On the Home – Wendell Berry

17 Aug

“Once, some farmers, particularly in Europe, lived in their barns– and so were both at work and at home. Work and rest, work and pleasure, were continuous with each other, often not distinct from each other at all. Once, shopkeepers lived in, above, or behind their shops. Once, many people lived by “cottage industries,” — home production. Once, households were producers and processors of food, centers of their own maintenance, adornment, and repair, places of instruction and amusement. People were born in their houses, and lived and worked and died in them. Such houses were not generalizations. Similar to each other in materials and design as they might have been, they nevertheless looked and felt and smelled different from each other because they were articulations of particular responses to their places and circumstances.

When people do not live where they work, they do not feel the effects of what they do. The people who make wars do not fight them. The people responsible for the various depredations of “agribusiness “do not live on farms. They — like many others of less wealth and power– live in ghettos of their own kind in homes full of “conveniences” which signify that all is well. In an automated kitchen, in a gleaming, odorless bathroom,in year-round air-conditioning, in color TV, in an easy chair, the world is redeemed. If what God made can be made by humans into this, then what can be wrong?

I have already spoken of the highly simplified role of the modern household with respect to the production and preparation of food: it has set itself increasingly aside from production and preparation and become more and more a place for the consumption of food produced and prepared elsewhere. But this setting aside of the nest or residence from the sources of life is more general and even more serious than that would indicate. The modern home, even more than the government and universities, has institutionalized the divisions and fragmentations of modern life.

And the modern household’s direct destructiveness of the world bears a profound relation — as cause or effect or both — to the fundamental moral disconnections for which it also stands. It divorces us from the sources of our bodily life; as a people, we no longer know the earth we come from, have no respect for it, keep no responsibilities to it. And few who are acquainted with the young can doubt that the modern home has also failed as a place of instruction and that the schools are failing under the burden of that deeper failure.

Berry, Wendell. The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture. p. 51-53.

Written in 1977, these words still ring today. Reading over this post, it reads a lot like something that I would write. Wendell Berry is in modern days, somewhat upset; because things have not been changing quickly enough. What I have put together as the basics, in designs of the future find ways to do things from a house and even place-based apartments, cities, and from the land. Op alternative logic is that if you are spending money on something, have it be on how to get free in that area. 🙂 Things like electric, heat, hot water, and micro-food growing all have huge advancements potential. You can be a part of this movement, and make a big contribution to changing how we live.



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