Wendell Berry Quotes
1. Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.
2. Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.
3. Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.
4. Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy.
5. You can best serve civilization by being against what usually passes for it.
6. Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.
7. It may be that when we no longer know which way to go that we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.
8. Be joyful because it is humanly possible.
9. A corporation, essentially, is a pile of money to which a number of persons have sold their moral allegiance.
10. Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery.
11. The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.
12. I don’t believe that grief passes away. It has its time and place forever. More time is added to it; it becomes a story within a story. But grief and griever alike endure.
13. There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.
14. What I stand for is what I stand on.
15. And we pray, not for new earth or heaven, but to be quiet in heart, and in eye clear. What we need is here.
16. Let us have the candor to acknowledge that what we call “the economy” or “the free market” is less and less distinguishable from warfare.
17. Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.
18. Eating is an agricultural act.
19. There comes . . . a longing never to travel again except on foot.
20. One of the most important resources that a garden makes available for use, is the gardener’s own body. A garden gives the body the dignity of working in its own support. It is a way of rejoining the human race.
21. If you don’t know where you’re from, you’ll have a hard time saying where you’re going.
22. When going back makes sense, you are going ahead.
23. the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.
24. If you can read and have more imagination than a doorknob, what need do you have for a ‘movie version’ of a novel?
25. I have always loved a window, especially an open one.
26. Young lovers see a vision of the world redeemed by love. That is the truest thing they ever see, for without it life is death.
27. I could die in peace, I think, if the world was beautiful. To know it’s being ruined is hard.
28. Some nights in the midst of this loneliness I swung among the scattered stars at the end of the thin thread of faith alone.
29. After a while, though the grief did not go away from us, it grew quiet. What had seemed a storm wailing through the entire darkness seemed to come in at last and lie down.
30. The freedom of affluence opposes and contradicts the freedom of community life.
31. It is easy for me to imagine that the next great division of the world will be between people who wish to live as creatures and people who wish to live as machines.
32. If the devil doesn’t exist… how do you explain that some people are a lot worse than they’re smart enough to be?
33. Perhaps all the good that ever has come here has come because people prayed it into the world.
34. People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.
35. Some of the best things I have ever thought of I have thought of during bad sermons.
36. The Christian gospel is a summons to peace, calling for justice beyond anger, mercy beyond justice, forgiveness beyond mercy, love beyond forgiveness.
37. It is certain, I think, that the best government is the one that governs the least. But there is a much-neglected corollary: the best citizen is the one who least needs governing.
38. Battle with unconditioned breath the unconditioned air. Shun electric wire. Communicate slowly. Live a three-dimensional life; stay away from screens.
39. The promoters of the global economy…see nothing odd or difficult about unlimited economic growth or unlimited consumption in a limited world.
40. Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one’s own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.
41. There are moments when the heart is generous, and then it knows that for better or worse our lives are woven together here, one with one another and with the place and all the living things.
42. The past is our definition. We may strive with good reason to escape it or to escape what is bad in it but we will escape it only by adding something better to it.
43. The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass.
44. What can’t be helped must be endured.
45. What could be more superstitious than the idea that money brings forth food?
46. The mercy of the world is time. Time does not stop for love, but it does not stop for death and grief, either.
47. The mercy of the world is you don’t know what’s going to happen.
48. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.
49. The shoddy work of despair, the pointless work of pride, equally betray Creation. They are wastes of life.
50. Again I resume the long lesson: how small a thing can be pleasing, how little in this hard world it takes to satisfy the mind and bring it to its rest.
51. A man with a machine and inadequate culture is a pestilence.
52. He never complained. He seemed to have no instinct for the making much of oneself that complaining requires.
53. The music, while it lasted, brought a new world into being.
54. Charity even for one person does not make sense except in terms of an effort to love all Creation in response to the Creator’s love for it.
55. You don’t need to be told some things. You can sometimes tell more by a man’s silence and the set of his head than by what he says.
56. Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed.
57. To love anything good, at any cost, is a bargain.
58. It is impossible to prefigure the salvation of the world in the same language by which the world has been dismembered and defaced.
59. If we do not live where we work and when we work we are wasting our lives and our work too.
60. 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.