05 September 2005

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"The Berry That I Promised"

A now underlined section from a dense and overflowing essay in the Wendell Berry collection that I have been reading of late:

"Competition

By dividing body and soul, we divide both from all else. We thus condemn ourselves to a loneliness for which the only compensation is violence - against other creatures, against the earth, against ourselves. For no matter the distinctions we draw between body and soul, body and earth, ourselves and others - the connections, the dependences, the indentities remain. And so we fail to contain or control our violence. It gets loose. Though there are categories of violence, or so we think, there are no categories of victims. Violence against one is ultimately violence against all. The willingness to abuse other bodies is the willingness to abuse one's own. To damage the earth is to damage your children. To despise the ground is to despise its fruit; to despise the fruit is to despise its eaters. The wholeness of health is broken by despite. ..."

- from the essay The Body and the Earth collected in THE UNSETTLING OF AMERICA and THE ART OF THE COMMONPLACE (p102).

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