Agrarian essays

And the early dark Falling; and continues through ten more stanzas each propelled by the anaphora of "We know". The elegiac here and elsewhere, according to Triggs, enables Berry to characterize the connections "that link past and future generations through their common working of the land. Unspecializing Poetry," Berry writes, "Devotion to order that is not poetical prevents the specialization of poetry.

Agrarian essays

Support Aeon Donate now Every time you set foot in a Whole Foods store, you are stepping into one of the most carefully designed consumer experiences on the planet. Produce is stacked into black bins in order to accentuate its colour and freshness.

You would have been forced to wrap your head around the idea of mail-order purchases. Before Gilman, pre-industrial consumption was largely the unscripted consequence of localised, small-scale patterns of production.

Through the course of that journey, retailing would discover its natural psychological purpose: Gilman anticipated, by some 30 years, the fundamental contours of industrial-age selling.

Down at the faux-farmers market. Theirs is a calling I could not make up if I tried: It is a world as counterintuitive as shopping at Whole Foods is intuitive. The massive datacentres that have recently retreated into the heartland of the US are merely the latest additions to this orchestra of scaled technologies.

Together, these systems constitute a single, intricately interconnected entity, woven from a thousand particular technologies that have made the long journey from garage to grid. I had come to Omaha to explore the American cloud, having succumbed to the Tocquevillean conceit, peculiar to the foreign-born, that one can read America by travelling through it.

And so, here I was, discussing continent-spanning infrastructure with hyper-specialised geeks, in a region we romantically associate with the homesteading generalists of historic small-town America. At least in Omaha, such incongruities are readily apparent. In coastal America, where schoolchildren sometimes botch math problems about milk production because they assume a five-day week for cows, the incongruities are masked by the theatre of the shopping experience.

Agrarian essays

The second was the technological doctrine of precision manufacturing based on interchangeable parts, which emerged around Springfield and Harpers Ferry national armouries. But it would take another century, and the development of the internet, for the American cloud to retreat almost entirely from view.

By the s, the two American systems had given rise to a virtuous cycle of accelerating development, with emerging corporations and developing national infrastructure feeding off each other. The result was the first large-scale industrial base: The most consequential political activity retreated into complex new governance institutions that few ordinary citizens understood, such as the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Federal Reserve, and the War Industries Board.

Wendell Berry - Wikipedia

Politics began to acquire its surreal modern focus on broadly comprehensible sideshows. The visible signs of the makeover — I call them Hamiltonian cathedrals — are unprepossessing.

Viewed from planes or interstate highways, grain silos, power plants, mines, landfills and railroad yards cannot compete visually with big sky and vast prairie. Nevertheless, the Hamiltonian makeover emptied out and transformed the interior of America into a technology-dominated space that still deserves the name heartland.

Except that now the heart is an artificial one. This theatre, which forms the backdrop of consumer lifestyles, can be found today inside every Whole Foods, Starbucks and mall in America.

I call it the Jeffersonian bazaar. Structurally then, the American cloud is an assemblage of interconnected Hamiltonian cathedrals, artfully concealed behind a Jeffersonian bazaar.

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The spatial structure of this American edifice is surprisingly simple: In this world, the bazaars are the interiors of cities, forming a user-interface layer over the complex tangle of pipes, cables, dumpsters and loading docks that engineers call the last mile — the part that actually reaches the customer.

The cities themselves are cathedrals crafted for human habitation out of steel and concrete. The bazaar is merely a thin fiction lining it. Between the two worlds there is a veil of manufactured normalcy — a studiously maintained aura of the small-town Jeffersonian ideal. To walk into Whole Foods is to recognise that the Jeffersonian bazaar exists in the interstices of the cloud rather than outside of it.

Particular clouds might have insides and outsides — smartphone apps live outside, datacentres live inside; gas stations live outside, oil supertankers live inside — but the cloud as a whole has no meaningful human-inhabited outside.

It subsumes bicoastal America rather than being book-ended by it.Wendell Erdman Berry (born August 5, ) is an American novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer.

The Art of the Commonplace

He is an elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, a recipient of The National Humanities Medal, and the Jefferson Lecturer for He is also a Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and urbanagricultureinitiative.com .

the pleasure of cats. This is not an exhaustive history by any means. Rather, I tried to indicate key moments that had an impact on the contemporary or future relations between the two nations.

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JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. Collected here for the first time, the essential essays from Wendell Berry’s writings on agrarianism, agriculture, and community.

Together these twenty-one essays 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/5(43).

quotes from The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays: ‘People use drugs, legal and illegal, because their lives are intolerably painful or dul.

America still has a heartland, it’s just an artificial one | Aeon Essays