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Peaceableness Toward Enemies

10/16/06 | by [mail] | Categories: culture/news

The most alarming sign of the state of our society now is that our leaders have the courage to sacrifice the lives of young people in war but have not the courage to tell us that we must be less greedy and less wasteful.
--Wendell Berry, "Peaceableness Toward Enemies: Some Notes on the Gulf War, 1991

My friend Heath introduced me to Wendell Berry and for the most part I really like him. He occasionally comes across as a cranky old Luddite, but a lot of his ideas are very hard to disagree with. This essay, written after the Persian Gulf War has some observations that are still relevant today.



I am a big fan of Wendell Berry. I don’t always agree with him, but I am always a fan. He comes across bitter and cranky yet challenging and funny. He is a great writer who often writes from a perspective that you will not hear anywhere else.

Good quote…

dave [Visitor]  http://www.mindfulmission.com10/17/06 @ 13:41

Wendell Berry used to teach at the University of Kentucky (where I just finished). By all accounts of students who have met him, he is indeed a cranky old man. I need to read his essays. I have several books of his poetry but I can’t really recommend them.

[Member]  10/17/06 @ 19:13

By looking at his books, it’s apparent he’s written several. Which one do you recommend because I don’t want to get a dud.

I really like the idea of sustainability with a spiritual perspective. Pretty hard these days…

gringo [Visitor]  10/19/06 @ 13:06
[Member]  http://www.brendoman.com/10/19/06 @ 13:46

Yea…I was just going to say “Sex, Economy, Freedom, & Community.”

But “What People Are For” is good too, and pretty wide-ranging.

But I would definitely start with those two.

dave [Visitor]  http://www.mindfulmission.com10/20/06 @ 11:38

For essays, these two are fine to start with when it comes to Berry’s work. I’d say that you could also read “Life is a Miracle", or “Citizenship Papers", but my personal favorite is “Another Turn of the Crank.”
For poetry, it’s hard to do better than “Sabbaths.”
For fiction, “Fidelity” is wonderful and brief. My favorite is “Nathan Coulter” which is, I think, his most ambitious work of fiction.
Oh, I’m a cranky old man myself.

Heath [Visitor]  11/10/06 @ 17:03

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