On Wendell Berry's elegy for JFK
Report on Wendell Berry at SAMLA, 11.14

Wendell Berry cited on need for humane decision-making

In another essay I have quoted Berry on our callousness toward the lives of others. Here are a few of those quotes. In 1999, he wrote, “How many deaths of other people’s children by bombing or starvation are we willing to accept in order that we may be free, affluent, and (supposedly) at peace?” His answer is “None. Please, no children. Don’t kill any children for my benefit.” In his novel Hannah Coulter (2004), his main character thinks that “want of imagination makes things unreal enough to be destroyed. By imagination I mean knowledge and love. I mean compassion. People of power kill children, the old send the young to die, because they have no imagination.” And once war begins “the rhetoric of violence prevents them [opposing sides] from imagining each other.’ And in 2012, Berry expressed his belief that we kill other people partly because we view them abstractly, as statistics: “Statistical knowledge is remote, and it isolates us in our remoteness. It is the stuff itself of unimagined life.”

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