Wendell Berry Quotes

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.

Wendell Berry

Poetry can be written only because it has been written.

Wendell Berry

What we do need to worry about is the possibility that we will be reduced, in the face of the enormities of our time, to silence or to mere protest.

Wendell Berry

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

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.

Wendell Berry

We are living even now among punishments and ruins.

Wendell Berry

The more local and settled a culture, the better it stays put, the less the damage. It is the foreigner whose road of excess leads to a desert a man with a machine and inadequate culture is a pestilence. He shakes more than he can hold.

Wendell Berry

An art that heals and protects its subject is a geography of scars.

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.

Wendell Berry

Individualism is going around these days in uniform, handing out the party line on individualism.

Wendell Berry

We have lived 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 that what is good for the world will be good for us. . . We must recover the sense of the majesty of the creation and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.

Wendell Berry

We haven't accepted we can't really believe that the most characteristic product of our age of scientific miracles is junk, but that is so. And we still think and behave as though we face an unspoiled continent, with thousands of acres of living space for every man. We still sing "America the Beautiful" as though we had not created in it, by strenuous effort, at great expense, and with dauntless self-praise, an unprecedented ugliness.

Wendell Berry

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 detterence, 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.

Wendell Berry

When the possessions and households of citizens are no longer honored by the acts, as well as the principles, of their government, then the concentration camp ceases to be one of the possibilities of human nature and becomes one of its likelihoods.

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 of commercial fertilizer. The genius of America farm experts is very well demonstrated here: they can take a solution and divide it neatly into two problems.

Wendell Berry

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