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Top 450 Wendell Berry Quotes (2024 Update)
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Wendell Berry Quote: “His home is the emblem of his status, but it is not the center of his interest or of his consciousness. The history of our time has been to a considerable extent the movement of the center of consciousness away from home.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “I’d had the idea, once, that if I could get the chance before I died I would read all the good books there were. Now I began to see that I wasn’t apt to make it. This disappointed me, for I really wanted to read them all.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Young lovers see a vision of the world redeemed by love.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Our present agriculture, in general, is not ecologically sustainable now, and it is a long way from becoming so. It is too toxic. It is too dependent on fossil fuels. It is too wasteful of soil, of soil fertility, and of water. It is destructive of the health of the natural systems that surround and support our economic life. And it is destructive of genetic diversity, both domestic and wild. So.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “The walls of the rational, empirical world are famously porous. What come through are dreams, imaginings, inspirations, visions, revelations. There is no use in stooping over these with a magnifying lens.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “In time, against conscience and even will, my grief for him began to include grief for myself. Sometimes I would get the feeling that I was going to waste. It was my life calling me to itself. It was the light that shines in darkness calling me back into time.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “To feel at home in a place, you have to have some prospect of staying there.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “We have bought unconditionally the economists’ line that competition and innovation would solve all problems, and that we would finally accomplish a technological end-run around biological reality and the human condition.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “This is the story of my life, that while I lived it weighed upon me and pressed against me and filled all my senses to overflowing and now is like a dream dreamed.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Why should anybody wait to do what is right until everybody does it? It is not ‘significant’ to love your own children or to eat your own dinner, either. But normal humans will not wait to love or eat until it is mandated by an act of Congress.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “She thought the human condition was a calculated insult to her personally, the fault of certain people in particular. If she wasn’t the president of the United States, or Mrs. Rockefeller, or at least happy, it was somebody else’s fault, not hers. Her stinger was always out.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “A computer destroys the sense of historical succession, just as do other forms of mechanization... Certain farms contain hospitably the remnants and reminders of the forest or prairie that preceded them. It is possible even for towns and cities to remember farms and forests or prairies. All good human work remembers its history.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “The beauty that I am speaking of now was that of a woman who has come into knowledge and strength and who, knowing her hardships, trusts her strength and goes about her work even with a kind of happiness, serene somehow and secure.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Maybe the world is waiting for you to give yourself to it. Maybe it’s only then that things can work themselves out.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “But do the Lords of War in fact hate the world? That would be easy to bear, if so. If they hated their children and the flowers that grow in the warming light, that would be easy to bear. For then we could hate the haters and be right. What is hard is to imagine the Lords of War may love the things that they destroy.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Grandpa’s farm had belonged to our people ever since there had been a farm in that place, or people to own a farm. Grandpa’s father had left it to Grandpa and his other sons and daughters. But Grandpa had borrowed money and bought their shares. He had to have it whole hog or none, root hog or die, or he wouldn’t have it at all.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “I know by now that the love of ghosts is not expectant, and I am coming to that. This Virgie of mine, this new found “Virge,” is the last care of my life, and I know the ignorance I must cherish him in. I must care for him as I care for a wildflower or a singing bird, no terms, no expectation, as finally I care for Port William and the ones who have been here with me. I want to leave here openhanded, with only the ancient blessing, ‘Good-bye. My love to you all.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “I go free from the tasks and intentions of my workdays, and so my mind becomes hospitable to unintended thoughts: to what I am very willing to call inspiration.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “All women is brothers,′ Burley Coulter used to say, and then look at you with a dead sober look as if he didn’t know why you thought that was funny. But, as usual, he was telling the truth. Or part of it.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “We cannot think about the future, of course, for the future does not exist: the existence of the future is an article of faith... We do not need to plan or devise a ‘word of the future’; if we take care of the world of the present, the future will have received full justice from us.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “A lifetime’s knowledge shimmers on the face of the land in the mind of a person who knows. The history of a place is the mind of an old man or an old woman who knows it.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Books were a dependable pleasure. I read more then than I ever was able to read again until now when I am too old to work much and am mostly alone.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “When you have gone too far, as I think he did, the only mending is to come home.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Why should anybody wait to do what is right until everybody does it?”
Wendell Berry Quote: “The first principle of the exploitive mind is to divide and conquer. And surely there has never been a people more ominously and painfully divided than we are – both against each other and within ourselves. Once the revolution of exploitation is under way, statesmanship and craftsmanship are gradually replaced by salesmanship. Its stock in trade in politics is to sell despotism and avarice as freedom and democracy.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Faith puts you out on a wide river in a little boat, in the fog, in the dark.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “I have, to fill my mind and occupy my hands, the daily rounds of my economy. I have food to harvest and preserve in the summer and fall, firewood to gather and saw up and split in the fall and winter, the garden to prepare and plant in the spring. I have clothes and bedclothes to wash, and myself to keep clean and presentable. I have the endless little jobs of housekeeping and repair... I have books to read, and much to sit and watch.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Then their quarrels, as he knew or would know sooner or later in the course of them, were about duality: They were two longing to be one, or one dividing relentlessly into two.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “I am not an optimist; I am afraid that I won’t live long enough to escape my bondage to the machines.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “We younger ones began to see that we knew things that never had not been known.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Therefore, be patient. Such pleasure as there is, is here, now. Take pleasure as it comes. Take work as it comes. The end may never come, or when it does it may be the wrong end.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “An infinitely greedy sovereign is afoot in the universe, staking his claims.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “For too long the ideal role of the individual in our society – the role the talented young have aspired to almost by convention – has been that of the specialist. It has surely become as plain as it needs to be that what we need most now are not the specialists with their narrowed vision and short-range justifications, but men of sympathy and imagination and free intelligence who can recognize and hold themselves answerable to the complex responsibilities of a man’s life in the world.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “We long ago gave up the wish to have things that were adequate or even excellent; we have preferred instead to have things that were up-to-date.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “The big idea of education, from first to last, is the idea of a better place. Not a better place where you are, because you want it to be better and have been to school and learned to make it better, but a better place somewhere else. In order to move up, you have got to move on.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “But the safe competence of human work extends no further, ever, than our ability to think and love at the same time.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “We need to confront honestly the issue of scale. Bigness has a charm and a drama that are seductive, especially to politicians and financiers; but bigness promotes greed, indifference, and damage, and often bigness is not necessary. You may need a large corporation to run an airline or to manufacture cars, but you don’t need a large corporation to raise a chicken or a hog. You don’t need a large corporation to process local food or local timber and market it locally.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Some days, sitting here on my porch over the river, my memory seems to enclose me entirely; I wander back in my reckoning among all of my own that have lived and died until I no longer remember where I am. And then I lift my head and look about me at the river and the valley, the great, unearned beauty of this place, and I feel the memoryless joy of a man just risen from the grave.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “There are only two reasons to farm: because you have to, and because you love to. The ones who choose to farm choose for love.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “The survivors of the old life come to pay their respects. The neighbors, old and young, come. People who have moved away, maybe a long time ago, come back. You see people you knew when you were young and now don’t recognize, people who may never come back again, people you may never see again. We feel the old fabric torn, pulling apart, and we know how much we have loved each other.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “The only time Tol’s clothes looked good was before he put them on.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “The hill is like an old woman, all her human obligations met, who sits at work day after day, in a kind of rapt leisure, at an intricate embroidery. She has time for all things. Because she does not expect ever to be finished, she is endlessly patient with details. She perfects flower and leaf, feather and song, adorning the briefest life in great beauty as though it were meant to last forever.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “That grief should come and bring joy with it was not something I felt able, or even called upon, to sort out or understand. I accepted the grief. I accepted the joy. I accepted that they came to me out of the same world.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “She mourns for the future, as the past has taught her. And yet there is a rejoicing in her, persistent and unbidden as the beating of her heart.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “It was a pretty place, its prettiness not so much made as allowed. It was a place of work, but a place too of order and rest, where work was done in a condition of acknowledged blessedness and of gratitude.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Without propriety of scale, and the acceptance of limits which that implies, there can be no form – and here we reunite science and art.”
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