19 September 2010

Wendell Berry

Last evening we went down to hear Wendell Berry speak at Ferrum College. (Mr. Fuzzy took pictures to be posted, I hope, soon.)

Mostly he read a lovely parable set at the end of the days of using draft animals for farming but he did take a few questions at the end. One of those was about"greenwashing" and "sustainable living." His remarks were kind, humble and yet forceful. He said a lot of interesting and useful things in his short response but mostly he came back to one thing in many ways... we need to get back to living in communities where people don't move out all the time. Urban or rural, that's where it starts... knowing and relying on the people on the other side of the fence.

We were both impressed... Mr. Berry is the first person, not already a friend, that did not shatter my admiration with unwise words or actions. The statement that most impressed me was this:

"What we need is more hypocrisy."

We don't always have to say what's on our mind, to 'share', and 'be real.' Sometimes we need to just be quiet and let others live their lives and be kind, neighborly, about letting them. Imagine giving yourself permission to lie just a little to keep the bearings on the contraption we call community well greased. Learn to be a good host, a good guest, and a good neighbor. The more I think about it, the more I think he's right.

3 comments:

Lausanne said...

Lucky you two, to have an opportunity to hear Wendell Berry in person! I am delighted that you came away from his talk feeling a sense of connection with his views on community and what it means to be a good neighbor. Last winter I went on a spree of reading many of his essays and novels...all I could get my hands on in fact! I have tremendous respect for his way of looking at the many ironies of our modern life. Oh but what I would give to have an evening listening to what he has to say!

Elaine said...

A little hypocrisy goes a long way. I prefer silent resignation and maybe sometimes turning a blind eye. And perhaps a bit of compassion and acceptance. Some things just aren't worth fighting over.

Anonymous said...

daily(da'le) adj. Of,pertaining to, occuring, or published every day....