Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. – Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Wendell Berry - Essays on Thinking Green - Session 1 of 4


Amazon Link


"Here is a human being speaking with calm and sanity out of the wilderness. We would do well to hear him." —The Washington Post Book World

The Art of the Commonplace gathers twenty essays by Wendell Berry that offer an agrarian alternative to our dominant urban culture. Grouped around five themes—an agrarian critique of culture, agrarian fundamentals, agrarian economics, agrarian religion, and geobiography—these essays promote a clearly defined and compelling vision important to all people dissatisfied with the stress, anxiety, disease, and destructiveness of contemporary American culture.

Why is agriculture becoming culturally irrelevant, and at what cost? What are the forces of social disintegration and how might they be reversed? How might men and women live together in ways that benefit both? And, how does the corporate takeover of social institutions and economic practices contribute to the destruction of human and natural environments?

Through his staunch support of local economies, his defense of farming communities, and his call for family integrity, Berry emerges as the champion of responsibilities and priorities that serve the health, vitality and happiness of the whole community of creation.



The Seer: A Portrait of Wendell Berry - Movie Clip
May 25, 2016




Wendell Berry Reads A Poem on Hope
Oct 3, 2013




* * * * * * * * *


  • Week 1 - 9/9: "A Native Hill," "The Unsettling of America," "Feminism, the Body, and the Machine," "Think Little"
  • Week 2 - 9/16: "The Body and the Earth," "Men and Women in Search of Common Ground," "Health is Membership," "People, Land, and Community" 
  • Week 3 - 9/23: "Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community," "Conservation and Local Economy," "Economy and Pleasure," "Two Economies," "The Whole Horse" 
  • Week 4 - 9/30: "The Idea of a Local Economy," "Solving for Pattern," "The Gift of the Good Land," "Christianity and the Survival of Creation," "The Pleasures of Eating"

* * * * * * * * *



Professor Michael Stevens, Ph.D



SESSION 1

WENDELL BERRY'S AGRARIAN ESSAYS
by Michael Stevens


Course: #12-The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry, with Michael Stevens, 

Professor Stevens will discuss this week the following:

Week 1 - 9/9: "A Native Hill," "The Unsettling of America," "Feminism, the Body, and the Machine," "Think Little"


* * * * * * * * *



















* * * * * * * * *


If any reader wishes to help me by editing the transcription below so that it may be
fitted into-and-around the graphics above it would be appreciated. Once done please 
email me with your work so that it may be published and replace what I have here
transcribed by actual lecture without edit. Thank you. - re slater


TRANSCRIPTION
by Michael Stevens
September 9, 2021

1.1

Unknown 0:00
Thank you everybody for coming to this, I'm not sure if I should look at the screen or at everybody, or there's many screens to look at here, this is kind of like a 12 year old kids dream dream room right if you had like video games hooked up and so on but then there is an irony that was brought up right away that we're talking about, you know what, one of the source texts are one of the essays here was his essay Why Why I'm not going to own a computer but we'll talk about that a little bit. And I even make mention of that because I know we'd be on computers talking about this and especially for online guests. I think Wendell might give a little space of like a thumbs up that we're able to talk about these things meaningfully across boundaries using a computer at this, at least I'm assuming I'm not going to ask him personally, I'm just going to make that assumption. So it's really great to be back with the call program I really love doing it, so far for me it's been all Wendell Berry since I started doing call, so I was able to do Windows fiction, teaching through a set of a short stories, a couple of autumns ago. And then this summer, got involved over Zoom, zoom with Wendell Berry's poetry, which was great. Also, I think I was sitting in my basement hiding out at that time so it's good to be here. And it's great to have people coming in on line, it's great to see people in person. And so, here we go to one of the various essays, I think I made mentioned, we, my colleague Matt Bonzo and I teach together at Cornerstone for 25 years. We wrote a book about Wendell Berry that was published in 2008 from the precise stress paper publishing, which was one of our in the cultivation of life we had a totally different title, and then the publishing the publisher. One thing I found out was, you don't get to pick your title, or your cover and the publisher said we're putting Wendell Berry's name in the very beginning of the title, your names are not really that powerful, his address. Okay, that's what everyone that one of the things we've done a little book tour out to Pennsylvania and so whatever a book tour might be a very small book tour, and we were often asked, Well where would you start reading the various words in it. We found ourselves often saying, Go to the fiction or to the poetry because if you go to the essays, he might seem really grouchy, right and he might You might catch him in a tone or in a mood or on a topic, where he'll step on your toes right. Not that that doesn't happen at times in the verse, as we found out, we're in the fiction, but it's certainly, you know, and that's maybe the nature of genre study that to go to kind of a fictional universe or go to a poetic sort of sensibility is a lot different than going to an argument. But these essays or arguments, and there's, there's no way. There's no way around that and but I think they share, like all of his other writing the lyrical nature, the command of language. And really, what comes through here is the tremendous lucid mind of this, this man, I've got to meet him several times and spend time with him and sit and talk with him. He reminds me if you ever had a grumpy grandpa farmer who's kind of grumpy you kind of scared of him like a grandpa farmer who works really hard, who's also the most well read, and intellectually sharp person that you know, combined in one person, very intimidated to talk with him, and I'm a grown up and I'm still kind of like oh, and then there's a little bit of odd in that. But, so this is going to, we're going to we're going to see him in argument mode, that was a charitable argument. I will always make that I always make that claim he argues charitably. And he's, he's, logical, without becoming an rationalist, I think, and so let's see if we can start to sort that out as we go through these essays and we picked a very deliberate set of essays. So, we get him in a certain vein of mind about the agrarian issues right which is very close to his heart. I just had something I wrote out here that we say the books of essays, but these actually had a lot of different forums, many of the things we're going to read were either speeches, or magazine articles, I made mentioned here, love, and dilemma good house which is ultimately good house which is where native Hill comes from the first one we're going to talk about 1969, for purposes of disclosure that was here I was born. So I'm just, I always think what was wonderful during the year I was born, he was already fully fledged in this a couple of the things in that book are actually speeches he gave at University of Kentucky, against the war in Vietnam, and in defense of a guy who had protested being drafted. So there were some speeches in there. There were magazine articles there. He has written for a number of magazines, some of my favorite are he's written for Rodale is Organic Gardening magazine imagine picking that up in the 70s and there's a Winterberry article in there like an organic gardening. He's written for draft horse quarterly that's probably the best, you know, and he's for years as farmed with draft horses.

Unknown 4:55
I'm not sure whoever subscribes to draft horse quarterly really knows what they're getting into opening up to one of his, you know, I'm not sure I'm not sure how many people subscribe to but that's a tremendous thing also Orion, a couple magazines of the Sierra Club. So the reviews and literary magazines, the whole earth catalog, showing some of his roots and what I would call I grew up in around Ithaca, New York, I recall it sort of 70s early kind of hippie organic culture at the food Co Op there, many people kind of early dreadlocks and people who are in the Old Earth and I always think of my neighbor lady, Sally spearmint, everything in their house when you go in there to visit kids was like, to me, like a 12 gross things I'd never want to eat now. I wish that was my whole everything in my kitchen is like organic things sprouted things. Probably primitive kombucha and so I was just like, where's the hotdogs, pop in there no hot dogs in this house, you know, now I'm just like, what, why didn't I take advantage of that. So in the end so that throughout the 70s It's a lot of magazine articles very very desilter and diverse. And he's arguing things as they arise and as they come up. And then in the 80s and 90s he continues that pattern and I give it a give the names of some of the volumes of essays you can get your hands on. We're just going to have a sampler in this course. So, in the 70s, a continuous harmony, essays, cultural and agricultural and then really his, his most signature volume that kind of launched him as a public figure and really articulated the environmental movement which was the Unsettling of America, which again, he calls, culture and agriculture, he likes to play those two against each other with each other. That's from 1977 that's been reissued. And those essays. Continue and we're going to look at a few from that volume continue to just be like holy cow this is still more relevant than ever and that was someone do the math, 20 to 45 years ago 45 years ago. It isn't 90s Same kind of pattern. Gift of the good land which is a volume I really like again further essays cultural and agricultural and then home economics 14 essays which is a volume of us teaching in my undergraduate classes from time to time, a teaching undergrads, their short essays, not that long until the America is really long essays they're short essays, but they're also essays that are kind of engaging and intriguing to young people, I've often told Wendell Berry. Do you know that there's a lot of 20 year olds who read your writing and are just like stunned and shaken by that. And he's like, I'm glad somebody who's listening right so and so, kind of a sort of lost touch of my talk, but that's okay we can keep on truckin. So, and then a volume I'm actually using in my senior capstone class for Humanities, this semester, which I really love from 1998 is called, what are people for, I think I fell in love with it just because the title. Were people for question mark. It's like plus they had really great cover of some paintings of store I can remember the store courier whoever it was now that change it to a different cover and it's like not as engaging to me. So yeah, I've kind of lost my PowerPoint, so I'm not sure if not fully sure where I where I am if I if I advance it. I don't know if you can restore that and one of the slots on there. And we'll, we'll keep on going. That's happened before. Okay, let's

Unknown 8:13
go back to the up arrow because everybody was like, Yeah, you're gonna go to the up arrow here. I'm not sure you can hear me, which is fine, I might have to bring questions to you go back here to that, up arrow always aim hit your presentation, and it should pop right back up over you awesome,

Unknown 8:29
but I'll be okay Thanks sister. I need to I need. We got to make sure she's close by, that's, that's a key element right here. So let me keep going this is just kind of introductory. The new millennium changed things and especially the coming of 911 and Windows 10 really changed. It's changed over the last 20 years it's interesting that we're coming right to that moment here this week. Actually, my father in law's in New York City fireman for 35 years, matter 42 in the Bronx, he was toward the end of his career when 911 happened I still always talking on the phone the other days, there were time that this this anniversary especially he's just, I don't even want to be down in the city I don't want to go down there again, can't deal with it so and he's living in upstate New York now. So, he had just written a book in 2000 called Life is a miracle an essay against modern superstition, which is actually one of the first ones very books I ever saw. So I didn't know about him and mica, you know, and until like end of graduate school into my teaching career. And it's it's a tremendous, obviously that might not have King Lear that spoken. I think by Gloucester when he thinks he jumped off a cliff, but he didn't he just fell down in the field and then he gets up, and it's, it's a great it's a book length essay. But then what happens is 911 happens and then Wendell begins to write about what's happening culturally in a much sharper tone right everything kind of sharpens I think I was just reading something where somebody said, is I didn't remember the world. Yeah, the world of the 90s when it was like things were kind of different melts, it's hard to remember a different tone than the world we live in. So he wrote in the presence of fear three essays for a changed world right at the end of 2001. He brought up these essays he'd written really quickly that are actually very great moving and very. I don't know. You got a feeling. He also feels the banks that the rest of us feels right but wants to figure out how to how to navigate it based on this long backstory of his understanding of the world and it was really helpful. And then there's a full volume that's actually called citizenship papers from 2003, and then I think one that I've also used with students of volume called The Way of ignorance and other essays 2005, and they're more. The tone is a little sharper edge a little dark, you know, we're dealing with things that the dysfunction within our own culture has become even more apparent in the world at large and I think that he, you know, it's not that they're worse essays, they're all quite, quite good but you, you definitely feel the clouds above those essays. And that has carried through some of his later essays now what matters economics for renewed Commonwealth, and then his, his Jefferson Lecture he gave in 2012, he got the award from National Dog for Humanities, called it all turns on affection. He's put that together with some other essays and their, their, their critiques, there they are. They're a little bit beleaguered, I guess would be the tone, you know there's a weariness to that time. Plus he's already into his late 70s and 80s and saying you know what, what, what has changed in all my time of doing this, then you can look at some of his more recent, recent volumes of essays and give you kind of that same same flavor. We're gonna read a set that actually comes at a weird moment. Norman Where's Bo who taught for years at Georgetown College of Kentucky. By the way, that's where Wendell Berry's permanent papers and archive is set, it was at University of Kentucky where he taught for a long time, and also attended. But after I believe it was after they put together like a $17 million dollar new basketball arena, he just became frustrated. If you're a university Kentucky basketball fan, sorry about that that doesn't. And so he said forget it in a small liberal arts college right Georgetown Kentucky Northwest but it was a guy who taught there for years, the guy who was the editor of the volume were meaning put together these agrarian essays and numbers but actually I came and saw him here in Calvin he was established through here at Calvin maybe 1015 years ago, and he now teaches at Duke Divinity School, and I like the tone because it's wonderful. It's the nexus of agriculture and culture that is kind of his interesting thing right, it's, it's being a writer and a farmer, it's talking about the land and the people who dwell in the land right and so the agrarian essays kind of hone in on that. So all the essays, we're going to look at were written prior to 2002 Actually, the volume was already put together before 911 happened, published in 2002. So we're looking at window of the old world the old Millennium if you will, and it'd be interesting to maybe kind of I'm not I'm not like trolling for another call class to look at another set of his more recent essays of the last 20 years and the different tone but yeah so I, I'm, I'm, I'm happy with this selection because it's a variety of essays, but they're linked closely enough, around, look when you say culture and agriculture you can you can stretch that pretty widely, the range of these essays goes pretty widely, you know, as we're reading them we're like oh it's kind of it's in the same topic but kind of going over here and going over here, so it's just enough to kind of enough critical mass to hold it together. So we're going to get into the first four of them.

Unknown 13:33
For our class today and see if I can advance I'm not sure if I'm supposed to push this sideways. You can see that the coming of coming of Microsoft Teams and so on, struck many of the older faculty members everywhere with great trepidation and it has not left me. Okay, has not left me. It stays with me at all times when I'm in the classroom. Thankfully you can have students crying out to you what to do okay do this sometimes contrary contrary information. So it's kind of an uphill, it's it's really the lead essay in that first volume that he collected which is long legged house the lonely good house by the way, is the shack, like the shaft. It's a little house on stilts that he has on his property right beside the Kentucky River that he has written, everything is written in that little building over the course of the last 55 years. It has no electricity and no plumbing there's a little house next to it, and he stops writing when it gets dark. So it's full of windows and there's some window poems that you could read where the wind that he talks at length about being in that room, you can find pictures of him wearing his coveralls from his day farming in their writing and he always writes with a pencil and a yellow legal pad, which is going to be a source of some controversy when we get to one of these essays has been a little thing for that so I was gonna mention lanes landing farm where you can write to you can write to him and he responds here, right, right here and over at Carter letter I sent him a birthday card. Once in a while. Every last few years, and it's like PO Box One Port Royal. So he got the first one I guess there's not a lot of competition because he and his family decided to move up to the pond but I just actually taught before I drove up here, drove down the BeltLine, I just taught in my American Lit class from Walden out by the cornerstone pond at a sufficient distance, not to get too close because you don't have to get close to any campus pond. Right, it's not Walden Pond where you could see 10 feet down into the Clearwater that's not the nature of our campus pond by any means. I don't think any campus pond is that way. But we were close enough there. My only problem was getting back up off the ground after sitting there with students for like an hour and 15 minutes and I needed some help to, but with Thoreau famously moved out to his not yet completed Kevin on July 4 1845 I was interested in Windows, moved with his family, exactly 120 years later, away from Lexington out to what would, what had been their weekend retreat and now it was going to be their permanent dwelling which was this farm so clearly he had that in mind, he's a great, great fan of Thoreau's work, and he's been working from that farm in that place ever since. So when he talks about a native Hill, he's talking particularly about this little piece of 111 acres there along the Kentucky River in Henry County. He, it's become part of him or he's become part of it, it's not clear which right that's, that's kind of what rootedness has done for him. I'm just going to toss out a couple of quotes, this is kind of going to kind of do at this time and just see what grabs somebody's interest or somebody is like, oh wait a minute here what Yeah, or I thought that one as well or underline that as well. These are the ones that struck me. By no means the only important lines in the thing, but I try to keep the kind of quotes that would carry the themes through each of the essays. The first thing that struck me in native Hill is this my own life is inseparable from the history of the place. It is a complex inheritance and I have been both enriched and bewildered by it. Interestingly, the bewilderment has many more interesting than the enrichment to me and he actually has addressed that if you ever get a chance to read his book from 1970 called the hidden wound, called by Alan Wolf at Yale, the greatest book by a white American about racism, it's about it's about his grandparents who were slave, great grandparents who own slaves on the same property, and what it means to work land that was once worked by slaves, and your ancestors and now is worked by you and what, and it's a, it's a tremendous he actually,

Unknown 17:38
when he was at U of Kentucky, he took a semester like a sabbatical out at Stanford, where he had actually gone to graduate school to study, writing with Wallace Stegner years before, and he just said he sat in the library and he just worked on that book and just wrote every day. That book it was like the thing he had to write about. You know what 5050 years before. This has become an issue again in our culture, he was, he was addressing I've often pointing people towards that book to start thinking about issues of race in America it's, it's tremendous. That's the bewildering part, but the enriching part was also like to be somebody who's given your whole adult life to a place and reap the benefits of that and lived in relationship to that, I think that's what he's after a couple of other quotes just to get it rolling. I noticed how the his place helps him resist abstraction like let's talk about environmentalism or whatever, he can't talk about that without talking about his farm right when I have thought of the welfare of the earth. The problems of its health and preservation, the care of its life. I have had this place before me, you know, so like accident. I can't remember think locally or globally. Think globally, act locally I think is I've totally messed up that bumper sticker, okay, maybe there's both bumper stickers at this point, I can't think about issues of the demise of the world without thinking about what's happening right where my feet are standing where my house is right, right, where this field is right up behind here, right where we have get get our food get our nourishment. And it struck me that that was a that was a profound thing you notice these going to lament in many cases, we've lost touch with place place could be any place, or no place, and then maybe how well can we think about these broader issues when they have no actual tangible bearing but are only abstractions, I was kind of struck by that necessity of being locked in, located somewhere to be able to make, make a statement that has that has some kind of meaning about the broadest sort of philosophical quarrels and questions. A couple of other quotes from this. You guys probably read a lot here when he was at NYU and told the professor. This is how it works with with people from New York City, right, I'm going to Kentucky you're going where you're doing work that you know it's like we're talking about, why don't you ever do that right but why would you go pee on the border of New Jersey. And I've often thought the people that sitting out kind of maligning my wife's family who are city dwellers in New York City. I'm from upstate, the country a country bumpkin. That there's a certain. They claim the rest of the country is very parochial but there's a certain parochialism in New York City, some people don't leave their neighborhoods, very often. Don't leave Queens once every, you know, six months or something. Never get off Long Island, haven't actually been to the mainland again right, and you're just like well that's, I mean, so what do you really know about Iowa. I know you know it exists right maybe but. So, the professor said something really interesting and the way Wendell took it, you know, in the way you phrase it is striking, where the guy is like you go there and you're nobody who matters will know you know where you are, meaning no urban intellectual no urban East Coast intellectual will will know about your work. So you won't matter anymore. So to go to the hinterland is to basically abandon mattering. Which is an interesting kind of take on things in common, we're all, there's probably for all of us someplace else, even from Grand Rapids that seems like a crazy move, I'm going to the up I'm just taking off. I'm leaving it all behind for the Porcupine Mountains. Okay. Are you sure you want to do that. For one thing they're Packer fans up there. Okay. Somewhere you cross the line and elegant vertical lines you can kind of understand why. Okay, get ready for lions Pro, but you're in the Central Time Zone over there as well it really still in Michigan, but it's also like there's always someplace from here that just seems like you've just gone off the map you've no one was no one's gonna care, no one's gonna hear from you anymore. You're gonna lose your relevance and so he got that. But the irony is that he really found everything he was looking for, only when he returned to that place. You take a look at this, of final quote from page seven my language after he got back home and especially when he got that farm, my language, increased and strengthened imagine how the New York intellectual would feel about that. Yeah, that can my rural Kentucky, my language increased in strength. What are you talking about your labor is gonna be destroyed, right, not just the drawl but just country language right no is better. It had a place of purpose. It set my set my mind into the place like a live roof system. I love that. I came to see myself is growing out of the earth like the other native animals and plants like I'm as much part of this as the hickory tree over there and my roots are down here, just like the crop that I just put down in these sheep that I have over here.

Unknown 22:27
So there's a, there's a counter counter cultural obviously countercultural move at work. This is the system again writing. Just after he really moved back to that farm. Just after he actually makes very clear member of sat with a group of people chatting with Wendell, and he was like, I didn't retire from the university I quit. Just remember that not retire, I quit this but you know it's like okay, most of us were like university teachers by the way, certainly, you know that it's I'm, you know, I, it was me making the break from that for this right you know it's very tough to get fired and I didn't retire. Okay, so you can see the little bit of the move the move is you have to kind of swim against the current culturally, this is a guy who we, we talked about him in the other one of various sessions, if you're from rural Kentucky, granted his dad was a lawyer right grandparents are both farmers on both sides, but his dad was a lawyer if you ever in the fiction that's Wheeler Catlett right that's his dad, John Barry. His dad was a lawyer, he lived in town, but lived on the farms in the summer and on weekends, got sent away to a military High School at one point I think he was kind of like a problem he says I was a problem student I don't know if it's one of those things where you get, they took you out of the school, let's say you went to military school to whatever, and he wrote, you know, he learned he said there I learned how to rebel. Okay. He went to the University of Kentucky but then you went to Stanford during this amazing program, the creative writing program that Wallace Stegner began right around the time that the Iowa Writers Workshop began I mean this, there was no such thing as a creative writing program and the you studied while sticking with him there was Larry McMurtry the Texan of Lonesome Dove, and the Comanche, the Comanche and Texas Ranger novels, and Ken kz of one from the Cuckoo's Nest, then the acid Kool Aid test and taking LSD and driving across the country. He visited windows for many times by the way, kPZ, even though they're from pretty different also studying there was Ernest Gaines who has been here at Calvin for the festival faith and writing the African American writer who wrote a lesson before dying a tremendous unbelievable novel and really great movie. They're all there together in the late 50s It was like this amazing Nexus, and then he got a Guggenheim Fellowship and lived in Italy in France with his young wife came back and was teaching at NYU. You have arrived. If you're a country kid or a Kentucky kid. You've arrived if you're teaching at NYU, you just got back from Europe, you had a novel published when you're 26 years old. It's that that he felt like he had to leave behind because he felt like he wasn't rooted in that where it was a world that was just sort of drifting and kind of fabricate your own identity right, he only found it when he got back to the hardscrabble farm there. So that's countercultural I mean that's the move I mean that's kind of what he's getting at right in a lot of different ways showing. That's what reminds me of the row one of his early inspirations right, you know, that walking around New York City wherever you know the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. That's what you got to get away from. That's what he found at the farm. Yes, I think so yeah it's gonna back and forth certainly heard him

Unknown 25:33
expressing regret about time away from him or did he like, feel like that was important.

Unknown 25:42
I've heard him expressed regret about time away and later on in his life, like when he, when he traveled to Ireland to his ancestral town of kachelle, Ireland, or when he went to Peru and studied Inca farming techniques. He is like I felt this plate get in an airplane and flying far away I felt like I was just that was after he was already kind of rooted in the farm. Beforehand I think it's, I mean, I take it to be everybody's got to find their journey to the place where they belong. And in his journey, taught him that he wanted it. I think that's you know Ted he just been okay if he's going back there right after college, or not even going to come just gonna work the farm. It would have been a different wouldn't have been as cool a story for us but but I think for him he thinks it would have been a different cuz he, he knew that he wanted he'd been offered, basically everything else that he wanted, but realize what he really wanted was that. And so, I will become a writer but not in Greenwich Village, right, and in the talking with the elites, but after farming in the morning, you know, writing with my pencil and paper for like organic gardening magazine. So, choosing to kind of step out of it completely so I don't think there's regret in that regard I think he looks at it as these are the things that were told to me this is what you're supposed to do, this is what it means to go up the ladder. And I don't exactly know what is if you ever read the fiction, it you know candy caplets relationship with his dad we there is somewhat fraught and Wheeler is it demanding I don't know if his way stick with his dad was his dad's a lawyer and somebody who can figure out what you're doing and do it with your life and go and get, and I don't know if that move on, everybody has to deal with the parental expectations or then you're on the other side is the parent where I am now and your kids are growing up and so what are you doing, what, what, what's your major, or is there a major there who's this boyfriend or what's going you know so we all we all end up on that side of things and I sense there was probably some of that within his, you could, you can, You can kind of figure out what happened with Windows life because the character of Andy Kevin in the fiction is him in the things that go on with Andy Catlett seem, often to be thinly veiled experiences that he himself has had, and then Catlett goes away to become a journalist in San Francisco, comes back to the farm in one of the novels of Moses his arm in a farming accident seeming to represent what he's lost by his departure and his return or something like that and I did try not to read too much symbolism in but when somebody sets out a character that's clearly themselves you can't you can't really help it right. So, it seems that I found my way, I made my pilgrimage and found my way back to this place, this place will be my sanctuary. If you take a look. I'm going to keep on going a little bit here. This is also from this first essay native Hill. I just, I just noted up here at the top, along with his joy at returning came to bewilderment of what mankind has done in the place coming back to Kentucky he became a reader of Kentucky history, and I've read a couple of the books on Kentucky history that he talked about or mentioned, I lived in Kentucky briefly when my dad was in the army at Fort Campbell, Kentucky when I was like five or six years old. We lived off base at a bolt plantation setting, I have no idea what we were doing there. My dad has passed away I can't really ask him, I don't know why, why didn't we live on the base, I'm not. But we lived in Kentucky and listen as a Yankee, you're like, What am I doing here, what who are, who am I here and it was kind of, There's a lot of tension about that. But when he got to Kentucky he realized Kentucky exemplifies it was the first frontier right from the, from the colonists. Kentucky is the first frontier over the mountains. So, beyond the original colonies, it's the place where you could actually see the, the young republic of America, how it's going to work, and he speaks of it as, as you guys were reading along here, the early settlers of Kentucky use violence to set up their place in the world that was one of the goats. The idea was that when faced with abundance once it consume abundantly, an idea that has survived to become the basis of our present economy, remember that guys just went through and chop down every tree to build the road in burn bonfires of trees, and it's, it's kind of like

Unknown 29:49
the smorgasbord or the feast where you are the buffet where you get all these plates and half of them right you can't even eat the rest of it and you just like it's got too much there's just so much there, and you haven't gone to the dessert. Dessert place right or whatever dangerous thing that still remains there. I think Golden Corral would be the primary example of that, the dark side of whatever that consumptive nothing against that corporate Vegas but it's a scary place. We only been there once. Probably for our own health, you should visit but but briefly and rarely to that place. So it's like that but with that set the tone Kentucky settlers going in, let's cut the road through and burn away through there. Let's cut down all the trees that set up, that, that's still what runs the economy, he would suggest you just consume resources recklessly. It now we're in the age of fossil fuel. So the age of fossil fuel as you consume recklessly until it starts to run out so and then and then you sort of scramble okay what are we going to do now. So I think a lot of the things that he, a lot of the things he noticed are simply observing patterns that are the same and have been the same for several 100 years that no one's bothered to change. Right, it's a lot easier just to roll with it until cataclysm. And, and that's, that's one of Wendell Berry's in a lot of his writings, just like, this is the way things have always been well hold on a minute. Is this the way things should be. Or just the way things have always been, we can kind of feel that a little bit in here, as he suggests, it occurs to me it's no longer possible to imagine how this country looked in the beginning but for the way people drove their claws into it. What was it like everywhere in Michigan, the place got clear cut by the lumber industry, or white pine trees all over the place, especially the northern half. If you go to the Warren Woods state park down by Warren dunes, you can see the guy who preserved the Eastern hardwood forest, and was told by his neighbors, he was a lunatic. But there's like 10 acres of the old forest still remaining and it's like what is this doing here, Hickory trees and all kinds of crazy, you know, things that you didn't know, we're still around not that second growth for us is okay. I'm glad we have it, but you can even imagine. The Grand River side with Potawatomi folk in there really is it's just hard to fathom it. It's it's been changed, changed utterly if I want to quote gates right. I don't know if a terrible beauty was born either right or whatever has been born by that. So, you try, you try to restore. But your work becomes work, restorative work with both, both literally with land but also with a sense of place, you can't go back to the past, we all know that, Right, we can't, you can't just tell the rollback time but can you act restoratively and reductively going forward. I think that becomes a challenge for him on his Hill on his on his little rich, rich line set of land, he says a lot of times in that so remember how many people farmed it recklessly and eroded the entire deck they planted up the ridge, ridge line. Listen, I grew up in upstate New York, people farming hillsides, going up to the, you know you have cows who stand like that their entire lives. The dairy cows, or they stand this way right, they don't stand on any straight ground ever. My, my brother in law, my sister have a beef cattle farm near skinny Atlas lake. They live along the rubber the road that goes through and then both sides he owns land and goes like that. Very scary drug chapter by the way, you've got to be careful when you're driving tractors there and these poor cows are just kind of like, but it's, it's, you can do things, you know plant all that you want but land, You know, the way water runs on land, it's not, it's, you're going to do harm, very easily, and many people have done harm even on his own land he spoke of the harm that was done by the people they planted before and he's trying to restore the love how it goes for solutions and again this is, it's not all negative right so you're looking for the positive he does, he does go for that each of the essays. There used to be a book that was preachers have reached the level of consciousness as men have. They must become conscious of the creation, they must learn how they fit into it, in what its needs are and what it requires of them borrowed to pay a terrible penalty is a striking mind to me, because we don't actually, we don't actually have to do that in the short term, you can pull those everything in view and just pave everything and you wouldn't see but the penalty will come eventually right. When all the water runs off in all kinds of directions and floods things out or whatever happens with an ill conceived housing development right or whatever had not I'm not talking about poltergeists where they buried a tub or a graveyard and they get haunted but just, just things you could do the land and property. And I love the phrase, what do you make of this brace. What its needs are and what it requires them. Suddenly flipped it on its head, like, okay I can, what are the needs of a place and land, you can think about your own yard.

Unknown 34:40
But what does it require of you, in one sense it doesn't require anything right it's just going to be there and if you're like me, it just grows until the neighbors seem to be a little banker that has been mowed lately and then mode and then you go back out there you know it's not requiring a whole lot of upkeep care. What is, what is our place require of us, that becomes a becomes a question that kind of steps back right kind of cuts both ways and you're like, Okay, wait a minute I. The word that comes to our mind as biblical echoes is stewardship, right, that he would tend or take care of it in a way, I guess that's one of my arguments for not putting chemicals in the lawn and Alonzo fall and there's no, the grass is all like beans and so until I can always, I can use the term stewardship there or I could use a term of this like negligence, I guess. But, you know, trying to do. Trying to take care of a place both the tangible place and the human beings, the people in that place. You can be passive and we often can be, since I got involved in my neighborhood association on the northeast side of Grand Rapids, you realize wow there's 11,000 people in this neighborhood association, some tiny percentage of them actually even know each other, and we all live in like a two mile radius. Why don't people even know each other I mean but the first step toward helping to take care of each other is that I would know this person to know that there's a need, rather than just knowing what their dog is and what car they drive out of the driveway, you know, I never really haven't. So, I was struck by that and also challenged by that that there's something required of me to be a neighbor rather than just like living here and other people live on each side. So, I got a lesson in no rush is out there probably so we attempted rush we attempted our beekeeping again my oldest son has been beekeeping for a couple of years, we got two hives this year brought up they drove him up from Florida or Georgia. They were too vigorous. Suddenly, you couldn't go into the backyard area that one hive especially very vigorous lots of honey but people getting stung, had the kid mowing in his bee suit. And then my neighbor came over to me and said, I don't think you're in, you're in keeping with the Grand Rapids ordinance about beekeeping, by the way, I don't think there's 100 yards or 100 feet between it I was like, I think you're right I really apologize I didn't look around, ironically, I'm the Neighborhood Association representative but I didn't look at the neighborhood and look at the city ordinance. So we had to move, living beehives, right in the middle of the summer. Do not try this unless you really have to do this okay this is, there must be a better way, but the way that I read about and studied involves staple guns and duct tape, and lots of angry bees. Thankfully my foot returned to its normal size and my forehead and so on and so he also find out they can find ways inside your bee suit, they're very crafty. I don't blame the bees, they're just protecting their queen but, but my stewardship to the place I thought we got pollinators in here and so on and so forth but I wasn't really starting my neighborly relationship and it got and I usually want to be the good neighbor and we're you know, okay we're gonna be the best neighbors and so on. I had to say to my kids I really screwed this up. I really messed this up and, and he's angry at us and he has a right to be. So give them a couple of gift cards to restaurant and hope all as well right and you're not bribing them, you're just like, I'm really sorry, and you guys go out to eat or something like that so stewardship is, it's what's required of me is more than just my idea of things but a thought for the broader whole people to place the future, it, it's more than just this season or this moment right where you just shoot roundup and everything and kill everything you had out there and so on. I've been cultivating a large patch of poison ivy for quite some time that I've unsuccessfully tried to fight back and I've just surrendered, surrender that area. So, this is suggesting we live by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world and this has been based on the flimsier assumption that we can know with any certainty what was good, even for

 

1.2 

Unknown 0:00
You know that. So, that was a bit of a frustrating claim what do you think's behind that anybody. You felt paralyzed that reading that like where do I go from there because I read that, I read that ignorant that we make decisions that destroy ourselves as well as everything around us. But I thought about some of my dietary choices, okay. You don't want to go too far down that alley, especially if you've been involved in any kind of fast food setting recently or on the road, going on the road to New York and back you know you're sort of forced to eat what is available like gas stations and. So, you, you, you, your idealism gets flooded a little bit out the window right if you're trying to and then you're just like, and you get done and you're just like I, I feel so gross from this road trip and when I got to detox and so on and so maybe he's right that we really struggled to even know what's best. Start with. Oh my gosh. Just the future of, I don't know what they have they'll have big gulps or something like that or giant gulps. And yet, we are just going to become in our own pods floating around. That was the ideal that had been built for them. They were constructed around after you destroy the world we have a way for you to kind of enjoy a long cruise, where you just interesting I was telling my students or my kids like Don't, don't you ever speak against this cartoon movie where two robots fell in love and I had like tears in my eyes. That's how well they affected me to ever speak against them. It's like it's robots that are cartoons that okay, I get that. Alright, but just you know it's the concept. I think it's interesting what do we, what are we aiming for what is what is health going to mean he's got a couple of he's got a great essay called Health his membership with a community that there's no health outside of that and you find yourself you have a meal with a bunch of people you care about and it's not just about binge eating a ton but when you're driving through Burger King on your own. It's just sort of I got it right and there's a whole different experience, Is it even the same experience. It's both, putting calories in, Burger King, especially putting calories in, but it's not really the same experience. I did when I, when

Unknown 2:18
he is the true American pioneer permutate this in this assumption that he is the first and the last few years and take this place with everything.

Unknown 2:27
Right. Yeah, I mean it's, there's so many I was just reading throughout today there's so much to say about like American individualism, they can the concept of like my freedom to do as I want, please. It's such a, such a double edged sword. Yeah, I mean, you wouldn't want the opposite thing have no freedom, no one's looking to move into, you know, North Korea, or something like that and leave this culture for a different. On the other hand, it teases its way out into such a kind of like autonomous existences, where everybody and then you have, you know, people like who's your dog stepped into my yard and my, the way I do my yard is the right and yours is horrible and stuff you're just like what is going on here. You not only you're not being neighborly it's like become enemies. So But everyone's kind of right in their own eyes, there's all kinds of sincere Wisdom literature of the Scripture kind of our you know, echoing and articulating that like it's still, that's still around. I think I, when the bear is declarative but there's a humility right he starts with himself, trying to figure it out for himself. That's his grand experiment of his life and that's why I find it helps me because he's actually tried to live the experiment for 50 plus years and admits that it's a failed venture in many ways he says several times enough is this so but one of them. One of the other ones. He's never found a way to get getting past having a pickup truck, you know like how do you how do you get past having a vehicle and like petroleum. If you live in the country you know the pickup truck and you got cheap or whatever and if you're in trouble like you. I guess you could go to like an electric pickup truck are now available. But where do you go to like zip that up, that's still the question. So, and you could do a donkey car and so on but it's going to take you all day to go from one place to another so that there are frustration but at least he invents those. And we all have those, but trying to live. I used to roast I was trying to live more deliberately I see that happening for him and it, it compels me to think it could be done in some fashion my own life. Yes,

Unknown 4:40
banners that are wrong. For the boulders until at some point one of them. Yes, you might lose the swag for. Right. Individuals on

Unknown 4:54
neighborliness, sometimes you think if, depending on how things are going to their neighbors that good fences make good neighbors might hear, depending on how it's going or what if they have like a pit ball or something like that or kind of nothing on pitbulls if you, as long as they're over there, but I think it's right, it's like why, why is our only commute to work to separate ourselves from each other. That's that seems kind of quirky and to make sure that we don't get in each other's territory or turf. I have three teenagers emerging into like college age adulthood, so you get a lot of feelings that people just trying to separate themselves from you and just like get into my space, and yet you're right you're living in my house by the way, that's my car you're driving away but so what's going on here so anyway that's that's the point I am in life and like, wait, wait, okay, am I not allowed to ask like, who that guy is who you're talking to there. So that's a little bit of my story coming up. Let's take a look here, let's jump over to some possible answers that he offers and it's interesting that he's, he's down on religion, and yet here Wendell Berry has a querulous relationship with Christianity. He seems to be a confessing Christian that finds a lot of problems with Christianity, especially as it's practiced in rural America. He calls himself a grudging bathrobe Baptist, because his, I think his granddaughter was like youth director at the local Baptist Church and his wife Tanya is involved there so he, like I'll come sit in the back row and leave immediately. Okay. Often wanting to take his walks and write his Sabet poems on Sunday morning walking his land and writing poems instead. So that you can understand some of the problem when you read the fiction and in the small town church has a pastor that comes every two years and tries to get out of there as soon as possible to get to a bigger parish right and there's no real connection, and the clergy have nothing to do with the work of the land, and it just feels totally displaced right you can understand. Here he says something really painful. The Heaven bent have abused the earth thoughtlessly by inattention and their negligence has permitted and encouraged others to abuse it deliberately is a certain theology this world's going to burn anyway, right. So just, whatever, it doesn't really matter, it's a heaven, you know, this is this earth is not my home I'm just passing through, you can think of some Christian songs have a little bit of a dualistic sort of Platonic dualism tied into the theology that what do you eat, and he's just like to do that is to just not really participate in the world that God gave us, which he calls the creation persistently. You've, you've missed something and it just allows people who don't care at all to just abuse and do whatever they want right in the church abdicating its ruler which we've all heard that narrative and it's just like and it's frustrating. What can God's people do about that. Then there are some amazing things that have been done to ever go to the ASA Savile Institute's which I think Kelvin said students their Cornerstone Desmond, and the work that's been done.


1.3
 

Unknown 0:21
Testing, testing, testing, but they're all the chemicals, most of the world is not the same as when you throw out your compost pile, it's all kinds of vegetable waste and all kinds of crazy stuff and you dig it out at the end and plant tomatoes leap out of it again. What's going on here. That's, that's a mystery to us.

Unknown 0:42
That's humility but you could try to control and mechanize in, ultimately, I mean he brings up agriculture in the in the Great Plains Midwest, the top soils, almost been fully eradicated. For over farming erosion herbicide and pesticide usage and so on the modes of farming. What used to be two feet of topsoil in like Iowa or Nebraska you could put your arm down into the humerus alone has become just a couple of inches or less than that. A lot of that research is done by his good friend at the Land Institute of Kansas named Wes Jackson who's, who's kind of like keeps is kind of a watchdog and Burke dog watching industrial agriculture and it's, it's out working.

Unknown 1:25
We had a student at Cornerstone to her, her mom and dad had gone to Hope College did like I mentioned how college here, but his or her dad got a PhD and he was a teacher at Kansas State in agriculture. I was like holy cow well Kent has ever heard of land. Land Institute of Kansas and she's like, don't mention that to him, he teaches like industrial agriculture large state school that places like a gadfly like I was like okay I'm gonna be careful who you mentioned to him like oh you know my, so yeah, whatever, you know, so that's two different ways to approach one life giving and one just sort of like control.

Unknown 2:00
I was interested in what he says here and this seemed to be his version of how to approach maybe the word humility is the best word. Speaking about flowers. It's a privilege in labor of the apprentice of creation to come with his imagination into the unimaginable, and with his speech into the unspeakable of what a great phrase. I'm an apprentice of creation. As a farmer.

Unknown 2:23
And I'll always be an apprentice, I'm never going to be the master.

Unknown 2:28
Voice field like that with like teacher of a teacher like poetry but I've never, I'm not going to be eights or TSLA right I'm. I like being the apprentice of that and just like bringing people that and trying to tinker with it myself and learn it and and celebrate the, the mastery, but with the creation, even more so if you think you're the Master of Creation.

Unknown 2:48
You don't understand what's really at stake in creation right, but that's, that's not supposed to be our role is mastery.

Unknown 2:57
So, you know, it's just jumping down I'm really interested in these phrases that seem to follow up this note, what's their proper religious humility here so here's humility in this quote, how having a consciousness and intelligence a human spirit. All the vaunted equipment of my race can I humble myself before a mere mere piece of Earth, and speak myself as it's pregnant but that's what you need to do. I'm an incredibly gifted human being. Armed with all kinds of technology.

Unknown 3:26
How can I humble myself before topsoil, dirt, and say, I'm just gonna let you be what you are and not screw around with you mess with you saturate you eviscerate you to make you better.

Unknown 3:40
The best thing you can do as far as I know from growing up in dairy farming country just just throw the manure on there. And there's the circle of life and there's all kinds of metaphors in that right. The Circle of Life. How's it going, yeah. So I think you can hear us, which is fine so I'm going to. Yes.

Unknown 3:55
Christina trees and bird. She said, I really love this essay because it encourages us to treat the places that are closest to us as holy places that require our love intending rather than places that we can exploit in some way, is descriptions of itself as a pilgrim lovingly exploring his own acres in Kentucky, encouraged us to do the same to become as enchanted with our own natural spaces as Wendell is with his that's from Christie, amazing content. Well, that's really good Christina I'm sorry I could hear those. I'd love that notion. Okay, I mean, as I read His Sabbath poems which he's composed over the course of like 40 years while walking around on Sundays on his property. It's a it's a, it's a perpetual pilgrimage to his own farm. He doesn't go anywhere else to write those poems. He just walks his farm and all seasons and I think you're just right on it's, it's, you don't have to, that's your shrine, that's your sanctuary, that's a place where you'll discover everything there is that needs to be discovered about the glorious created order of things right, it's not bad to visit Niagara Falls, which is pretty cool right or to go to the Rocky Mountains or wherever the rain forest is not bad.

Unknown 5:08
But what there is to know your engagement with the mystery is available like right where you are. Anyone who's walked the Kelvinator Preserve. It's like I love this place.

Unknown 5:19
Plus if you get older, I can walk it without collapsing right with some of these trails and so on. It's like I get halfway, how can I get well I'd be alive and I get back.

Unknown 5:27
So that's great. I think that's right on Christina it's, it's, it's a, he's a pilgrim, but he lives on his own. Trying right and others have pilgrimages to here, to their to his place. And that's that's a metaphor that I've tried to use talking to my students a lot it's like your, your life vocation is your pilgrims yeah but you're trying to find yourself to back to a place where you can be rooted not just wandering forever though that sounds attractive when you're 21 it's just kind of wandering around.

Unknown 5:57
But coming back around and seeing that that reverence everywhere. I think just jump in. I'm just gonna go I believe the next one is actually just looking at the world is still the first essay here that tells you how it's going to go for me. Here's the sad Unsettling of America which is the lead essay by 1977, that sort of made him famous as the spokesperson of the kind of environmentalist, or ecological crisis which was becoming apparent and there was the gas crisis everyone remembers from the journal quarter that's, they kind of stretched out Gerald Ford's 20 months in office, so he was a huge thing on the grass gas crisis at the Ford museum, there's the disco room okay. You know, it's, he's probably, you had to fudge it a little bit to fill that entire museum with this brief, brief time in office, but you know that it became clear that like cheap fuel cheap, that was, that was the first time people realize oh that's a problem, gas isn't like 515 cents a gallon anymore. What's going on in somebody else controls it and also we're doing, I think that was exactly the same time that the Cuyahoga River outside Cleveland caught on fire from the chemical catalyst port I know there's the burning River and so on, like what, wait What is this, and Long Island to the medical wastes washing up on the shore of all these syringes and things that have been just thrown into the Long Island Sound right by by hospitals and you're just like you're not supposed to go swimming, why is there a shark, no there's like needles out there.

Unknown 7:14
So that's something of America as an essay is pretty interesting because he's talking about American history and he seems to be really down on it but then it comes around at the end and said there's promise there.

Unknown 7:26
So it's not like a total trashing of American history, but he does say that the settling of America was haphazard and accidentally you can read the whole first part of it.

Unknown 7:36
A mixture of fantasy and avarice, I've read quite a bit about like, search for trapping for trading. Early American and Canadian exploration and so on. Right. Talk about people playing the lotto. Today, look at my are scratching up like what are those people doing so many ventures tied in I'm into gold trying to find the gold for you know for the Spanish and Portuguese settlements in South and Central America, the fur trade whatever just get rich quick schemes everywhere, with a few people saying hey this is a really nice place that we could actually farm right, of course, the native indigenous peoples caught in between and really ravaged by disease and all kinds of other things right along, along the way. So, generally speaking the Unsettling of America is, is a playful but deadly earnest phrase right, we have unsettled this place by suddenly here.

Unknown 8:31
So the counterpoint of the native peoples now you can read a lot about sort of Native American anthropology and it is the case that it wasn't perfect. What happened, like in a lot of cases, native peoples everywhere right, Did some hard to change the environment did those control burns for the bison and so on. But generally speaking, I think, Wendell is right in saying the indigenous peoples, at least they were forced to live in some harmony with the natural world, they couldn't manipulate it all that much. If they despoiled it and destroyed it, they would starve to death.

Unknown 8:58
That was never a thought for them right so the hunter gatherer lifestyle has its perils, believe me, certainly, but it wasn't despoiling a continent, as was the literal, it's almost unbelievable that 50 million bison got annihilated. And that's the from Saskatchewan to Texas 50 million but except for the 10 number left or whatever. And now I think those bison herds around and so on and you can, you can still see them but how did you do and that was just the big creature, the biggest most obvious creature with all the other things so here's what he says it's interesting.

Unknown 9:37
Each group in historical economic sequence seems to get absorbed by the by the next one right as this this company like consumes itself. But then he said, and I was struck with this because I've actually given some talks on the fur trade that happened, especially right after Lewis and Clark Expedition and the fur trapping for traders, or something my dad was really into the history of in the lore of that and so I've kind of followed up on that Jedediah Smith from Afton New York actually Bainbridge New York near where my in laws live now, was the famous mountain man who went out to you know, discover the Great Salt Lake, etc.

Unknown 10:11
But he says that the economy right now is not really advanced since defer trading days and I was like, What are you talking about, that was really exploitive right and really destructive the poor beavers didn't have much of a chance right they got almost annihilated as well, nobody says here, the economy is still substantially better the third trade still based on the general concept general kinds of commercial items technology weapons ornaments novelties and drugs, and you're just like waiting, modern economy right now.

Unknown 10:37
Yeah technology weapons we know that a lot I mean a lot that goes on economically socio politically to sustain our economy as involved with violence, military and otherwise novelties ornaments and drugs.

Unknown 10:51
I mean, we have this, you're talking about giving alcohol to the native peoples and trying to like, you know, wipe them out or whatever, get them, you know, manipulate them for different stuff. Now it's opioids. Right now it's a heroin epidemic in rural America not in the inner cities but in rural America.

Unknown 11:07
I just talked to a girl who's my neighbor girl suddenly she's all grown up, she got married, she's gonna have a baby, she's like I thought you were still 12 What's going on here but the kids grew up so quickly. She was an EMT her senior husband living out in Hastings Michigan barre County.

Unknown 11:21
I was like, do you have to have the antidote for heroin overdoses I can't use it. That's one of the most frequent things we use is that remember the name of the drug use when somebody has an overdose of opioids or heroin you can you can revive them. It's almost a, it's almost a scary power because people know that. And so is afraid of using the drugs, It's like, it's like a catch 22 So, it's not different than it was at like Fort Laramie in like 1822. Same economy of using sort of facile things, entertaining things and zoning out things to persuade people of, but these are what they gate straightaway they're lovely but their life's work. For those things because I'm not watching TV or taking drugs or things like why they can't be the same economy. And I think when I went to a point throughout these essays it's yeah, it's the same mechanism at work right it's just masked in different kinds of ways that people are still getting kind of trampled underfoot by it.

Unknown 12:26
You think right here.

Unknown 12:29
The statement that I was super struck by the statement anybody else build this one once in a while it just needs to short sentences, commercial conquest is far more thorough than military defeat.

Unknown 12:40
Can I get you to just buy what we want and get you in a trade I don't have to, I don't have to send an army.

Unknown 12:47
You're just totally under the yoke of the system now. Right. You'll buy into it you will use your surrender without being told you have to surrender, you'll just surrender, for the sake of this, this commerce probably good, you don't need that. Maybe you're going to do harm to you long term.

Unknown 13:10
Yeah.

Unknown 13:12
Americans when it comes to get them essentially 70 Kind of like density

Unknown 13:20
dependence, which ironically they had survived with without rather for however long you know 1000s years or hundreds of 1000s of years it's arrived without So, how can they be necessities, they become necessities like the iPhone has become a necessity to a 14 year old kid,

Unknown 13:36
or a 67 year old kid okay so we did we wanted to go, let's, let's just, let's just maligned the teenagers right now and not bring it back to ourselves too closely.

Unknown 13:43
At least we can say we're still somewhat inept with them right but the 14 year old kid right it's right before you get a phone, and even my own students will admit to me. Yeah, I used to read books I'd read like 100 500 page books we read Harry Potter or whatever and read all these books, and then we got an iPhone. I don't really read that much anymore. You spend your time, you know, and you can read, can't remember her name is.

Unknown 14:04
Her book on reading Well, she's a professor wasn't liberty, the occurrence well prior yeah so, and just that students don't read anymore and you just have to assign a chapter rather than a book now I listen I taught my Russian lit several times, your steps, you know, we have 3000 pages of reading in a semester the students were into it and going for, I would have Erickson for quick Calvin come up and lecture on social needs and and do his Juris Doctor this you know Eric cynic. And no, it's I can't get him to sign up for it, because it's the even one novel is it's Russian right the novels are 800 pages to 1000 the short stories are 100 pages long, you got problems there. Yes,

Unknown 14:41
versus.

Unknown 14:43
No,

Unknown 14:47
I was thinking about, Perhaps.

Unknown 14:56
Perceiving or experiences and little soundbites.

Unknown 15:01
Great, that's a great and very scary connection that you've made right there because, talk about the mystery at the top so it is a mystery of the human mind, human intellect human imagination and so on. What if that gets sort of just laid waste.

Unknown 15:14
And then we do it to ourselves in the name of the goods such as such as let me let me herbicide and pesticide and completely dominate and control this corn field which there never should have been a cornfield that was like 70,000 acres long haul of corn right I've written, but it all is right every year.

Unknown 15:33
Likewise, what we do what we do volitionally to our own lives, just different levels.

Unknown 15:41
So the battles you have to fight with your, with your kid and when you have kids telling you, yeah, my life was great until you know I got a phone or something that's like I can't think like wait, but it's like, sounds like I get your drugs or something. Right. So that's where you do your battles and try to kind of and then you're, then you're the parent who like doesn't do anything for your kid you know everyone's been through that as well.

Unknown 16:01
Nobody lives like we do and no one wants to come to our house we don't have a TV or whatever it's stupid it's boring in here and kind of like he didn't seem to be bored when he broke it.

Unknown 16:10
So we can all talk about the trauma of raising teenagers and hold hands here at some point or therapy session. You guys have teenage grandkids maybe and it's like okay, at least their grandkids, it's going to next generation removed, did you see it even amplified. Take a look here at what he also says that was striking, there's, I think he lays out.

Unknown 16:30
I like how he lays out the terms of exploiters and nurtures. So, you know, except because I'm my mind I'm just like, I want to okay what's, what are the sides here, that makes sense to me. There are many exploiters trying to get whatever they can out of things, and they're probably fewer, who want to nurture. Right, nurturing is more boring, right, it's not as exciting, it doesn't offer the great return on, you know, work it does, as he phrases it in this other one here, the competence of the exporter is organization could get you know getting everything sorted out so we can kind of figure out in the nurture is order when I first heard that I was like what's in between organization and order they sound similar to me and then as he as he proceeds, a human order that is that accommodates itself, both to other order, and to mystery and that coming back to humility and mystery. It keeps coming back up against that right, you're just like, Okay.

Unknown 17:21
I believe that I not in full control of what's going on I see that there's mystery here that's bad. That's a bad sign right there okay so let me get up my while I'm talking, I'm just gonna get on my power cable here.

Unknown 17:37
Don't worry. Sonia, I also have a small extension cord I carry in old times.

Unknown 17:42
From classrooms where you can't reach the like you're here, so I'm gonna wander behind the white truck.

Unknown 17:51
It's likely on my trip that I was in a room, we had to, we had to change our classrooms during COVID Right, so I was teaching in the, in the music hall Recital Hall.

Unknown 18:06
That's something I don't know maybe you know it kiss the soil is an excellent documentary on Nick Netflix that highlights the richness of soil. Yeah. Kiss the soil, there's, there's another one I've put along with it and I think it's just called Seed, it's about seed saving this one kid because the soil. Okay so it's supposed to eat a pound of dirt in your life anyway right accidentally or whatever you might as well just go down and kiss it and just like take care of it. And but if you're eating dirt suppose we have like a calcium deficiency or something you want to get that checked out if you want to eat dirt. But yeah, kiss the soil of the winter seed saving, which is something that has become a big thing for us is trying to seed save and use the same seeds again in the next year and so on and you know there's the place near the Arctic circle that has many of the seats that are preserved in case there's a big Wipeout event, it was not happy on the grocery food or whatever and there's a, there's some other seed saving places around it's quite a, it's quite an amazing thing because the soil yeah topsoil, to be able to make compost and turn it into tubs, that's been the best thing, I'm not sure if that's according to Grand Rapids city ordinances either. Maybe you should check out some of the ordinances before my whole composting operation, but that you haven't had to buy any soil for any garden center for like 15 years but you just figure it out of the bottom of the thing and everything's growing it feels really good, you know, you start to queue up circle of life, but I'm not really sure what that songs about in The Lion King but you start to feel like you're doing something the right way.

Unknown 19:37
Yeah, you still got to get the peach pits, we have a peach tree there's peach pits everywhere and you got to, you know, there's like rappers in there and who threw in the top of the can or whatever somehow if you, if you go through the screen. There it is. It's it's topsoil, it's, it's humans it's, it's living, worms, the better, right, the bigger the worms, the better. And it's doing something that keeps us alive, which is growing our food.

Unknown 20:03
So it's worth kissing dirt right first because it's not dirt, soil right what's it soil, not dirt anything like really embrace it. Now that's a great, that's a great word. Thank you for though.

Unknown 20:13
Just go into some of Windows solutions, I think when he says here, we must I think, be prepared to see it. Stand by the truth that the land should not be destroyed for any reason, not even for any apparently good reason now that gets you in trouble if you work at an institution like a college like a Calvinist, you might say hey I don't think we should go those, all those trees or that Grove over there to create this new thing right okay there's cost benefit analysis. It's good to be somebody who has no power because you can protest, no one will listen anyway you're not really going to necessary no one really cares what I say, you know, it's when you destroy land.

Unknown 20:46
You don't get that back I think he says at Forest windows, one of the novels I think it's at the end of Jaber crow when Troy chapter cuts down the nest egg. The hardwood forest of 200 year old trees, is if you're going to cut those down to sell those at the plant that with corn, you won't get that cut back for another 200 years. So you better think long and hard before you harvest that crop, because that's gone several lifetimes. So to think about those consequences, and choose not to because frankly we could expand it definitely and build interesting things out of concrete stone, glass, steel, kind of, definitely ever seen Star Wars Coruscant, the planet that's one of them city. That seems pretty grim though when you look at that right, like, you know, not saying anyone want to live in downtown Chicago or the or Manhattan or something like that but it's, I mean, there's a reason why Central Park endures and they haven't they haven't gone over that thing and plotted over 130 years since it was planned, right, it's you need that.

Unknown 21:48
So don't go jogging at night right and don't go there by yourself and a lot of other things about Central Park, be careful right, But you need that It's extraordinary to me. Every inch of Central Park is probably worth, worth more than my house, right, in terms of land property value, but it's preserved. Shockingly, I think people just, just understand, you've got to have something like that. Or it's or we lose something really essential.

Unknown 22:13
So, he's, he goes along that line.

Unknown 22:19
Here's another statement alongside that think about for trading that was just striking to me that constantly expanding markets. First opened in the New World by the for traders is still expanding, no longer so much by expansions of territory and population, but by calculated outdating up moding and degradation of goods, I just thought of like every iPhone that goes out of, hey, that's what are you doing, that's gonna say, wait a minute, it was incredibly functional like five months ago. Why does it feel like a piece of junk now you're told that in the new car, the new computer which I was just giving to a computer but the old one was okay for me. Why was it taken from me when I don't understand it was given to me, with features that don't comprehend, I don't know but that's just the way you go. So you know that it's the cycle is everything is outmoded outdated Come on you got to keep that that actually still runs the company has since the days of like giving you beads and trinkets or whatever, at least in the new world. And, you know, things that you thought you did. Now you think you need that you did you do you need an iPhone 12 or 14 or 15 or whatever, probably not, you could probably go keep going with like a five. Yeah, that's as far back as you want to go to use the place to draw your line. So we get to the end, let me just finish up on settling here and then we'll set up for next time I have to make up some ground, as I always do.

Unknown 23:31
This is, I believe the finale of unsettling I just finished with this slide and set us up, so we'll have to, we'll have to cover a few extra ones but that's fine. I like it on my net.

Unknown 23:41
He's revisioning what it might look like to climb out of that, he always seems to be to come to some kind of possible solution or at least some hope. I mean that's that's one of the reasons, even though he's grouchy, he goes there, almost always, he says here is a problem that the growth has exploded revolution means that work has been in human dignity, but he said that's not wise. This also from theological music, we've tried to escape the sweat and sorrow promised in Genesis, only to find that in order to do so we must courseware love and excellence health and joy to swear off work, is to create a world that we don't actually really enjoy.

Unknown 24:18
That's, that's dangerously structured and constructed.

Unknown 24:22
So just this for now being here and then I give a little, give a little insight reading got a couple of videos we can watch. Here's a side reading.

Unknown 24:30
He finds he finds a possible solution in another strand of American history now the exploiters strand. But the other strand which he brings to like the Homestead Act of 1862, one of Lincoln's great domestic policies, actually, besides the war.

Unknown 24:45
The idea that as many as possible should share an ownership of land and thus be bound to it by economic interests by the investment of love and work by family loyalty by memory and tradition. I was just struck by that.

Unknown 24:58
Everybody knew, it brings up the image of Thomas Jefferson, all small landholders about, you know, it didn't work out that way. The Federalist one, but he also brings up the idea of the Homestead Act or he brings up, If you remember from the essay, the Freedmen's Bureau during Reconstruction 40 acres in a Jenny meal right for every free African American family 40 acres from the Alabama trust, and one one Dyneema which is a sterile female meal, or however they did it. So I guess all meals are staring female. So, but I was struck by the, by how much that sounds like something I'm really interested in which is GK Chesterton's notion he did, he kind of invented it, of distributed distributed ism is a middle way between socialism and capitalism, just attended Hillary, Hillary Bullock who's also a Catholic writer of the early 20th century British writer with a very friendly sounding name.

Unknown 25:54
They wrote about Distributism, and it's, it's really interesting, one of the chief tenants of it is that every person should have some private property.

Unknown 26:03
And people tend, that it's that right and good for people to have property, there's actually a couple of outbreaks of distributors and one is one is in Spain, where workers actually own a whole factoring industry together, there's a little bit of this in like King Arthur Flour, where all the workers own the bone the actual operation right and there's a, there's an investment of everybody and they're all owners of it, they all care really deeply about it. But one of the ideas is that every person should have some, some measure of land or property even a small plot and so on, that they could call their own and that they will tend to it in a different way when they own it, how they get ownership and so on is another conversation which I don't think just started works the way out of right and you could have a lot of conversations about that I think there are ways to do that some Catholic theorists done at St Mary's College in South Bend continue to think and ponder this really closely. I'm very intrigued by that because I think windows onto something ownership of land, intending to land changes your relationship to it can in a really powerful and redemptive it doesn't make you better.

Unknown 27:08
It really humbles you. It certainly helps you to own a house, everybody knows that right the first time there's a sewage backup or whatever like well, he's almost you are making very poor. Probably both things right once you have to pay the butter, but it also suggests stewardship, to me, and, and what ownership when I didn't realize about honors My parents never owned a home. When I finally had a house, we got a house in Grand Rapids, it was like it's, it's pleasing and also it's a lot like parenting right here they are pleased by it but also like Man, there's a lot of responsibility here and so on. And I think that there's something there that he that he aims people toward and you know he says one of the other essays, the best thing we could all do is garden.

Unknown 27:49
And by that means in some way take a role in our food production, even in a small way, which by the way, my garden, the way I do it you know some tomatoes are growing, what, how did this get here I didn't plant this this year. What are these doing over here and how did this happen, but it's, it's a small participation in something that teaches us stewardship, we understand it as Christ followers, it's really stewarding our relationships to other people that can grow out of that and learning what that means and caring for the other loving the neighbor as ourself and offering Christ's hope Kingdom hope to other people, right, that can grow out of that sensibility.

Unknown 28:24
And without that in a tangible level it's hard to get there and it kind of soulful level, right when you don't have any of that storage of that a tangible, physical level.

Unknown 28:33
I'll stop right there and we still got to make a run at think level one. I like that title as well. Take a little, and also make a little run at feminism the body and the machine which I did, I wasn't avoiding on purpose, by the way I will start there quickly through those two and then we've got four more for next week. So instead of an intro I'm going to go quickly into those two.

Unknown 28:55
And then we'll jump to that next next set of essays, there's a lot, a lot of reading, it's a it's an intense, there's no exams, no quizzes. That's the one. But lots of reading, so get caught up on the next four, I think, Sonia sent to sent the list around, and I won't ignore these two but I'm gonna just touch, touch them on the run, you had a chance to read you can see how they kind of fit in with the other two we just talked about.

Unknown 29:19
In I don't know if there's any questions from anybody, or of Sonia if there's any questions that have come in over the pipeline. We can either take those now if people have to go we can we can save those and just lead off with some of those next time. I think the questions will not.

Unknown 29:33
If, if I'm reading this right or not. The answers will not count up but the questions will count up right that's kind of what they suggest so I'm comfortable with that.

Unknown 29:44
Between the next time that we made this work, I'm running and I don't know you put in your mileage.

Unknown 29:52
So there is a there is a, we go to the chat, you can go to the chat here now, Since you're not in PowerPoint and you can see that rest later has a link for you. Oh yes.

Unknown 30:07
Let's see why can't you see it.

Unknown 30:10
How you can't see it.

Unknown 30:13
That's interesting. Anyway, there was a link, it'll be in the recording. not sure what it involves. But no additional questions on our side.

Unknown 30:22
Had a great first class, thanks for hanging in there and this, this was a she was amazing. Like, I don't even know what just happened but she made it happen on a number of different levels.