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Wendell Berry cited in reflection on Economy

And how in the first place, did we (particularly we subscribers of Judeo-Christian principles — with our biblical understanding of usury and jubilee), come to a place where we see nothing wrong with billions of dollars of value having no mooring in time and labour, or in an actual product?

Here I welcome the echo of an Old Testament prophet in a Wendell Berry poem: “When I hear the stock market has fallen, I say, ‘Long live gravity, Long live stupidity, error and greed in the palaces of fantasy capitalism!’”

Staking our well-being, our soul’s contentment, on the chimera of an ever-rising economy, we will be left to the wilderness. But wilderness may now be necessary.


Wendell Berry quoted on "Contemporaneity"

Contemporaneity, in the sense of being “up with the times,” is of no value. A competent wakefulness to experience — as well as to instruction and example — is another matter. But what we call the modern world is not necessarily, and not often, the real world, and there is no virtue in being up to date in it. It is a false world, based upon economies and values and desires that are fantastical — a world in which millions of people have lost any idea of the resources, the disciplines, the restraints, and the labor necessary to support human life, and who have thus become dangerous to their own lives and to the possibility of life.


Visit the link for the whole post. Quote is from "The Specialization of Poetry" in Standing By Words.

Of interest: "Nine classic works by Central and Eastern Kentucky writers"

Kentucky's rich literary tradition is alive and well in the 21st century, with many contemporary writers publishing new works that gain regional and national acclaim.

However, today's generation of Kentucky writers owes a debt to the literary pioneers who preceded them. This list represents some of the most pivotal classic works — originally published at least 25 years ago — from Central and Eastern Kentucky writers. Some inclusions are obvious no-brainers, while others are a bit more obscure.


Reflecting on Wendell Berry and "The Way of Ignorance"

Berry, who brings a crafted prose style to essays on farming, religion, politics and the environment, has a way of making simple subjects fascinating and complex subjects understandable. In this essay, for example, he takes on no less a target than the practice of science, whose prestige and influence over industrial society are indisputable.

With peak oil threatening to take down the global economy and climate change threatening the future of the human species, Berry’s remarks are more relevant today than ever before.


Wendell Berry cited in "My Mother's Shirt and Other Values We Got from Our Parents"

Today I'm wearing a shirt of my mom's; it’s well-worn but in really good shape nonetheless. It was my Christmas present from my dad and I like it as much if not more than if it were new. My parents were "materialists" according to Wendell Berry's definition— they conserved, were thoughtful about resources, mindful of what value they provided and what wasting them cost. Their lives were organized by the old World War II motto: Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.


from "Wendell Berry's Sacred Environmentalism"

Writer, farmer and modern-day prophet Wendell Berry will visit the college where I teach and live this fall, and I'm trying to remain cool and level-headed. For me, that's a challenge because I marvel at his poetic prose that challenges us to hold our spiritual values at the center of our sense of place.

During his short stay, I fear becoming part of an agrarian paparazzi, planning my jogging routes around his campus tour or visit to an Appalachian Studies class. While I plant my fall garden, I visualize him strolling past my on-campus duplex when I'm harvesting kale with my two daughters.

Yes, this hero worship is amusing on some level, if you consider that I'm a 45-year-old mother, writer and academic. But I believe that we need to feel reverence for those voices calling us to put our religious values to work in local communities to sustain God's earth. And I believe that because I am a mother, teacher and a person of faith.


Wendell Berry cited in "Healthy farm sector produces healthy people"

These days, we’ve lost the farm labor. Trouble is that we’ve also lost the need for that labor to work in factories making stuff. That job, as we all know, is today left to people in other countries. Meanwhile, the family farm has become largely a quaint memory and what farmers we have left, if you talk to them, speak of the difficulties they have in competing today. The pressure is tremendous, and farms fail every day as food production continues to be consolidated in fewer hands.

Wendell Berry described this product elegantly in writing that the chief proficiency of American farm experts is their ability to take a solution and neatly divide it into two problems. That is, the Butzes of the world took the American system of farms, a hallmark of the nation since its early days, and turned it into a living assembly line that at the end of it spits out boxes of Hamburger Helper and Ramen noodles. We now no longer have much work for people in the agriculture sector, and we’re also a people that have become grotesquely obese from eating so much unhealthy food.


Frances Moore Lappé on The Food Movement

Some Americans see the food movement as “nice” but peripheral—a middle-class preoccupation with farmers’ markets, community gardens and healthy school lunches. But no, I’ll argue here. It is at heart revolutionary, with some of the world’s poorest people in the lead, from Florida farmworkers to Indian villagers. It has the potential to transform not just the way we eat but the way we understand our world, including ourselves. And that vast power is just beginning to erupt.