Ardent Eden

Ardent Eden is a place to explore my thoughts about the interdependence of life - humanity and nature - and to engage with others for collective problem-solving.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Good Questions

Leave it to Wendell Berry to gently lead us through the questions that we should all ask on a regular basis. From this interview:

HB: What are some things we can do—small things, perhaps—until we actually make a commitment on a broader scale, to initiate husbandry (whose trajectory will be felt globally) to ourselves, our families and our communities?

WB: I think this starts with an attempt at criticism of one’s own economy, which may be the same thing as good accounting. What are the things that one buys? How necessary or useful are they? What is their quality? Are they well grown or well made? What is their real cost to their producers and to the ecosystems in which they were produced? Almost inevitably when one asks these questions, one discovers that they are extremely difficult and sometimes impossible to answer. That frequently is because the things we buy have been produced so far away as to make impossible any stewardly interest on the part of the consumer. And this recognition leads to an even better question: How can these mysterious products brought here from so far away be replaced by products that have been produced near home? And that question, of course, leads to all manner of thoughts and questions about the possibility of a better, more self-sufficient local economy. What can we neighbors do for one another and for our place? What can our place do for us without damage to us or to it?

HB: Is it possible to reshape our thinking in baby steps or must we make sweeping changes?

WB: Oh, let’s be against sweeping changes and in favor of doing things in small steps. Let’s not discourage ourselves by trying for too much or subject ourselves to the tyranny of somebody else’s big idea.



  • At 9:56 PM, Blogger madcapmum said…

    I think that to take Berry's questions and apply them consistently constitutes a sweeping change in itself. Maddening, frustrating, and impossible to resist change if those questions crop up every time you turn around. Sometimes I wish I could just turn my head off. In the meantime, I'm trying to concentrate on a few key areas at a time and work my way outward.

    Good post.

  • At 12:44 PM, Blogger Laurie said…

    I just love Wendell Berry. He hits the nail right on the head.

  • At 1:41 PM, Blogger spiral said…

    I love this post, especially as I have a hard time with agendas that seem too sweeping, judging, or monolithic in scope. Bravo.


Post a Comment

<< Home