for it. I am often asked if the philosophical questions are eternal. Yes, many philosophical questions are eternal like – What is this universe? What is this world? Does God exist? Is there any life after this? What is justice? What is a good society? What is friendship? These questions are actually eternally human questions, but every now and then some grand new philosophical questions arise. The most important philosophical question today is this: How can we be able to preserve life conditions, I mean existence on this planet? It’s not a political question, it’s a pure philosophical question, because it has this intellectual dimension. How can we possibly be able to implement the necessary changes so that we can preserve this civilization? Maybe we will or maybe not, but this is a moral philosophical question.