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Top 450 Wendell Berry Quotes (2024 Update)
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Wendell Berry Quote: “We don’t need much imagination to imagine that to be free of hatred, of enmity, of the endless and hopeless effort to oppose violence with violence, would be to have life more abundantly. To be free of indifference would be to have life more abundantly. To be free of the insane rationalizations for our desire to kill one another-that surely would be to have life more abundantly.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “For agrarians, the correct response is to stand confidently on our fundamental premise, which is both democratic and ecological: the land is a gift of immeasurable value. If it is a gift, then it is a gift to all the living in all time. To withhold it from some is finally to destroy it for all. For a few powerful people to own or control it all, or decide its fate, is wrong.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Explanation changes whatever is explained into something explainable.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “The modern mind longs for the future as the medieval mind longed for Heaven. The great aim of modern life has been to improve the future – or even just to reach the future, assuming that the future will inevitably be “better.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Even old, your husband is the young man you remember now. Even dead, he is the man you remember, not as he was but as he is, alive still in your love. Death is a sort of lens, though I used to think of it as a wall or a shut door. It changes things and makes them clear. Maybe it is the truest way of knowing this dream, this brief and timeless life.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “The strangest of all the doctrines of the cult of competition, in which admittedly there must be losers as well as winners, is that the result of competition is inevitably good for everybody, that altruistic ends may be met by a system without altruistic motives or altruistic means.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “However, if we conceive of a culture as one body, which it is, we see that all of its disciplines are everybody’s business, and that the proper university product is therefore not the whittled-down, isolated mentality of expertise, but a mind competent in all its concerns.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “When there are enough people on the land to use it but not enough to husband it, then the wildness of the soil that we call fertility begins to diminish, and the soil itself begins to flee from us in water and wind.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “This is the justice that we are learning from the ecologists: you cannot damage what you are dependent upon without damaging yourself.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “One of the strongest of contemporary conventions is that of comparing to Thoreau every writer who has been as far out of the house as the mailbox.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “In solitude, we lose our loneliness.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “That one is sometimes able, among the disturbances of the present world, to wander into some good and beautiful whereabouts of the woods, grow quiet, and come to rest is a gift, a wonder, and a kind of grace.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “I see all that we have ruined in order to have, all that was owned for a lifetime to be destroyed forever. Where are the sleeps that escape such dreams?”
Wendell Berry Quote: “People who thus set their lives against destruction have necessarily confronted in themselves the absurdity that they have recognized in their society.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “For want of a Pilate of their own, some Christians would accept a Constantine or whomever might be the current incarnation of Caesar.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “A man ought to study the wilderness of a place before applying to it the ways he learned in another place.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Perhaps all the good that ever has come here has come because people prayed it into the world.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “But in its de facto alliance with Caesar, Christianity connives directly in the murder of Creation. For in these days, Caesar is no longer a mere destroyer of armies, cities, and nations. He is a contradicter of the fundamental miracle of life.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “We weren’t allowing our hopes to become expectations. Expectations are tempting, pleasant, maybe necessary. They are scary too, once you have had some experience. They are not necessarily and not always a bucket of smoke, but they can be and are even likely to be.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “As much as any of the old-timers, he regarded the Depression as not over and done with but merely absent for a while, like Halley’s comet.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “The gait most congenial to agrarian thought and sensibility is walking. It is the gait best suited to paying attention, most conservative of land and equipment, and most permissive of stopping to look or think. Machines, companies, and politicians “run”. Farmers studying their fields travel at a walk.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “For what seemed a long time Mat knelt there with his father’s dead wrist in his hand, while his mind arrived and arrived and yet arrived at that place and time and that body lying still on the soiled and bloodied stones.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Let me say and not mourn: the world lives in the death of speech and sings there.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “This massive ascendancy of corporate power over democratic process is probably the most ominous development since the end of World War II, and for the most part “the free world” seems to be regarding it as merely normal.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Tell you,” he said, “there ain’t a way in this world to know what a human creature is going to do next.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “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 Quote: “We are all to some extent the products of an exploitive society, and it would be foolish and self-defeating to pretend that we do not bear its stamp.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “After you have said “thy will be done,” what more can be said?”
Wendell Berry Quote: “He stands under them, looks up, sees, knows, and knows that he does not know.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “If the white man has inflicted the wound of racism upon black men, the cost has been that he would receive the mirror image of that wound into himself. As the master, or as a member of the dominant race, he has felt little compulsion to acknowledge or speak of it; the more painful it has grown the more deeply he has hidden it within himself. But the wound is there, and is a profound disorder, as great a damage in his mind as it is in his society.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “People use drugs, legal and illegal, because their lives are intolerably painful or dull. They hate their work and find no rest in their leisure. They are estranged from their families and their neighbors. It should tell us something that in healthy societies drug use is celebrative, convivial, and occasional, whereas among us it is lonely, shameful, and addictive. We need drugs, apparently, because we have lost each other.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Unless you absolutely have got to do it, don’t buy anything new.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “As long as we insist on relating to it strictly on our own terms-as strange to us or subject to us-the wilderness is alien, threatening, fearful.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Any abundance, in any amount, is illusory if it does not safeguard its producers.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Out of context,” as Wes Jackson has said, “the best minds do the worst damage.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Maury’s mind was practical, solidly founded on history, memory, and experience. It was in no way academic or theoretical. He did not substitute vocabulary for knowledge.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Never forget: we are alive within mysteries.” – Wendell Berry.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “When the self is ones exclusive subject and limit, reference and measure, one has no choice but to make a world of words.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Invest in the millenium.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Oversimplified moral certainties – always requiring hostility, always potentially violent – isolate us from mercy, pity, peace, and love and leave us lonely and dangerous.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “And there is no use in saying that if we can invent the nuclear bomb and fly to the moon, we can solve hunger and related problems of land use. Epic feats of engineering require only a few brilliant technicians and a lot of money. But feeding a world of people year to year for a long time requires cultures of husbandry fitted to the nature of millions of unique small places – precisely the kind of cultures that industrialism has purposely disvalued, uprooted, and destroyed.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “The way we are, we are members of each other. All of us. Everything. The difference ain’t in who is a member and who is not, but in who knows it and who don’t.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “If you can read and have more imagination than a doorknob, what need do you have for a ‘movie version’ of a novel?”
Wendell Berry Quote: “And yet in Port William, as everywhere else, it was already the second decade of the twentieth century. And in some of the people of the town and the community surrounding it, one of the characteristic diseases of the twentieth century was making its way: the suspicion that they would be greatly improved if they were someplace else.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Good farmers, who take seriously their duties as stewards of Creation and of their land’s inheritors, contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows. These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “This is the man who will be my grandfather – the man who will be the man who was my grandfather. The tenses slur and slide under the pressure of collapsed time.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “When “husbandry” becomes “science,” the lowly has been exalted and the rustic has become urbane. Purporting to increase the sophistication of the humble art of farming, this change in fact brutally oversimplifies it.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “A good community, in other words, is a good local economy.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “If conservationists will attempt to resume responsibility for their need to eat, they will be led back fairly directly to all their previous concerns for the welfare of nature.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “For the true measure of agriculture is not the sophistication of its equipment the size of its income or even the statistics of its productivity but the good health of the land.”
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