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3.1. The electronics

Most of all, I was interested in something entirely different. On my eleventh birthday, I got an electronics kit.

I made sirens and control mechanisms, amplifiers, radio receivers and transmitters. I experimented with logical and hybrid circuits. I stretched long antennas to the neighbour's house and even further to receive radio broadcasts from far away countries on the short and medium wave bands.

An engineer uncle in Trondheim gave me a cardboard box full of components, including transistors of the kind that were among the first to be made, e.g. the germanium transistor OC74 from the early 1960s. Back then, the transistor was just over a decade old as an invention.

During the summer holidays in Oslo, I trawled the city for anything I could get my hands on.

The twelve-year-old visits the wholesale warehouses and manages to talk his way past the receptionist and into the old gentlemen in the warehouse with grey coats, who, with amazement, fill bags with transistors, diodes, resistors, capacitors, coils, transformers and all kinds of integrated circuits, sensor semiconductors, potentiometers, switches, LEDs etc.

Forgive me for listing; I love these nerdy words.

The twelve-year-old goes to «Kristiansen Sport and Electro» on Lyngseidet and have them take in a couple of kilos of iron chloride so the boy can etch the wiring paths on circuit boards that he has copied from the Danish book «Anvendt Elektronik» or the magazines «Hobby elektronikk», «Popular Electronics» etc. – transferred with UV light to a circuit board sprayed with a light-sensitive substance and then etched.

He drilled holes with a miniature drill, specially made for ultra-thin drill bits, to mount and solder the components. As a rule, it worked in the end.

During the summer holidays, the twelve-year-old works as a newspaper boy in Oslo and earns money for a Tandberg 3400X reel-to-reel tape recorder to run illegal radio broadcasts via a self-built FM transmitter. Range approx. 2 kilometres.

The sheriff lived a little outside the coverage area, I think. He probably did not follow obsolete FM frequencies anyway.

The 12-year-old uses the Christmas gift money to buy what is considered the world's first video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey. It could just perform a simple version of «tennis» via UHF on TV. The voluminous plastic gadget cost a fortune and was produced in the USA, exported to Tromsø and bought by the region's most prominent and smallest nerd.

I was fascinated by sound waves, electromagnetism and energy.

Things were going on inside the electronic components that, for me, were more real and important than the competition in the schoolyard. More interesting than teacher Eriksen and pastor Flokkmann.

Electronics is quantum physics.

It's about electrons, electromagnetism, sometimes light. It's about waves and particles. Frequencies. How everything, in reality, is just ... waves, whether we are talking about sound, light, water, electrons or the cosmos.

We learn about this in school, but not in sixth and seventh grade in elementary school. And not in such a concrete and practical way. Not for that long.

I must have been doing this for three or four years. Intensely.

In the middle of this, one day, I was walking through the «swamp» (the one with the sewage discharge), and something happened.

The bog was a very damp swamp area of a few hundred metres in all directions, which was the fastest shortcut for the kids on the way from the «centre» up to the school. There were laid out some planks between which we jumped and balanced.

I remember snow in the air. I was standing in the middle of the swamp with my back toward the school. Just that moment, I was alone.

A glimpse of intuitive knowledge struck me.

You know, suddenly, you understand something more profound and subtle than what is possible to convey in words. An epiphany.

I'll still try.

Everything is waves.

Everything is potential, like an electric charge is potential.

Everything interacts; that is, absolutely everything affects absolutely everything.

Like everything else dead and alive in the entire universe, we humans constitute machinery of necessity.

Nothing is will-driven, not really.

At the same time, we create our reality, our visions. These waves, the potentials, are transformed, perceived, interpreted and understood by us two-legged monkeys – as something material, physical, existing.


That was what I «saw», understood in my heart, toes and head.

I «experienced» that it all, in the form of particles, waves and energy, «came together».

It was pretty vague and fleeting, but it was «true».

I remember it was an experience of what physics is.

Well, I thought.

Nothing was shocking about this. Electronics had shown me that for a long time, without me having transferred the knowledge to the world as a whole.

Now I understood the connection between electronics and everything else.

And what was the use of that for a prepubertal boy with enormous social problems?

I used my new understanding to solve what was then, as now, my biggest problem. It was a logical thing to do. And my biggest problem was understanding other people. The boys who always competed. The girls who always competed.

I observed my friends, the teachers, the adults and everyone else.

I understood nothing.

What I did not understand was not the game, the struggle, the test of strength and attraction. I understood this very well. It was primitive, uninteresting.

Why did they bother?

My foremost question was why everyone else didn't see the same as me. It was so obvious.

Why didn't they sit with me and try to get deeper? Why were they not curious?

That was my riddle.

My relationship with people, all other people, changed at that moment.

I did not notice it then, but the stick-child had grown. Moved up one floor. Expanded the sandbox to now embrace the entire universe.

Everything in the universe had become the stick-child's object of study. Everything in the universe could be explained in terms of ... dynamics. That was the best word I had.

Later I learned about chaos theory – complex dynamic systems.

Everything flows.

Unmanifested potential is all there is.

That principle applies to the competition in the schoolyard, as well as man's most private thoughts, our psychological Ego. It also applies to everything we perceive as material. Everything.