Life is a Miracle

12/06/2008 at 6:27 pm (books)

I recently finished reading Wendell Berry’s collection of essays titled, “Life is a Miracle: An essay against modern superstition,” and it is a wonderful book.

As I see it, the three main points that Berry dealt with were the superstitions that:

  1. science will solve all our problems,
  2. that new is always better than old,
  3. and that organisms are the same as machines.

The first two aspects I’ve listed are problems that I had identified on my own some time ago. Even still I relished reading Berry’s words concerning them. His work helped to hone my own thoughts on the matter.

The third point, however, is something that I had not named on my own. I think that I would have eventually been able to come to the same conclusion, but I had not yet.

And it is a very important point. It sheds a whole new light on some subjects when you take it into account.

Why do employers treat their employees as expendable? Because the employers view them as nothing more than parts in a machine to be removed and replaced whenever one breaks down.

Why is the automatic solution to a major medical problem usually surgery? Because doctors are trained to think of the human body like a machine. Well that part is malfunctioning, so out it goes.

It is a good book and I highly recommend it. I also recommend you get it from the good folks at Cumberland Books, they are a small business with very reasonable prices and great customer service.


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Life is a Miracle

10/30/2008 at 2:18 pm (books)

I purchased the book “Life is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition,” by Wendell Berry, from Amazon recently.

I like a lot of what Wendell Berry writes, but I didn’t get into this book very easily. Berry has a large vocabulary and reading his work exercises the mind a bit. And I didn’t quite appreciate — at first — the direction that he was taking the book.

But the further I get into it, the more I like it. It is a very good book, and I’m only yet about half-way through. So I’ll have to give you a final appraisal when I finish. But for now I’ll leave you with a quote that I just read from the book:

“What I am against … is our slovenly willingness to allow machines and the idea of the machine to prescribe the terms and conditions of the lives of creatures, which we have allowed increasingly for the last two centuries, and are still allowing, at anĀ incalculableĀ cost to other creatures and to ourselves.” (Berry’s emphasis)

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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

10/18/2008 at 7:22 pm (books)

In the grocery store checkout corral, we’re more likely to learn which TV stars are secretly fornicating than to inquire as to the whereabouts of the people who grew the cucumbers and melons in our carts.

-Barbara Kingsolver, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.”

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