Wendell Berry

Born: August 5, 1934

Occupation: Novelist

Quotes of Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry

The mercy of the world is time. Time does not stop for love, but it does not stop for death and grief, either.

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Wendell Berry

I finally knew... why Christ's prayer in the garden could not be granted. He had been seeded and birthed into human flesh. He was one of us. Once He had become mortal, He could not become immortal except...

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Wendell Berry

Prayer is like lying awake at night, afraid, with your head under the cover, hearing only the beating of your own heart. It is like a bird that has blundered down the flue and is caught indoors and flutters...

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Wendell Berry

Men may dam it and say that they have made a lake, but it will still be a river. It will keep its nature and bide its time, like a caged animal alert for the slightest opening. In time, it will have its...

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Wendell Berry

As I have read the Gospels over the years, the belief has grown in me that Christ did not come to found an organized religion but came instead to found an unorganized one. He seems to have come to carry...

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Wendell Berry

The living can't quit living because the world has turned terrible and people they love and need are killed. They can't because they don't. The light that shines into darkness and never goes out calls...

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Wendell Berry

It surely is far better to be disliked by somebody you don't love than by somebody you do. Even so, I mind. Even so, failing to love somebody is a failure.

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Wendell Berry

There’s nothing under the ground that’s worth more than the little layer of topsoil sitting on top of it.

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Wendell Berry

The teachers are everywhere. What is wanted is a learner.

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Wendell Berry

This, I thought, is what is meant by 'thy will be done' in the Lord's Prayer, which I had prayed time and again without thinking about it. It means that your will and God's will may not be the same. It...

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Wendell Berry

Not just self-restraint, that old killjoy, but communal restraint.

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Wendell Berry

A change of heart or of values without a practice is only another pointless luxury of a passively consumptive way of life.

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Wendell Berry

Our model citizen is a sophisticate who, before puberty, understands how to produce a baby, but who at the age of thirty will not know how to produce a potato

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Wendell Berry

A significant part of the pleasure of eating is in one’s accurate consciousness of the lives and the world from which food comes.

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Wendell Berry

Long live gravity! Long live stupidity, error, and greed in the palaces of fantasy capitalism!

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Wendell Berry

The two great aims of industrialism — replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth into the hands of a small plutocracy — seem close to fulfillment.

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Wendell Berry

When you are new at sheep-raising and your ewe has a lamb, your impulse is to stay there and help it nurse and see to it and all. After a while you know that the best thing you can do is walk out of the...

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Wendell Berry

I’ve been thinking about that question about what city people can do. The main thing is to realize that country people can’t invent a better agriculture by ourselves. Industrial agriculture wasn’t...

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Wendell Berry

The more artificial a human environment becomes, the more the word ‘natural’ becomes a term of value.

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Wendell Berry

I began to know my story then. Like everybody's, it was going to be the story of living in the absence of the dead. What is the thread that holds it all together? Grief, I thought for a while. And grief...

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Wendell Berry

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

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Wendell Berry

The most alarming sign of the state of our society now is that our leaders have the courage to sacrifice the lives of young people in war but have not the courage to tell us that we must be less greedy...

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Wendell Berry

Today, local economies are being destroyed by the pluralistic, displaced, global economy, which has no respect for what works in a locality. The global economy is built on the principle that one place...

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Wendell Berry

Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.

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Wendell Berry

Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.

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Wendell Berry

The line that connects the bombing of civilian populations to the mountain removed by strip mining ... to the tortured prisoner seems to run pretty straight. We're living, it seems, in the culmination...

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Wendell Berry

We need better government, no doubt about it. But we also need better minds, better friendships, better marriages, better communities.

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Wendell Berry

All right, every day ain't going to be the best day of your life, don't worry about that. If you stick to it you hold the possibility open that you will have better days.

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Wendell Berry

If we are serious about peace, then we must work for it as ardently, seriously, continuously, carefully, and bravely as we have ever prepared for war.

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Wendell Berry

We are living in the most destructive and, hence, the most stupid period of the history of our species.

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Wendell Berry

We cannot hope to be secure when our government has declared, by its readiness to act alone, its willingness to be everybody's enemy.

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Wendell Berry

Why I am NOT going to buy a computer

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Wendell Berry

They will grow, deliver, and cook your food for you and (just like your mother) beg you to eat it. That they do not yet offer to insert it, pre-chewed, into your mouth is only because they have found no...

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Wendell Berry

If one accepts the 24th and 104th Psalms as scriptural norms, then surface mining and other forms of earth destruction are perversions. If we take the Gospels seriously, how can we not see industrial warfare...

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Wendell Berry

Condemnation by category is the lowest form of hatred, for it is cold-hearted and abstract, lacking even the courage of a personal hatred,

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Wendell Berry

Categorical condemnation is the hatred of the mob. It makes cowards brave. And there is nothing more fearful than a religious mob, a mob overflowing with righteousness – as at the crucifixion and before...

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Wendell Berry

For want of a Pilate of their own, some Christians would accept a Constantine or whomever might be the current incarnation of Caesar.

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Wendell Berry

The surface of the quieted river, as I think now, is like a window looking into another world that is like this one except that it is quiet. Its quietness makes it seem perfect. The ripples are like the...

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Wendell Berry

It is, of course, one of the miracles of science that the germs that used to be in our food have been replaced by poisons.

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Wendell Berry

Without prosperous local economies, the people have no power and the land no voice.

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Wendell Berry

WE ARE DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY - I mean our country itself, our land. This is a terrible thing to know, but it is not a reason for despair unless we decide to continue the destruction. If we decide to continue...

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Wendell Berry

The promoters of the global economy...see nothing odd or difficult about unlimited economic growth or unlimited consumption in a limited world.

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Wendell Berry

I believe until fairly recently our destructions of nature were more or less unwitting -- the by-products, so to speak, of our ignorance or weakness or depravity. It is our present principled and elaborately...

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Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know which way to go that we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.

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Wendell Berry

No matter how much one may love the world as a whole, one can live fully in it only by living responsibly in some small part of it. Where we live and who we live there with define the terms of our relationship...

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Wendell Berry

I took her into bed with me and propped myself up with pillows against the headboard to let her nurse. As she nursed and the milk came, she began a little low contented sort of singing. I would feel milk...

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Wendell Berry

It is certain, I think, that the best government is the one that governs the least. But there is a much-neglected corollary: the best citizen is the one who least needs governing.

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Wendell Berry

You may say that I am just another outdated old man complaining about progress and the changes of time. But, you see, I have well considered that possibility myself, and am prepared o submit to correction...

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Wendell Berry

Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy.

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Wendell Berry

We do not need to plan or devise a "world of the future"; if we take care of the world of the present, the future will have received full justice from us. A good future is implicit in the soils, forests,...

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Wendell Berry

Once plants and animals were raised together on the same farm - which therefore neither produced unmanageable surpluses of manure, to be wasted and to pollute the water supply, nor depended on such quantities...

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Wendell Berry

Our destruction of nature is not just bad stewardship, or stupid economics, or a betrayal of family responsibility; it is the most horrid blasphemy. It is flinging God's gifts into His face, as if they...

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Wendell Berry

In Kentucky, we're destroying mountains, including their soils and forests, in order to get at the coal. In other words, we're destroying a permanent value in order to get at an almost inconceivably transient...

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Wendell Berry

Can we actually suppose that we are wasting, polluting, and making ugly this beautiful land for the sake of patriotism and the love of God? Perhaps some of us would like to think so, but in fact this destruction...

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Wendell Berry

We conservatives bemoan the decline in values that has besieged our society. Why then should we not abhor the lack of morality involved in discharging untested chemicals into the air, ground, and water...

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Wendell Berry

... it is not a crisis of our environs or surroundings; it is a crisis of our lives as individuals, as family members, as community members, and as citizens. We have an 'environmental crisis' because we...

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Wendell Berry

When you are old you can look back and see yourself when you are young. It is almost like looking down from heaven. And you see yourself as a young woman, just a big girl really, half awake to the world....

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Wendell Berry

What I stand for is what I stand on.

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Wendell Berry

Especially among Christians in positions of wealth and power, the idea of reading the Gospels and keeping Jesus' commandments as stated therein has been replaced by a curious process of logic. According...

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Wendell Berry

The past is our definition. We may strive with good reason to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it. But we will escape it only by adding something better to it.

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Wendell Berry

Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.

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Wendell Berry

The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.

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Wendell Berry

To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.

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Wendell Berry

Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.

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Wendell Berry

We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough?

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Wendell Berry

To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd.

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Wendell Berry

I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods.

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Wendell Berry

Why should conservationists have a positive interest in... farming? There are lots of reasons, but the plainest is: Conservationists eat.

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Wendell Berry

An economy genuinely local and neighborly offers to localities a measure of security that they cannot derive from a national or a global economy controlled by people who, by principle, have no local commitment.

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Wendell Berry

We cannot know the whole truth, which belongs to God alone, but our task nevertheless is to seek to know what is true. And if we offend gravely enough against what we know to be true, as by failing badly...

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Wendell Berry

For any sin, we all suffer. That is why our suffering is endless.

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Wendell Berry

Annual plants are nature's emergency medical service, seeded in sounds and scars to hold the land until the perennial cover is re-established.

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Wendell Berry

The latest technology is not always good for anything except to the producers of the technology.

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Wendell Berry

The only time I've been arrested was in opposing the Marble Hill nuclear power plant in Indiana. That was in 1979.

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Wendell Berry

If conservationists will attempt to resume responsibility for their need to eat, they will be led back fairly directly to all their previous concerns for the welfare of nature.

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Wendell Berry

Urban conservationists may feel entitled to be unconcerned about food production because they are not farmers. But they can't be let off so easily, for they are all farming by proxy.

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Wendell Berry

If I was freer than I had ever been in my life, I was not yet entirely free, for I still hung on to an idea that had been set deep in me by all my schooling so far: I was a bright boy and I ought to make...

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Wendell Berry

The old and honorable idea of 'vocation' is simply that we each are called, by God, or by our gifts, or by our preference, to a kind of good work for which we are particularly fitted.

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Wendell Berry

The uplands of my home country in north central Kentucky are sloping and easily eroded, dependent for safekeeping upon year-round cover of perennial plants.

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Wendell Berry

The world is not given by our fathers, but borrowed from our children.

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Wendell Berry

There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.

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Wendell Berry

A man with a machine and inadequate culture is a pestilence.

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Wendell Berry

It is not from ourselves that we learn to be better than we are.

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Wendell Berry

The cloud is free only to go with the wind. The rain is free only in falling.

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Wendell Berry

I dislike the thought that some animal has been made miserable to feed me. If I am going to eat meat, I want it to be from an animal that has lived a pleasant, uncrowded life outdoors, on bountiful pasture,...

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Wendell Berry

The road is a word, conceived elsewhere and laid across the country in the wound prepared for it: a word made concrete and thrust among us.

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Wendell Berry

Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest. Say that the leaves are harvested when they have rotted into...

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Wendell Berry

The country where he lives is haunted by the ghost of an old forest. In the cleared fields where he gardens and pastures his horses it stood once, and will return. There will be a resurrection of the wild....

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Wendell Berry

...And we pray, not for new earth or heaven, but to be quiet in heart, and in eye clear. What we need is here.

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Wendell Berry

To define knowledge as merely empirical is to limit one's ability to know; it enfeebles one's ability to feel and think.

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Wendell Berry

Beauty . . . cannot be interpreted. It is not an empirically verifiable fact; it is not a quantity.

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Wendell Berry

Under the pavement the dirt is dreaming of grass.

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Wendell Berry

If we do not live where we work and when we work we are wasting our lives and our work too.

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Wendell Berry

For the true measure of agriculture is not the sophistication of its equipment the size of its income or even the statistics of its productivity but the good health of the land.

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Wendell Berry

We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption,...

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Wendell Berry

...I was a young man. I hardly knew what I knew, let alone what I was going to know.

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Wendell Berry

You have been given questions to which you cannot be given answers. You will have to live them out - perhaps a little at a time.' And how long is that going to take?' I don't know. As long as you live,...

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Wendell Berry

After a while, though the grief did not go away from us, it grew quiet. What had seemed a storm wailing through the entire darkness seemed to come in at last and lie down.

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Wendell Berry

Explanation changes whatever is explained into something explainable.

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Wendell Berry

If the devil doesn't exist... how do you explain that some people are a lot worse than they're smart enough to be?

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Wendell Berry

Young lovers see a vision of the world redeemed by love. That is the truest thing they ever see, for without it life is death.

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Wendell Berry

It was a country . . . that he and his people had known how to use and abuse, but not how to preserve.

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Wendell Berry

There comes . . . a longing never to travel again except on foot.

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Wendell Berry

What could be more superstitious than the idea that money brings forth food?

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Wendell Berry

A corporation, essentially, is a pile of money to which a number of persons have sold their moral allegiance.

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Wendell Berry

And I knew that the Spirit that had gone forth to shape the world and make it live was still alive in it. I just had no doubt. I could see that I lived in the created world, and it was still being created....

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Wendell Berry

History overflows time. Love overflows the allowance of the world. All the vessels overflow, and no end or limit stays put. Every shakable thing has got to be shaken. In a sense, nothing that was ever...

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Wendell Berry

Perhaps all the good that ever has come here has come because people prayed it into the world.

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Wendell Berry

He never complained. He seemed to have no instinct for the making much of oneself that complaining requires.

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Wendell Berry

I thought, He must forebear to reveal His power and glory by presenting Himself as Himself, and must be present only in the ordinary miracle of the existence of His creatures. Those who wish to see Him...

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Wendell Berry

The river and the garden have been the foundations of my economy here. Of the two I have liked the river best. It is wonderful to have the duty of being on the river the first and last thing every day....

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Wendell Berry

We walked always in beauty, it seemed to me. We walked and looked about, or stood and looked. Sometimes, less often, we would sit down. We did not often speak. The place spoke for us and was a kind of...

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Wendell Berry

This is a book about Heaven. I know it now. It floats among us like a cloud and is the realest thing we know and the least to be captured, the least to be possessed by anybody for himself. It is like a...

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Wendell Berry

Professional standards, the standards of ambition and selfishness, are always sliding downward toward expense, ostentation, and mediocrity. They tend always to narrow the ground of judgment. But amateur...

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Wendell Berry

I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love.

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Wendell Berry

We know enough of our own history by now to be aware that people exploit what they have merely concluded to be of value, but they defend what they love. To defend what we love we need a particularizing...

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Wendell Berry

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...

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Wendell Berry

From a human point of view, the difference between the mind of a human and that of a mountain goat is wonderful; from the point of view of the infinite ignorance that surrounds us, the difference is not...

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Wendell Berry

It is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.

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Wendell Berry

Our most serious problem, perhaps, is that we have become a nation of fantasists. We believe, apparently, in the infinite availability of finite resources.

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Wendell Berry

To be patient in an emergency is a terrible trial.

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Wendell Berry

Battle with unconditioned breath the unconditioned air. Shun electric wire. Communicate slowly. Live a three-dimensional life; stay away from screens.

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Wendell Berry

Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery.

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Wendell Berry

We can say without exaggeration that the present national ambition of the United States is unemployment. People live for quitting time, for weekends, for vacations, and for retirement; moreover, this ambition...

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Wendell Berry

Good farmers, who take seriously their duties as stewards of Creation and of their land's inheritors, contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows....

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Wendell Berry

The music, while it lasted, brought a new world into being.

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Wendell Berry

You don't need to be told some things. You can sometimes tell more by a man's silence and the set of his head than by what he says.

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Wendell Berry

What can't be helped must be endured.

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Wendell Berry

New grief, when it came, you could feel filling the air. It took up all the room there was. The place itself, the whole place, became a reminder of the absence of the hurt or the dead or the missing one....

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Wendell Berry

As I understand it, I am being paid only for my work in arranging the words; my property is that arrangement. The thoughts in this book, on the contrary, are not mine. They came freely to me, and I give...

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Wendell Berry

One of the strongest of contemporary conventions is that of comparing to Thoreau every writer who has been as far out of the house as the mailbox.

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Wendell Berry

Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one's own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.

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Wendell Berry

If a healthy soil is full of death, it is also full of life: worms, fungi, microorganisms of all kinds ... Given only the health of the soil, nothing that dies is dead for very long.

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Wendell Berry

We need to confront honestly the issue of scale... You may need a large corporation to run an airline or to manufacture cars, but you don't need a large corporation to raise a chicken or a hog. You don't...

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Wendell Berry

Sit and be still until in the time of no rain you hear beneath the dry wind's commotion in the trees the sound of flowing water among the rocks, a stream unheard before, and you are where...

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Wendell Berry

A viable neighborhood is a community: and a viable community is made up of neighbors who cherish and protect what they have in common.

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Wendell Berry

Under the rule of the "free market" ideology, we have gone through two decades of an energy crisis without an effective energy policy. Because of an easy and thoughtless reliance on imported oil, we have...

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Wendell Berry

With its array of gadgets and machines, all powered by energies that are destructive of land or air or water, and connected to work, market, school, recreation, etc., by gasoline engines, the modern home...

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Wendell Berry

This curious faith is predicated on the notion that we will soon develop unlimited new sources of energy: domestic oil fields, shale oil, gasified coal, nuclear power, solar energy, and so on. This is...

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Wendell Berry

The problems are our lives. In the "developed" countries, at least, the large problems occur because all of us are living either partly wrong or almost entirely wrong. It was not just the greed of corporate...

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Wendell Berry

The mercy of the world is you don't know what's going to happen.

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Wendell Berry

They learned to have a very high opinion of God and a very low opinion of His works—although they could tell you that this world had been made by God Himself. What they didn’t see was that it is beautiful,...

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Wendell Berry

Some of the best things I have ever thought of I have thought of during bad sermons.

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Wendell Berry

To mind being disliked by a woman you don’t desire and are not married to is yet another serious failure of common sense.

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Wendell Berry

At the window he sits and looks out, musing on the river, a little brown hen duck paddling upstream among the windwaves close to the far bank. What he has understood lies behind him like a road in the...

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Wendell Berry

Some nights in the midst of this loneliness I swung among the scattered stars at the end of the thin thread of faith alone.

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Wendell Berry

A person who undertakes to grow a garden at home, by practices that will preserve rather than exploit the economy of the soil, has his mind precisely against what is wrong with us... What I am saying is...

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Wendell Berry

There are moments when the heart is generous, and then it knows that for better or worse our lives are woven together here, one with one another and with the place and all the living things.

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Wendell Berry

Eating with the fullest pleasure - pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance - is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience our dependence...

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Wendell Berry

A teacher's major contribution may pop out anonymously in the life of some ex-student's grandchild. A teacher, finally, has nothing to go on but faith, a student nothing to offer in return but testimony.

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Wendell Berry

Waking up from a dream of violence is much the same as waking up from a dream of love. You must go on living your life.

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Wendell Berry

I could die in peace, I think, if the world was beautiful. To know it's being ruined is hard.

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Wendell Berry

The shoddy work of despair, the pointless work of pride, equally betray Creation. They are wastes of life.

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Wendell Berry

No wonder so many sermons are devoted exclusively to "spiritual" subjects. If one is living by the tithes of history's most destructive economy, then the disembodiment of the soul becomes the chief of...

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Wendell Berry

It is only by understanding the cultural complexity and largeness of the concept of agriculture that we can see the threatening diminishments implied by the term 'agribusiness.'

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Wendell Berry

Sometimes I knew in all my mind and heart why I had done what I had done, and I welcomed the sacrifice. But there were times too when I lived in a desert and felt no joy and saw no hope and could not remember...

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Wendell Berry

At home the great delight is to see the clover and grass now growing on places that were bare when we came. These small healings of the ground are my model accomplishment-everything else I do must aspire...

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Wendell Berry

The securest guarantee of the long-term good health of both farmland and city is, I believe, locally produced food.

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Wendell Berry

I dream of a quiet man / who explains nothing and defends nothing, but only knows / where the rarest wildflowers / are blooming, and who goes, / and finds that he is smiling / not by his own will.

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Wendell Berry

Geese appear high over us, / pass, and the sky closes. Abandon, / as in love or sleep, holds them to their way, clear / in the ancient faith: what we need / is here. And we pray, not / for new earth or...

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Wendell Berry

The soil is the great connector of our lives, the source and destination of all.

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Wendell Berry

Soil is not usually lost in slabs or heaps of magnificent tonnage. It is lost a little at a time over millions of acres by the careless acts of millions of people. It cannot be saved by heroic feats of...

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Wendell Berry

We are far more concerned about the desecration of the flag than we are about the desecration of our land.

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Wendell Berry

But our waste problem is not the fault only of producers. It is the fault of an economy that is wasteful from top to bottom-a symbiosis of an unlimited greed at the top and a lazy, passive, and self-indulgent...

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Wendell Berry

In living in the world by his own will and skill, the stupidest peasant or tribesman is more competent than the most intelligent worker or technician or intellectual in a society of specialists.

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Wendell Berry

The difference between a path and a road is not only the obvious one. A path is little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place. It is a sort of ritual of familiarity. As a form, it is a...

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Wendell Berry

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.... For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

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Wendell Berry

The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without...

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Wendell Berry

We have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist.

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Wendell Berry

It is easy for me to imagine that the next great division of the world will be between people who wish to live as creatures and people who wish to live as machines.

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Wendell Berry

You cannot save the land apart from the people, or the people apart from the land.

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Wendell Berry

Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.

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Wendell Berry

Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.

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Wendell Berry

How joyful to be together, alone as when we first were joined in our little house by the river long ago, except that now we know each other, as we did not then; and now instead of two stories fumbling...

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Wendell Berry

In order to survive, a plurality of true communities would require not egalitarianism and tolerance but knowledge, an understanding of the necessity of local differences, and respect. Respect, I think,...

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Wendell Berry

If you eat, you are involved in agriculture.

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Wendell Berry

Only by restoring the broken connections can we be healed. Connection is health. And what our society does its best to disguise from us is how ordinary, how commonly attainable, health is. We lose our...

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Wendell Berry

True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation. One's inner voices become audible... In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives.

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Wendell Berry

Properly speaking, global thinking is not possible... Look at one of those photographs of half the earth taken from outer space, and see if you recognize your neighborhood. The right local questions and...

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Wendell Berry

When the mind's an empty room The clear days come.

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Wendell Berry

People who want to see the beauty of nature from motorboats and automobiles would obviously be just as pleased, and as fully recreated, at a drive-in movie.

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Wendell Berry

I am speaking of the life of a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage, not because he is duty-bound,...

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Wendell Berry

We're living, it seems, in the culmination of a long warfare - warfare against human beings, other creatures and the Earth itself.

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Wendell Berry

To be well used, creatures and places must be used sympathetically, just as they must be known sympathetically to be well known...The "animal scientist" to whom it is of no concern whether or not animals...

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Wendell Berry

It would not do for the consumer to know that the hamburger she is eating came from a steer who spent much of his life standing deep in his own excrement in a feedlot, helping to pollute the local streams....

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Wendell Berry

The reason to preserve wilderness is that we need it. We need wilderness of all kinds, large and small, public and private. Wee need to go now and again into places where our work is disallowed, where...

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Wendell Berry

There are endless ways to amuse oneself and be idle, and most of them lie outside the woods. I assume that when a man goes to the woods he goes because he needs to. I think he is drawn to the wilderness...

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Wendell Berry

As long as we insist on relating to it strictly on our own terms-as strange to us or subject to us-the wilderness is alien, threatening, fearful.

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Wendell Berry

As long as we insist on relating to it strictly on our own terms-as strange to us or subject to us-the wilderness is alien, threatening, fearful. We have no choice then but to become its exploiters, and...

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Wendell Berry

There are, it seems, two muses: The Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say, 'It is yet more difficult than you...

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Wendell Berry

Again I resume the long lesson: how small a thing can be pleasing, how little in this hard world it takes to satisfy the mind and bring it to its rest.

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Wendell Berry

The only true and effective "operator's manual for spaceship earth" is not a book that any human will ever write; it is hundreds of thousands of local cultures.

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Wendell Berry

A man's life is always dealing with permanence, that is the most dangerous kind of irresponsibility is to think of your doings as temporary.

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Wendell Berry

It is possible, I think, to say that... a Christian agriculture [is] formed upon the understanding that it is sinful for people to misuse or destroy what they did not make. The Creation is a unique, irreplaceable...

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Wendell Berry

The miraculous is not extraordinary but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread. Whoever really has considered the lilies of the field or the birds of the air and pondered the improbability...

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Wendell Berry

For complex reasons, our culture allows "economy" to mean only "money economy." It equates success and even goodness with monetary profit because it lacks any other standard of measurement. I am no economist,...

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Wendell Berry

Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection.

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Wendell Berry

The only sustainable city - and this, to me, is the indispensable ideal and goal - is a city in balance with its countryside.

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Wendell Berry

It is no more possible to live in the future than it is to live in the past. If life is not now, it is never.

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Wendell Berry

The presence of the present has become insistent, undeniable, and I dare not look away.

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Wendell Berry

It is the man who can think of no alternative to his enslavement who is truly a slave.

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Wendell Berry

Ask the questions that have no answers. Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.

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Wendell Berry

The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth - that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household, neighborhood,...

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Wendell Berry

The primary motive for good care and good use of the land-community is always going to be affection, which is too often lacking.

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Wendell Berry

You can't know where life will take you, but you can commit to a direction

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Wendell Berry

It gets darker and darker and darker, and then Jesus is born.

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Wendell Berry

We cannot know the whole truth, which belongs to God alone, but our task nevertheless is to seek to know what is true.

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Wendell Berry

The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass.

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Wendell Berry

A tree forms itself in answer to its place and the light. Explain it how you will, the only thing explainable will be your explanation.” Sabbaths 1999 IV

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Wendell Berry

Education in the true sense, of course, is an enablement to serve-both the living human community in its natural household or neighborhood and the precious cultural possessions that the living community...

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Wendell Berry

Returning from the wilderness a man becomes a restorer of order, a preserver. He sees the truth, recognizes his true heir, honors his forbears and his heritage, and gives his blessing to his successors....

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Wendell Berry

The paramount doctrine of the economic and technological euphoria of recent decades has been that everything depends on innovation. It was understood as desirable, and even necessary, that we should go...

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Wendell Berry

To accept that there is nothing to do is to despair. It is to become in some fundamental way less than human. Those of us who are protesting are protesting in part for our own sake to keep ourselves whole...

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Wendell Berry

In health the flesh is graced, the holy enters the world.

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Wendell Berry

To husband is to use with care, to keep, to save, to make last, to conserve. Old usage tells us that there is a husbandry also of the land, of the soil, of the domestic plants and animals. And so it appears...

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Wendell Berry

You cannot affirm the power plant and condemn the smokestack, or affirm the smoke and condemn the cough

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Wendell Berry

We do need a 'new economy,' but one that is founded on thrift and care, on saving and conserving, not on excess and waste. An economy based on waste is inherently and hopelessly violent, and war is its...

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Wendell Berry

A sustainable agriculture is one which depletes neither the people nor the land.

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Wendell Berry

It's the impeded stream that sings

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Wendell Berry

The mind that is not baffled, is unemployed

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Wendell Berry

There is no sense and no sanity in objecting to the desecration of the flag while tolerating and justifying and encouraging as a daily business the desecration of the country for which it stands.

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Wendell Berry

The 'environmental crisis' has happened because the human household or economy is in conflict at almost every point with the household of nature. We have built our household on the assumption that the...

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Wendell Berry

There are two laws that we had better take to be absolute. The first is that as we cannot exempt ourselves from living in this world, then if we wish to live, we cannot exempt ourselves from using the...

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Wendell Berry

We clasp the hands of those who go before us, and the hands of those who come after us; we enter the little circle of each other's arms, and the larger circle of lovers whose hands are joined in a dance,...

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Wendell Berry

Thinking is the most overrated human activity.

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Wendell Berry

If we represent knowledge as a tree, we know that things that are divided are yet connected. We know that to observe the divisions and ignore the connections is to destroy the tree.

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Wendell Berry

Where is our comfort but in the free, uninvolved, finally mysterious beauty and grace of this world that we did not make, that has no price? Where is our sanity but there? Where is our pleasure but in...

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Wendell Berry

A man who does not ask to much become the promise of his land. His marriage married to his place, he waits and does not stray.

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Wendell Berry

If you grow a garden you are going to shed some sweat, and you are going to spend some time bent over; you will experience some aches and pains. But it is in the willingness to accept this discomfort that...

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Wendell Berry

Only by restoring the broken connections can we be healed. Connection is health.

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Wendell Berry

The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming, whose hands reach into the ground and sprout, to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has...

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Wendell Berry

The incarnate Word is with us, is still speaking, is present always, yet leaves no sign but everything that is.

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Wendell Berry

O Thou, Far off and here, whole and broken, Who in necessity and in bounty wait, Whose truth is light and dark, mute though spoken, By Thy wide grace show me Thy narrow gate.

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Wendell Berry

Our Children no longer learn how to read the great book of Nature from their own direct experience, or how to interact creatively with the seasonal transformations of the planet. They seldom learn where...

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Wendell Berry

A Sustainable Agriculture does not deplete soils or people.

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Wendell Berry

Go with your love to the fields. Lie down in the shade. Rest your head in her lap. Swear allegiance to what is nighest your thoughts. As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the...

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Wendell Berry

Ask the world to reveal its quietude- not the silence of machines when they are still, but the true quiet by which birdsongs, trees, bellworts, snails, clouds, storms become what they are, and are nothing...

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Wendell Berry

There's a world of difference . . . between that information to which we now presumably have access by way of computers, libraries, and the rest of it, great stockpiles of data, and the knowledge that...

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Wendell Berry

The Christian gospel is a summons to peace, calling for justice beyond anger, mercy beyond justice, forgiveness beyond mercy, love beyond forgiveness.

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Wendell Berry

It's impossible to contemplate the life of soil very long without seeing its analogy to the life of the spirit.

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Wendell Berry

It is to be broken. It is to be torn open. It is not to be reached and come to rest in ever. I turn against you, I break from you, I turn to you. We hurt, and are hurt, and have each other for healing....

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Wendell Berry

Living without expectations is hard but, when you can do it, good. Living without hope is harder, and that is bad. You have got to have hope, and you must'nt shirk it. Love, after all, hopeth all things....

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Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me... I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, ...

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Wendell Berry

Never forget: We are alive within mysteries.

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Wendell Berry

We enter solitude, in which also we lose loneliness. True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation. One’s inner voices become audible. One feels the attraction of one’s...

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Wendell Berry

A good community insures itself by trust, by good faith and good will, by mutual help. A good community, in other words, is a good local economy.

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Wendell Berry

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground...

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Wendell Berry

We have made it our overriding ambition to escape work, and as a consequence have debased work until it is only fit to escape from. We have debased the products of work and have been, in turn, debased...

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Wendell Berry

[All the ancient wisdom] tells us that work is necessary to us, as much a part of our condition as mortality; that good work is our salvation and our joy; that shoddy or dishonest or self-serving work...

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Wendell Berry

If we are looking for insurance against want and oppression, we will find it only in our neighbors' prosperity and goodwill and, beyond that, in the good health of our worldly places, our homelands. If...

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Wendell Berry

The freedom of affluence opposes and contradicts the freedom of community life.

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Wendell Berry

People use drugs, legal and illegal, because their lives are intolerably painful or dull. They hate their work and find no rest in their leisure. They are estranged from their families and their neighbors....

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Wendell Berry

A proper community, we should remember also, is a commonwealth: a place, a resource, an economy. It answers the needs, practical as well as social and spiritual, of its members - among them the need to...

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Wendell Berry

My wish simply is to live my life as fully as I can. In both our work and our leisure, I think, we should be so employed. And in our time this means that we must save ourselves from the products that we...

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Wendell Berry

Odd as I am sure it will appear to some, I can think of no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening. A person who is growing a garden, if he is growing...

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Wendell Berry

One cannot be aware both of the history of Christian war and of the contents of the gospels without feeling that something is amiss.

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Wendell Berry

Healing is impossible in loneliness; it is the opposite of loneliness. Conviviality is healing. To be healed we must come with all the other creatures to the feast of Creation. (pg.99, "The Body and the...

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Wendell Berry

We live the given life, and not the planned.

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Wendell Berry

I go among trees and sit still. All my stirring becomes quiet around me like circles on water. My tasks lie in their places where I left them, asleep like cattle... Then what I am afraid of comes. I live...

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Wendell Berry

The world is so full and abundant it is like a pregnant woman carrying a child in one arm and leading another by the hand. Every puddle in the lane is ringed with sipping butterflied that fly up in flutter...

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Wendell Berry

The earth is what we all have in common.

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Wendell Berry

I'd rather rely on mother nature's wisdom than man's cleverness

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Wendell Berry

How do we submit? By not being radical enough. Or by not being thorough enough, which is the same thing.

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Wendell Berry

The industrial mind is a mind without compunction; it simply accepts that people, ultimately, will be treated as things and that things, ultimately, will be treated as garbage. (A Defense of the Family...

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Wendell Berry

This massive ascendancy of corporate power over democratic process is probably the most ominous development since the end of World War II, and for the most part "the free world" seems to be regarding it...

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Wendell Berry

We had entered an era of limitlessness, or the illusion thereof, and this in itself is a sort of wonder. My grandfather lived a life of limits, both suffered and strictly observed, in a world of limits....

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Wendell Berry

A liberal education rests on the assumption that nature and human nature do not change very much or very fast and that one therefore needs to understand the past.

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Wendell Berry

To love anything good, at any cost, is a bargain.

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Wendell Berry

To treat life as less than a miracle is to give up on it.

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Wendell Berry

For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

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Wendell Berry

If you can read and have more imagination than a doorknob, what need do you have for a 'movie version' of a novel?

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Wendell Berry

We can fight the global economy with a strong local economy.

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Wendell Berry

An agrarian mind begins with the love of fields and ramifies in good farming, good cooking & good eating

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Wendell Berry

We don't have a right to ask whether we're going to succeed or not. The only question we have a right to ask is what's the right thing to do? What does this earth require of us if we want to continue to...

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Wendell Berry

People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.

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Wendell Berry

A person who undertakes to grow a garden at home, by practices that will preserve rather than exploit the economy of the soil, has his mind precisely against what is wrong with us.

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Wendell Berry

Eating is an agricultural act. Eating ends the annual drama of the food economy that begins with planting and birth. Most eaters, however, are no longer aware that this is true. They think of food as an...

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Wendell Berry

To work without pleasure or affection, to make a product that is not both useful and beautiful, is to dishonor God, nature, the thing that is made, and whomever it is made for.

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Wendell Berry

Let us have the candor to acknowledge that what we call "the economy" or "the free market" is less and less distinguishable from warfare.

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Wendell Berry

One of the most important resources that a garden makes available for use, is the gardener's own body. A garden gives the body the dignity of working in its own support. It is a way of rejoining the human...

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Wendell Berry

Novelty is a new kind of loneliness.

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Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the...

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Wendell Berry

So it is that the life force may take possession of a man-- so that in the end he may be possessed by something greater, no longer at all belonging to himself.

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Wendell Berry

So, friends, every day do something that won't compute...Give your approval to all you cannot understand...Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build...

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Wendell Berry

Don't own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.

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Wendell Berry

And so there would always be more to remember that could no longer be seen...our history is always returning to a little patch of weeds and saplings with an old chimney sticking up by itself...and here...

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Wendell Berry

I don't believe that grief passes away. It has its time and place forever. More time is added to it; it becomes a story within a story. But grief and griever alike endure.

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Wendell Berry

I have always loved a window, especially an open one.

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Wendell Berry

But love, sooner or later, forces us out of time...of all that we feel and do, all the virtues and all the sins, love alone crowds us at last over the edge of the world. For love is always more than a...

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Wendell Berry

If love could force my own thoughts over the edge of the world and out of time, then could I not see how even divine omnipotence might by the force of its own love be swayed down to the world? ...how it...

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Wendell Berry

Akin to the idea that time is money is the concept, less spoken but as commonly assumed, that we may be adequately represented by money. The giving of money has thus become our characteristic virtue. But...

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Wendell Berry

The chance you had is the life you've got. You can make complaints about what people, including you, make of their lives after they have got them, and about what people make of other people's lives, ...but...

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Wendell Berry

We weren't allowing our hopes to become expectations. Expectations are tempting, pleasant, maybe necessary. They are scary too, once you have had some experience. They are not necessarily and not always...

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Wendell Berry

Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed.

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Wendell Berry

I have this love for Mattie. It was formed in me as he himself was formed. It has his shape, you might say. He fits it. He fits into it as he fits into his clothes. He will always fit into it. When he...

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Wendell Berry

So, friends, every day do something that won't compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it. Denounce the government...

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Wendell Berry

It is impossible to prefigure the salvation of the world in the same language by which the world has been dismembered and defaced.

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Wendell Berry

I see that the life of this place is always emerging beyond expectation or prediction or typicality, that it is unique, given to the world minute by minute, only once, never to be repeated. And this is...

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Wendell Berry

When going back makes sense, you are going ahead.

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Wendell Berry

We are going to have to gather up the fragments of knowledge and responsibilities that have been turned over to governments, corporations, and specialists, and put those fragments back together again in...

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Wendell Berry

Like the water of a deep stream, love is always too much. We did not make it. Though we drink till we burst, we cannot have it all, or want it all. In its abundance it survives our thirst. In the evening...

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Wendell Berry

Sabbath observance invites us to stop. It invites us to rest. It asks us to notice that while we rest, the world continues without our help. It invites us to delight in the world's beauty and abundance.

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Wendell Berry

Be joyful because it is humanly possible.

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Wendell Berry

Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient...

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Wendell Berry

You can best serve civilization by being against what usually passes for it.

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Wendell Berry

You mustn’t wish for another life. You mustn’t want to be somebody else. What you must do is this: “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks.” I am not all the way capable...

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Wendell Berry

Under the discipline of unity, knowledge and morality come together. No longer can we have that paltry 'objective' knowledge so prized by the academic specialists. To know anything at all becomes a moral...

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Wendell Berry

If we are to have a culture as resilient and competent in the face of necessity as it needs to be, then it must somehow involve within itself a ceremonious generosity toward the wilderness of natural force...

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Wendell Berry

We could say that the human race is a great coauthorship in which we are collaborating with God and nature in the making of ourselves and one another. From this there is no escape. We may collaborate either...

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Wendell Berry

I take literally the statement in the Gospel of John that God loves the world. I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar...

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Wendell Berry

I believe that the community - in the fullest sense: a place and all its creatures - is the smallest unit of health and that to speak of the health of an isolated individual is a contradiction in terms....

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Wendell Berry

To think better, to think like the best humans, we are probably going to have to learn again to judge a person's intelligence, not by the ability to recite facts, but by the good order or harmoniousness...

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Wendell Berry

The two ideas, justice and vocation, are inseparable.... It is by way of the principle and practice of vocation that sanctity and reverence enter into the human economy. It was thus possible for traditional...

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Wendell Berry

Charity even for one person does not make sense except in terms of an effort to love all Creation in response to the Creator's love for it.

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Wendell Berry

In the loss of skill, we lose stewardship; in losing stewardship we lose fellowship; we become outcasts from the great neighborhood of Creation. It is possible - as our experience in this good land shows...

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Wendell Berry

To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively,...

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Wendell Berry

Creation is thus God's presence in creatures. The Greek Orthodox theologian Philip Sherrard has written that "Creation is nothing less than the manifestation of God's hidden Being." This means that we...

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Wendell Berry

I don't think it is enough appreciated how much an outdoor book the Bible is. It is a "hypaethral book," such as Thoreau talked about - a book open to the sky. It is best read and understood outdoors,...

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Wendell Berry

We still (sometimes) remember that we cannot be free if our minds and voices are controlled by someone else. But we have neglected to understand that we cannot be free if our food and its sources are controlled...

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Wendell Berry

The pleasure of eating should be an extensive pleasure, not that of the mere gourmet. People who know the garden in which their vegetables have grown and know that the garden is healthy will remember the...

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Wendell Berry

I don't think I had even begun to have an idea where I was going, but wherever it was, that was where I wanted to go.

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Wendell Berry

From the union of power and money, from the union of power and secrecy, from the union of government and science, from the union of government and art, from the union of science and money, from the union...

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Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.

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Wendell Berry

We can make ourselves whole only by accepting our partiality, by living within our limits, by being humans not by trying to be gods.

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Wendell Berry

As I age in the world it will rise and spread, and be for this place horizon and orison, the voice of its winds. I have made myself a dream to dream of its rising, that has gentled my nights. Let me desire...

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Wendell Berry

and in some of the people of the town and community surrounding it, one of the characteristic diseases of the twentieth century was making its way: the suspicion that they would be greatly improved if...

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Wendell Berry

THE WILD ROSE” – BY WENDELL BERRY Sometimes, hidden from me in daily custom and in ritual I live by you unaware, as if by the beating of my heart. Suddenly you flare again in my sight A wild rose at...

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Wendell Berry

A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other's lives. It is the knowledge...

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Wendell Berry

The rule, acknowledged or not, seems to be that if we have great power we must use it. We would use a steam shovel to pick up a dime. We have experts who can prove there is no other way to do it.

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Wendell Berry

Eating is an agricultural act.

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Wendell Berry

Much of our waste problem is to be accounted for by the intentional flimsiness and unrepairability of the labor-savers and gadgets that we have become addicted to.

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Wendell Berry

Love is never abstract. It does not adhere to the universe or the planet or the nation or the institution or the profession, but to the singular sparrows of the street, the lilies of the field, "to the...

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Wendell Berry

If you start a conversation with the assumption that you are right or that you must win, obviously it is difficult to talk.

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Wendell Berry

The language that reveals also obscures.

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Wendell Berry

The passive American consumer, sitting down to a meal of pre-prepared food, confronts inert, anonymous substances that have been processed, dyed, breaded, sauced, gravied, ground, pulped, strained, blended,...

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“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

― Dr. Seuss