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June 2010
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August 2010

Blog Watch: Wendell Berry cited on cultural crisis

Humanity’s current alienation from nature is unprecedented. As Wendell Berry explained in his seminal 1977 work The Unsettling of America, we are confronted with a “crisis of culture,” reflected in a “crisis of agriculture,” rooted in the simple fact that modern people have become disconnected from nature and the natural cycles we depend upon for survival. In less than fifty years, modern Western culture – particularly in the United States – has shifted from relying on small family farms that dotted the countryside to relying on an industrial food system run by massive corporate farms.

via jcarrot.org


Blog Watch: On understanding Appalaichan resentments

[A]s a country we would be well-served to examine our relationship and dependence on Appalachia. Though part of the most powerful democracy in human history, so much of mainstream America's relationship to this place is of a nearly-colonial nature--we extract it's resources while avoiding commensurate investments in the region, and we obscure Appalachia in either a media blackout or in ugly and abiding stereotypes. You can read this between the lines of the online commentators arguing that Coal Keeps The Lights On!: they resent the opinions of folks from the outside urban (and, for the sake of the analogy, imperial) centers. 

via theruralsite.blogspot.com


Blog Watch: Citing Wendell Berry on Science

We live in an age of Scientism, in which many people invest science with the power of ideology. Wendell Berry calls this "modern superstition," because people have given science the powers they used to give to religion. Berry wrote a fantastic book defending the integrity and value of art and religion as ways of knowing, against the idea that Science should be the undisputed master of all. He doesn't oppose science, but he thinks that all three ways of knowing -- art, science, religion -- must be understood as limited. The trouble comes when any one is elevated as supreme above all others, and their spheres.

via blog.beliefnet.com


Blog Watch: Wendell Berry cited on local economy

If you have never read The Idea of a Local Economy by Wendell Berry, I humbly prod you to do so. In it, he talks about how we have moved from a local economy to a global economy or, as Berry calls it, a “total economy…where critical choices that once belonged to individuals or communities become the property of corporations.” And it’s true. People used to decide what to do with the environment around them. Then governments did. Now corporations do. Think BP.

Though one is shopping amid an astonishing variety of products, one is denied certain significant choices. In such a state of economic ignorance it is not possible to choose products that were produced locally or with reasonable kindness toward people and toward nature. Nor is it possible for such consumers to influence production for the better. Consumers who feel a prompting toward land stewardship find that in this economy they can have no stewardly practice.To be a consumer in the total economy, one must agree to be totally ignorant, totally passive, and totally dependent on distant supplies and self-interested suppliers.

via progressontheprairie.com


Blog Watch: Influenced by Wendell Berry

I belong to a small community of friends who have been influenced by the writings of Wendell Berry, the farmer, poet, essayist, and novelist from Port Royal, Kentucky. Actually, at this point it is probably more accurate to say we are in the process of being influenced by Mr. Berry, because much of the change has been internal as we try to understand how to practically and particularly live out what we’re reading.

via davidbjohnson.wordpress.com


Blog Watch: Some criticism of UK re WB papers

The University of Kentucky, a public institution, used to hold the papers of that state's most esteemed living writer, Wendell Berry. But Berry, disgusted by the university's prostituting itself to the coal industry, pulled his papers last year. They will be housed someplace other than the house of ill-repute that UK has become.

via www.insidehighered.com


Blog Watch: Reflections on WB's 'Peace of Wild Things'

A good poem opens a door to another world, inviting us to enter. Wendell Berry’s poem, The Peace of Wild Things, does that for me.  It opens a door to a world I look forward to spending some time in over the course of these summer months.  Wild places have (almost) always had a calming effect on me.  I say “almost” because black bear encounters have reminded me in not so gentle ways that I was the interloper in their territory.  Sharing trails with grizzlies along the Toklat River in Alaska and realizing I was no longer at the top of the food chain has a way of concentrating the mind!  So the experience of entering wild places may be calming or it may be exhilarating, but it has always been for me freeing

via www.peacelutheranseattle.org