The weakness of the industrial economy is clearly revealed when it imposes its terms upon agriculture, for its terms cannot define those natural principles that are most vital to the life and longevity of farms. Even if the industrial economists could afford to do so, they could not describe the dependence of agriculture upon nature. If asked to consider the lilies of the field or told that the wheat is resurrected out of its graves, the agricultural industrialist would reply that “my engineer’s mind inclines less toward the poetic and philosophical, and more toward the practical and possible,” unable even to suspect that such a division of mind induces blindness to possibilities of the utmost practical concern.

Wendell Berry
From “Two Economies” (1988)


4 comments on “Blindness

  1. MaryQuiContrary says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. We are in such desperate need of more Wendell Berrys (Berries?) in this crazy, mixed-up, messed-up, insane world. His is the voice of calm and reason and logic and good old-fashioned horse sense that speaks from a poet’s battered but worshipful heart. I wish his poetry and essays were required reading in all high schools and universities. I’ll be searching through my extensive collection of his essays for “Two Economies” so that I can re-read it in its entirety…….thanks for the appetizer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      I agree of course. Every time I read Wendell Berry I wonder why I ever read anything else. I’ve never had any writer in any genre resonate with me the way he does.

      I read the essay in his collection What Matters? Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth. The opening essay “Money versus Goods” is one of his best.


  2. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, Wendell makes my simple mind spin but if I really concentrate I can figure out what he is saying. So if I’m hearing Wendell correctly, he’s saying that industrial economic side of farming has been disconnected from the nature side of farming. Therefore the result is the food situation we have today. Your blog some times really makes me think. It’s good for an old mind to dust off some of those old unused sinapes on occasion and get them fired up again.

    Have a great day in the garden.


    • Bill says:

      Mr. Berry’s writing always seems to be good nourishment for my brain too. 🙂 I resist the urge to post snippets from him more often. I could easily turn this into a blog with nothing but Wendell Berry quotes and baby goat pictures.


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