Wendell Berry citations

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Wendell Berry

Date de naissance: 5. août 1934
Autres noms:وندل بری

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Wendell Berry

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Citations Wendell Berry

„We are alive within mystery, by miracle.“

— Wendell Berry
Context: We are alive within mystery, by miracle. "Life," wrote Erwin Chargaff, "is the continual intervention of the inexplicable." We have more than we can know. We know more than we can say. The constructions of language (which is to say the constructions of thought) are formed within experience, not the other way around. Finally we live beyond words, as also we live beyond computation and beyond theory. There is no reason whatever to assume that the languages of science are less limited than other languages.

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„In making myself a killer I have destroyed the possibility of neighborhood.“

— Wendell Berry
Context: If I solve my dispute with my neighbor by killing him, I have certainly solved the immediate dispute. If my neighbor was a scoundrel, then the world is no doubt better for his absence. But in killing my neighbor, though he may have been a terrible man who did not deserve to live, I have made myself a killer — and the life of my next neighbor is in greater peril than the life of the last. In making myself a killer I have destroyed the possibility of neighborhood. "A Statement against the War in Vietnam".

„We need to confront honestly the issue of scale.“

— Wendell Berry
Context: We need to confront honestly the issue of scale. Bigness has a charm and a drama that are seductive, especially to politicians and financiers; but bigness promotes greed, indifference, and damage, and often bigness is not necessary. 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 need a large corporation to process local food or local timber and market it locally. "Compromise, Hell!"

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

— Wendell Berry
Context: 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, and am free. "The Peace of Wild Things" in Green River Review, No. 1 (1968).

„And if people lose their ability to feed themselves, how can they be said to be free?“

— Wendell Berry
Context: The issue here really is not whether international trade shall be free but whether or not it makes any sense for a country — or, for that matter, a region — to destroy its own capacity to produce its own food. How can a government, entrusted with the safety and health of its people, conscientiously barter away in the name of an economic idea that people’s ability to feed itself? And if people lose their ability to feed themselves, how can they be said to be free? "A Bad Big Idea".

„We have become blind to the alternatives to violence.“

— Wendell Berry
Context: We have become blind to the alternatives to violence. This involves us in a sort of official madness, in which, while following what seems to be a perfect logic of self-defense and deterrence, we commit one absurdity after another: We seek to preserve peace by fighting a war, or to advance freedom by subsidizing dictatorships, or to "win the hearts and minds of the people" by poisoning their crops and burning their villages and confining them in concentration camps; we seek to uphold the "truth" of our cause with lies, or to answer conscientious dissent with threats and slurs and intimidations. … I have come to the realization that I can no longer imagine a war that I would believe to be either useful or necessary. I would be against any war. "A Statement Against the War in Vietnam" an address at the University of Kentucky (10 February 1968) http://books.google.com/books?id=-hHNuLumg8wC&pg=PA68.

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„Nations and regions within nations must be left free — and should be encouraged — to develop the local food economies that best suit local needs and local conditions.“

— Wendell Berry
Context: Anybody interested in solving, rather than profiting from, the problems of food production and distribution will see that in the long run the safest food supply is a local food supply, not a supply that is dependent on a global economy. Nations and regions within nations must be left free — and should be encouraged — to develop the local food economies that best suit local needs and local conditions. "A Bad Big Idea".

„That I
may have spoken well
at times, is not natural.
A wonder is what it is.“

— Wendell Berry
Context: Do not think me gentle because I speak in praise of gentleness, or elegant because I honor the grace that keeps this world. I am a man crude as any, gross of speech, intolerant, stubborn, angry, full of fits and furies. That I may have spoken well at times, is not natural. A wonder is what it is. A Warning To My Readers.

„Most of us are still too sane to piss in our own cistern, but we allow others to do so and we reward them for it.“

— Wendell Berry
Context: We Americans are not usually thought to be a submissive people, but of course we are. Why else would we allow our country to be destroyed? Why else would we be rewarding its destroyers? Why else would we all — by proxies we have given to greedy corporations and corrupt politicians — be participating in its destruction? Most of us are still too sane to piss in our own cistern, but we allow others to do so and we reward them for it. We reward them so well, in fact, that those who piss in our cistern are wealthier than the rest of us. How do we submit? By not being radical enough. Or by not being thorough enough, which is the same thing. "Compromise, Hell!" Orion magazine (November/December 2004) http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/147/.

„The context of love is the world.“

— Wendell Berry
Context: 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 standards, the standards of love, are always straining upward toward the humble and the best. They enlarge the ground of judgment. The context of love is the world. "The Responsibility of the Poet".

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„I come into the presence of still water.“

— Wendell Berry
Context: 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, and am free. "The Peace of Wild Things" in Green River Review, No. 1 (1968).

„We are disposed, somewhat by culture and somewhat by nature, to solve our problems by violence, and even to enjoy doing so.“

— Wendell Berry
Context: We are disposed, somewhat by culture and somewhat by nature, to solve our problems by violence, and even to enjoy doing so. And yet by now all of us must at least have suspected that our right to live, to be free, and to be at peace is not guaranteed by any act of violence. It can be guaranteed only by our willingness that all other persons should live, be free, and be at peace — and by our willingness to use or give our own lives to make that possible.

„By this time, the era of cut-and-run economics ought to be finished. Such an economy cannot be rationally defended or even apologized for. The proofs of its immense folly, heartlessness, and destructiveness are everywhere.“

— Wendell Berry
Context: By this time, the era of cut-and-run economics ought to be finished. Such an economy cannot be rationally defended or even apologized for. The proofs of its immense folly, heartlessness, and destructiveness are everywhere. Its failure as a way of dealing with the natural world and human society can no longer be sanely denied. That this economic system persists and grows larger and stronger in spite of its evident failure has nothing to do with rationality or, for that matter, with evidence. It persists because, embodied now in multinational corporations, it has discovered a terrifying truth: If you can control a people’s economy, you don’t need to worry about its politics; its politics have become irrelevant. If you control people’s choices as to whether or not they will work, and where they will work, and what they will do, and how well they will do it, and what they will eat and wear, and the genetic makeup of their crops and animals, and what they will do for amusement, then why should you worry about freedom of speech? In a totalitarian economy, any "political liberties" that the people might retain would simply cease to matter. If, as is often the case already, nobody can be elected who is not wealthy, and if nobody can be wealthy without dependence on the corporate economy, then what is your vote worth? The citizen thus becomes an economic subject. "Conserving Forest Communities".

„Much protest is naive; it expects quick, visible improvement and despairs and gives up when such improvement does not come.“

— Wendell Berry
Context: Much protest is naive; it expects quick, visible improvement and despairs and gives up when such improvement does not come. Protesters who hold out for longer have perhaps understood that success is not the proper goal. If protest depended on success, there would be little protest of any durability or significance. History simply affords too little evidence that anyone's individual protest is of any use. 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. "A Poem of Difficult Hope".

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