Sir Peter Ustinov

Without the tremendous support of Sir Peter Ustinov, we would not have got on our feet so quickly. The fact that the idea of Equilibrism was able to establish itself so successfully in the minds of many people is mainly thanks to him. You can read here how the cooperation with this extraordinary person, who saw himself as a bridge builder to a better world, came about.

The first meeting between Sir Peter Ustinov and Eric Bihl, Chairman of Equilibrismus e.V., took place in October 1998 during the Frankfurt Book Fair. This had been made possible by WFM Germany (World Federalist Movement Germany), the German offshoot of the World Federalists, of which Sir Peter had been chairman since 1990. Equilibrism had already worked closely with the WFM at that time. Sir Peter showed himself to be uncomplicated, warm-hearted and interested at this meeting. And since these qualities also apply to Eric Bihl, who could have been his son, the chemistry between the two was right from the start. The second time they met was in May 1999 in The Hague, at The Hague Appeal for Peace Conference.

Bihl thinks back fondly on this meeting and the way it came about: “I asked two hostesses in the VIP lounge whether it would be possible to speak to Sir Peter for a moment, as we did not have an appointment. To my surprise, they led me to him without much hesitation. So, there I was, surrounded by Nobel Prize winners and other important personalities. He greeted me like an old friend. Unfortunately, we had little time for each other in this hustle and bustle, which Sir Peter regretted as much as I did. But he suggested that we visit him at his home in Switzerland as soon as possible.”

Nine months later, on February 18, 2000, the time had come: Eric Bihl paid Ustinov a visit at Lake Geneva.

“Sir Peter was sitting on the couch in the middle of piles of books,” he recalls. “I had brought him ‘Die 29 Irrtümer rund ums Geld’ by Helmut Creutz as a guest gift”. He took the book and started laughing. “This is exactly what I was missing”, he said with a wink, looking at the numerous books that were still unread. “The hours in his house were very pleasant; we talked about ‘God and the world’. Of course, also about the concept of Equilibrism, which propagated a completely new socio-ecological economic model”. Ustinov showed himself to be extremely interested and so it came to a third meeting five weeks later in Munich, where Sir Peter was performing in Carnival of the Animals at the Prinzregententheater.

They met in Ustinov’s dressing room after the performance. There Bihl received an assurance from Sir Peter that he would provide the epilogue for the non-fiction book Equilibrism – New Concepts instead of Reforms for a World in Balance, which was in progress.

After a lively exchange over the next two years, Bihl found a first version of the epilogue in his mailbox, together with a drawing by Sir Peter entitled Die Wacht am Rhein. (See Foreword by Sir Peter Ustinov) There were further meetings in Munich in which Ustinov developed a very specific strategy on how to make the ideas of Equilibrism palatable to a broad public. He suggested writing a novel based on our non-fiction book and then making it into a film.

In parallel, Equilibrism wants to prove in a kind of laboratory experiment that a better world in harmony with nature is possible. From concept to fiction to reality, this was his motto.

Sir Peter Ustinov died in 2004, so he did not live to see us successively put his idea into practice. The novel he had wanted was called The Tahiti Project (published in 2008) and became a bestseller. Due to this fact, the author Dirk C. Fleck has continued the theme in two further novels. The Tahiti Project was followed by Maeva (published in 2012 as a paperback The South Sea Virus). Fleck concluded the Maeva trilogy in 2015 with Fire at the Foot.

In May 2015, Eric Bihl visited Sir Peter’s resting place in Bursins on Lake Geneva and placed not only a bouquet of flowers but also a copy of The Tahiti Project on his grave.

PS: The Filmmuseum Düsseldorf has been in possession of our non-fiction book since 2009, with a foreword and a drawing by Sir Peter Ustinov. The occasion was the exhibition Peter Ustinov – Enfant terrible and Gentleman. See article