SPECIALIZATION, AND GENERALIZATION, A SHORSIGHTED VIEW OF KNOWLEDGE, AND LIFE, THE POLITICS OF WENDELL BERRY

Light through the forest

There was a time when the world was a simpler place, or we may like to believe so on this days of tremendous advances on the field of science, of technological progress that would make our early twenty century forefathers heads spin! At the same time the complexity of the issues this progress has brought; overpopulation, ecological devastation, pollution, the over exploitation of our precious limited resources, of a world getting too small for our Human insatiable needs, the unequal distribution of resources and wealth, and the disparity of access to  those resources, the creation not of a world government, but a world ruled by plutocrats, in the form of corporations, with no accountability, and in bed with our dysfunctional, and obsolete, now archaic, and sclerotic form of government, who still pretends to be a Democracy, and determined to keep in control the axis of power for personal profit, despite the urgent need of a new approach to our world problems, were disinterested and selfless cooperation should be the rule to oversight, and give a guideline to the solving of this problems without the interference of special interests who thwart Real Progress, and the Common Good.

It seem we the world has been a victim of our general lack of capacity to be virtuous, overcoming our Human nature, and selfish desires in order to allow a just, and wise solutions to the undoubtedly  worldwide crisis that as we speak would engulf us before we can come to an organized, and well run program of actions, in order if not to solve totally, at least to ameliorate the damage, our lack of consciousness has brought us to this zero hour crisis for our world. It seem we have become victims of our own so much vaunted progress!

The extremes of specialization on one side, and of generalization, and reductionism on the other side combines to the common adage of : ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’ failure of vision on our postmodern age. Our individual actions due to our specialization, lack the depth of understanding of the whole picture, our combined resources of our individual specializations have reached a point were nobody cares about the result of the whole, a sort of cleaver but Dr. Frankenstein creation that will end haunting us for the lack of wisdom, in the end too much specialization is leading to a loss of ethics, and integrity. Generalization on the other hand prevent the large interests to make proper managerial decisions fit to individuals, providing at best one size fit all, specially when the individual well being confronts  the interest of the corporation, usually their bottom line, profit.

specialization & economics

This not only affects society as a whole, but directly harms and minimize the individual:

“The fact is, however, that this is probably the most unhappy average citizen in the history of the world. He has not the power to provide himself with anything but money, and his money is inflating like a balloon and drifting away, subject to historical circumstance and the power of other people. From morning to night he does not touch anything that he has produced himself, in which he can take pride. For all his leisure and recreation, he feels bad, he looks bad, he is overweight, his health is poor. His air, water, and food are all known to contain poisons. There is a fair chance that he will die of suffocation. He suspects that his love life is not as fulfilling as other people’s. He wishes that he had been born sooner, or later. He does not know why his children are the way they are. He does not understand what they say. He does not care much and does not know why he does not care. He does not know what his wife wants or what he wants. Certain advertisements and pictures in magazines make him suspect that he is basically unattractive. He feels that all his possessions are under threat of pillage. He does not know what he would do if he lost his job, if the economy failed, if the utility companies failed, if the police went on strike, if the truckers went on strike, if his wife left him, if his children ran away, if he should be found to be incurably ill. And for these anxieties, of course, he consults certified experts, who in turn consult certified experts about their anxieties.

It is rarely considered that this average citizen is anxious because he ought to be—because he still has some gumption that he has not yet given up in deference to the experts. He ought to be anxious, because he his helpless. That he is dependent upon so many specialists, the beneficiary of so much expert help, can only mean that he is a captive, a potential victim.”

Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry

BOOMERS AND STICKERS

“Quoting his former teacher, the late writer Wallace Stegner, Berry said Americans have always tended to fall into two camps: boomers and stickers. “The boomer is motivated by greed, the desire for money, property and therefore power,” Berry said. “Stickers on the contrary are motivated by affection, by such love for a place and its life that they want to preserve it and remain in it.”

Boomer ideals dominate America’s economy and culture now, he said. Almost everything has been reduced to statistics. Like corporate ownership, as compared to individual ownership, big numbers distance us from the consequences of our actions.

“Now the two great aims of industrialism — replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth in the hands of a small plutocracy — seem close to fulfillment,” Berry said. “At the same time the failures of industrialism have become too great and too dangerous to deny.”

Even the term economy has lost its original meaning, which had to do with household management and husbandry, he said. Most economists now “never ask, in their professional oblivion, why we are willing to do permanent ecological and cultural damage ‘to strengthen the economy.'”

Corporate industrialism, he said, “has failed to sustain the health and stability of human society. Among its characteristic signs are destroyed communities, neighborhoods, families, small businesses and small farms. It has failed just as conspicuously and more dangerously to conserve the wealth and health of nature.”

Industrialism’s effects are often defended as the “price of progress” or “creative destruction,” Berry noted.

industrial-wasteland-rust

“But land abuse cannot brighten the human prospect,” he said. “There is in fact no distinction between the fate of the land and the fate of the people. When one is abused, the other suffers. The penalties may come quickly to a farmer who destroys perennial cover on a sloping field. They will come sooner or later to a land-destroying civilization such as ours.”

Who is to blame? “We are all implicated,” Berry said. “By economic proxies thoughtlessly given, by thoughtless consumption of goods ignorantly purchased, now we are all boomers.”

How can it be changed? By having more respect for our fellow humans and the land, Berry said. By focusing on long-term sustainability — things like local food, soil conservation and renewable energy. And by rediscovering the importance of affection.

“Knowledge without affection leads us astray every time,” he said. “Affection leads, by way of good work, to authentic hope. … And it is in affection that we find the possibility of a neighborly, kind and conserving economy. … We should, as our culture has warned us over and over again, give our affection to things that are true, just and beautiful. When we give affection to things that are destructive, we are wrong.”

Since Berry began making these arguments in his 1977 book The Unsettling of America, critics have dismissed him as unrealistic, nostalgic, even anachronistic. But more people are listening. Indeed, this seems to be Wendell Berry’s time.

As “local food” and “buy local” movements have sprung up everywhere in recent years, Berry’s books have attracted an international following. His lectures are packed, often by young people.

Can America change before it is too late? It can, Berry told me, if sustainability becomes a bigger part of the public conversation. “The only way to do that,” he said, “is to make as much sense as you possibly can.”

We can clearly see that what is required for a better future, it is a clear consciousness of the individual to be responsible of his actions, and stop to be a brainwash sleeper who obediently consumes whatever is advertised to him, by those who want to profit from this general state of hypnotic behavior the complicit media has impose like a gospel of consumerism!

Consumerism at his worst

Here is a clear example of how they sell you what you want to believe you are:

“In the real world, a fast car is no faster than a slow car.

In the real world, what’s inside your Macbook doesn’t matter.

In the real world, you don’t wear a watch so you can tell the time.

In the real world, you don’t buy a product, you buy a story.

Owning a Porsche tells a story about you. It tells people that you’re cultured, that you’re a sucker for details, that you are a great connoisseur of precision and efficiency. Your Macbook Pro tells people that you’re creative, sophisticated, and individualistic. The Patek Phillipe on your wrist tells people that you have aristocratic tastes, and that you’re into authenticity and heritage. The Pink Floyd playing on your car stereo tells people that you’re into the modern classics, that you are refined and sophisticated, and that today’s world is much too crude for your tastes.

Our urge to buy and wear these stories overshadow the utilitarian relationship we once shared with products. Everybody who buys a Porsche knows that its not going to get them to the airport any faster than a blah-colored Toyota Corolla.

They don’t care though, because when they drove off the dealership, they didn’t buy a sports car.

On the contrary, they bought a 600 horsepower twin-turbo storytelling machine.”

Umair Kazi

Hypnosis-fate

DO NOT VOTE AT THE BALLOT, VOTE WITH YOUR WALLET!

We do not need to buy stories, to believe we are what we are not, unless you are a total fool, we do not need to buy what we do not really need, or what is harmful to Mother Earth, or to others. The only way to take control of the current state of the World politics, economics, environment, etc. Is to take control of our own lives, and realize we need to bring the change in to our own sphere of life  thinking globally , but acting locally.

“The moral order by which we use machine-derived energy is comparatively simple. Whatever uses this sort of energy works simply as a conduit that carries it beyond use: the energy goes in as “fuel” and comes out as “waste.” This principle sustains a highly simplified economy having only two functions: production and consumption.

The moral order appropriate to the use of biological energy, on the other hand, requires the addition of a third term: production, consumption, and return. It is the principle of return that complicates matters, for it requires responsibility, care, of a different and higher order than that required by production and consumption alone, and it calls for methods and economies of a different kind. In an energy economy appropriate to the use of biological energy, all bodies, plant and animal and human, are joined in a kind of energy community. They are not divided from each other by greedy, “individualistic” efforts to produce and consume large quantities of energy, much less to store large quantities of it. They are indissolubly linked in complex patterns of energy exchange. They die into each other’s life, live unto each other’s death. They do not consume in the sense of using up. They do not produce waste. What they take in they change, but they change it always into a form necessary for its use by a living body of another kind. And this exchange goes on and on, round and round, the Wheel of Life rising out of the soil, descending into it, through the bodies of creatures.

The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrected, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”

Soil the stuff of life and death

“Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is highest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.”

Wendell Berry.

The World in our hands

Advertisements

About theburningheart

Blog: KoneKrusosKronos.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Cosmogony, Counsciousness, Critical Thinking, Democracy, Ecology, Economy, Environment, Freedom, Future, Generalization, Globalization, History, Human Nature, Inductive Knowledge, Life Liberty and the pursuit of happines, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Postmodernism, Progress, Property, Specialization, Spiritual but not Religious, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Wendell Berry, Wisdom and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to SPECIALIZATION, AND GENERALIZATION, A SHORSIGHTED VIEW OF KNOWLEDGE, AND LIFE, THE POLITICS OF WENDELL BERRY

  1. Alvina says:

    very good most of your articles, many years of quality posts, i admire you in many things and i disagree in others, but still love your posts.

  2. BueningFrick says:

    Hi there, You have done a fantastic job. I’ll certainly digg it and in my opinion suggest to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this website.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi, just wanted to mention,I liked this post. It was helpful.

    Keep on posting!

  4. Uncle Tree says:

    I like the kick-ass poem at the end by W. Berry.
    Tons of good thoughts and fine questions front to back.
    The Unpredictability Of Uncle Tree — sounds like a title, eh?

    If I cast off all fear, as the mystics say, I’m afraid
    I’ll still fear the thought of being a bore.
    Our funny people are going
    quickly these days.
    Priceless be
    laughter.
    He-he
    U:)
    T

    • theburningheart says:

      Nice!
      Don’t worry about being a bore I have seeing worse poets here, including myself!
      I rather think it’s pretty good, and no need for apologies, thank you for your comment! 🙂

  5. WinfordZYuan says:

    My brother suggested I may like this web site. He used to be
    totally right. This put up truly made my day.
    You cann’t consider just how so much time I had spent for this info!
    Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s