Feb 23, 2005

Wendell Berry

Woke up this morning thinking of a chicken scratching dirt, for no apparent reason except the sun was out like a promise of a day for sitting on the porch.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Wendell Berry, last few days, and in the last few posts. I’ve been thinking about how to use technology conscious and and concerned about its reshaping of society, about sense of place and our relations to it, about a Berryian sense of ethics (running in my mind with a Girardian/Foucaultian concerns of violence and power and a Derridian hope for the impossible), ethics as personal responsibility for and an attitude of humility towards my world.

You can dismiss Berry and his agrarianism as romantic, as caught in daydreams of a dead age, but that reading’s cheap, I think. It’s misdirected. Berry’s project isn’t about a radical and fanciful reshaping of the world, isn’t a Moaistic sort of endeavor, isn’t about recapturing an imagined epoch. Berry’s project is about the indivisibility of the world, and about attempting to approach the world with a sense of stewardship and responsibility. To call it agrarianism, even, is a misnomer, for it’s not about living in the country but about living.