One cannot find out what is true value as long as one's mind is seeking consolation; and since most minds are seeking consolation, comfort, security, they cannot find out what truth is. Thus, most people are not individuals; they are merely cogs in a system. To me, an individual is a person who, through questioning, discovers right values; and one can truly question only when one is suffering. You know, when you suffer, your mind is made acute, alive - then you are not theoretical - and only in that state of mind can you question what is the true value of the standards that society, religion, and politics have set about us. Only in that state can we question, and when we question, when we discover true values, then we are true individuals - not until then. That is, we are not individuals as long as we are unconscious of the values to which we have become accustomed through securities, through religions, through the pursuit of beliefs and ideals. We are merely machines, slaves to public opinion, slaves to the innumerable ideals that religions have placed about us, slaves to economic and political systems that we accept. And since everyone is a cog in this machine, we can never find out true values, lasting values, in which alone there is eternal happiness, eternal realization of truth.
Talk in University Hall, Oslo
September 5, 1933