Wendell Berry Talks Standard of Living, Limits, Scale, and Context

When I hear Wendell Berry speak I can’t help thinking that I’m watching a living example of what the Bible calls wisdom. I’m not going to comment here, I’m just going to listen.

“What I am waiting for is for somebody to come along and say, ‘Look, we’ve got to use less.’ This thing that we’re calling our standard of living can’t be maintained, and so this means that we’ve all got to make a criticism of our lives and of our standard of living.”

“We’re getting the scale wrong… We’re putting too much at stake. Nobody thinks about anything little.”

“Finally we’re coming into a time when the context is beginning to speak back to us very knowledgeably, very loudly. We live in the world, and we’ve been pretending like we don’t. Now we’re hearing from the world.”

“To assume that all experiences like that [Deepwater Horizon] oil well, it can only be handled by experts at great expense, is a mistake I think. What we need to do is to get it to where we can have a say in it, and we can I think. If we don’t then we lose the personal ground of hope. And the next thing is we’re all going around saying things like, ‘it’s inevitable… there’s nothing you can do about it.’ I’m so tired of that word inevitable – that’s part of the vocabulary of very lazy people.”

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