Another review of Wendell Berry's "The Need to Be Whole"
Thoughts on Wendell Berry's new book

Fifth essay from Front Porch Republic on Wendell Berry's The Need to Be Whole

... “The general principle”—equality—“can have no substantial or lasting result if it is not absorbed into the ordinary practice of neighborhood among neighbors.”

Who can argue with this? Anyone who wishes to owes it to their ideals to read Berry’s reflections on his own personal history of prejudice, he who, as a descendant of slaveowners, was “born into customary race prejudice,” as he confesses; he numbers himself among those “who feel they have got rid of the old reflexes, but who know better than to be sure.” If you’ve hoped for a something like a memoir from Berry, you will find his writing in this book as personal, detailed, and autobiographical as anything he’s written. And much of this self-disclosure is in service of his effort to show with historical precision the ways in which movement both away from and toward wholeness in race relations has taken place in his lifetime and in his part of the world. Life in neighborhoods, he concludes, makes possible degrees of healing, conviviality, and solidarity not otherwise obtained; love of neighbor is the best “stay against disorder and ruin.” For Berry, the guiding question must always be, “What scale of living and working permits us to know and value one another as the individual and unique persons we know ourselves to be?” In settings of interdependence, healing has a chance.

Read all of "A Pathway to Peace: Hope in The Need to Be Whole" by Eric Miller at Front Porch Republic.


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