Thoughts in the Presence of Fear | Wendell Berry | Orion Magazine

One of the most thoughtful writers of our time offers a compelling essay. In one of the most compelling magazines out there. Written in 2001. So critical today.

We citizens of the industrial countries must continue the labor of self-criticism and self-correction. We must recognize our mistakes…
This is why the substitution of rhetoric for thought, always a temptation in a national crisis, must be resisted by officials and citizens alike…
The aim and result of war necessarily is not peace but victory, and any victory won by violence necessarily justifies the violence that won it and leads to further violence…
What leads to peace is not violence but peaceableness, which is not passivity, but an alert, informed, practiced, and active state of being… The key to peaceableness is continuous practice…

Read on, contemplate, and join in the conversation. How do you fare in the face of fear?  Why are we so reluctant to practice peace? Where do you stand on these issues?

Thoughts in the Presence of Fear | Wendell Berry | Orion Magazine.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts in the Presence of Fear | Wendell Berry | Orion Magazine

  1. I tried to post a comment on Orion but it refused every attempt so here it is…
    I believe that the artesian awareness of these lucid self evident truths are welling up almost everywhere, except in the rhetoric wielding political and corporate classes, with fear of loss as their only yardstick. Specially loss of power and loss of face.

    Not only right and spiritual action but right thought will percolate until the irrelevance of old fears and narrow self interests will have to succumb. Time though is of the essence. Our survival is important to the creation as a whole. That responsibility is yet to be seen, beyond the measures being taken to reduce our destructiveness. Minimising is a start but restoration is urgent, for the natural world and all its life. We need to hurry…thoughtfully.

    • ‘fear of loss of power’ states it well, Philippa. And yes, ‘restoration is urgent; we need to hurry . . . thoughtfully.’ Such a tangled web we have engendered out of arrogance and fear – and the colossal ignorance underlying it all. Thanks be for thoughtful re-weaving.

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