Random thoughts

Literacy does not involve knowing the meaning of words

Wendell Berry opens his collection of essays, Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community, with a piece entitled ‘The Joy of Sales Resistance’, which offers some wonderfully biting sarcasm. Here are a few gems:

The so-called humanities probably do not exist. But if they do, they are useless. But whether they exist or not or are useful or not, they can sometimes be made to support a career.

Literacy does not involve knowing the meaning of words, or learning grammar, or reading books.

The smartest and most educated people are the scientists, for they have already found solutions to all our problems and will soon find solutions to all the problems resulting from their solutions to all the problems we used to have.

Computers made people even better and smarter …. Or if some people prove incorrigibly wicked or stupid or both, computers will at least speed them up.

Having money stimulates the rich to further economic activity that ultimately benefits the rest of us. Needing money stimulates the rest of us to further economic activity that ultimately benefits the rich.

There is no connection between food and health. People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are healed by the health industry, which pays no attention to food. … It follows that there is no connection between healing and health. Hospitals customarily feed their patients poor-quality, awful-tasting, factory-made expensive food and keep them awake all night with various expensive attentions. There is a connection between money and health.

Spirituality

Rehabilitating desire

Desire has a disreputable reputation in religious circles. When most people hear the term, they think of two things: sexual desire or material wants, both of which are often condemned by some religious leaders. The first is one of the greatest gifts from God to humanity; without it the human race would cease to exist. The second is part of our natural desire for a healthy life – for food, shelter, and clothing.

James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life

We tend to think that if we desire something, it is probably something we ought not to want or to have. But … without desire we would never get up in the morning. … We would never have read a book or learned something new. No desire means no life, no growth, no change. Desire is what makes two people create a third person. Desire is what makes crocuses push up through the late-winter soil. Desire is energy, the energy of creativity, the energy of life itself.

Margaret Silf, Wise Choices, as quoted by Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything