Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community: Eight Essays
It’s the subject I’ve been obsessed with: community. (Preoccupied, absorbed, obsessed— none are quite the right word. Maybe wrestling. But I digress.) Community, as in the whole-scale failure of world to protect them, the tattered, battered remnants of the ones that remain. Mr. Berry writes this fr...more
(from his list of modern market/education truths): "The smartest and most educated people are the scientists, for they have already found solutions to all our problems and will soon find solutions to all the problems resulting from their solutions to all the problems we used to have."
"Our present sexual conduct... having 'liberated' itself from the...more
Some of the specifics of this book are dated, but the general themes are not. In fact, many of the issues that alarm him are even more severe now than in the early 90's.
I probably underlined at least one sentence on every page.
"The freedom of the community is the more fundamental and the more complex. A community confers on its members the freedoms implicit in familiarity,mutual respect, mutual affection, and mutual help; it gives freedom its proper aims; and it prescribes or shows the responsibilities without which no...more
An incisive critique of the consumerist and egotistical attitude shared, in some measure, but the greater part of the American society. However, I can't help but think Berry, in these essays, falls prey to a nostalgic reverie in which our current world would more resemble those communities which existed 200 years ago in the rural agrarian frontiers. While those communities have much to commend them (and I appreciate Berry's positive contribution to the development of the community ideal), they a...more
I particularly like the essay "The Problem of Tobacco."
This needs a second read, because I often picked it up and put it down in the middle of an essay, which disjointed my experience of the book as a whole.
I like Berry's poetry better than his nonfiction, but each of these essays gave me something to think about that I had never before considered: such as about about how we live in relation to the land and to each other, and the connections between the two, and about citi...more
It depressed me because it cast a vision of public, private, and community life that, while compelling and beautiful, is also so distant from everything I've experienced. It touched a deep longing, but since it can't fulfill it, it simply hurt.
At the same time, I find myself inspired, not only because it touched on a vision of life that I ache for, but because I can see how a number of decisions my wife and I have made in recent months are moving towards...more
Berry’s analytical skill is exceptional; he deconstructs, but not to the point of meaninglessness. Rather, he breaks things down to show us the faulty logic of some sy...more
Chapter 7, Part III
"Obviously, "the sense of the holiness of life" is not compatible with tan exploitive economy. You cannot know that life is holy if you are content o live from economic practices that daily destroy life and diminish its possibility. And many if not most Christian organization now appear to be perfectly a...more
-If you want to see where you are, you will have to get out of your spaceship, out of your car, off your horse, and walk over the ground. On foot you will find that the earth is still satisfyingly large and full of beguiling nooks and crannies. (20)
-There should be no relenting in our efforts to influence politics and politicians. But in the name of hon...more
I am struggling a bit, however, with the final essay, from which the book takes its title. In it, Berry defines "community" in part as "an under...more
In this group of essays, Berry repeatedly asserts and explains the...more
The next to last essay was all about gnosticism and the Church. It was great reading Wendell Berry go after the latent gnosticism/dualism that still affects the Church to this day. And he wasn't shy about pointing out that a bad view of the land affects other areas of our life and vice-versa. The final essay...more
A very important book.
Some ideas from this book that I'd like to figure out/do:
1. How do we invest our money locally so that we can make a difference in our community while still saving for retirement/getting a return on our savings? How can we keep our money...more