Skip to main content

It's a Miraculous Life

So says Wendell Berry as he gives the metaphorical finger to E.O. Wilson and all philosophical materialists.

In the pictured book, Berry takes Wilson and his reductionistic tendencies to the whipping post: ". . .[H]e cannot suspect, the possibility that relgious faith may be a way of knowing things that cannot otherwise be known." J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis said the same thing of myth. Wilson, in his book, Consilience, wants to make every human endeavor subservient to science and conform to the scientific method as a way of understanding all things.

A minor problem, perhaps, is the tendency of materialism to objectify the world, dividing it from the "objective observer" who studies it. The world thus becomes "the environment," a word which Mr. Wilson uses repeatedly when speaking of conservation, and which means "surroundings," a place that one is in but not of. The question raised by this objectifying procedure and its vocabulary is whether the problems of conservation can be accurately defined by an objective observer who observes at an intellectual remove, forgetting that he eats, drinks, and breathes the so-called environment.

In all, Berry maintains, in this book-length essay, that life is too complex, too varied, and too wonder-full to be reduced to a formula, observation, or theory. He isn't anti-science, just anti-scientism. This is another fine addition to my growing Berry library.


Popular posts from this blog

Dirty Hands Can Save You from Hell

"Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place." --Pope Francis, Laudato Si
     Wonder and awe abound in the natural world for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

     Perhaps we are caught short by a vibrant purple emanating from the petals of a wild lupine. We might stare wide-eyed at the lazy circles of a turkey vulture soaring on thermal air currents. Even the most agoraphobic city-dweller can find something beautiful about a landscape even if it's simply the warm and varied red, yellow, and orange of a sunset glowing on a building.

     "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" asserts the Psalmist. If that verse is true, why don't we live like it? Why are we flabbergasted trying to come up with the names of the many plants and animals we pass by everyday?

     All people respond to beauty in some way or another--even those who have willingly or unwi…

Worth Quoting

"Therefore whoever is not illuminated by such great splendors in created things is blind. Anyone who is not awakened by such great outcries is deaf. Anyone who is not led from such great effects to give praise to God is mute. Anyone who does not turn to the First Principle as a result of such signs is a fool.Therefore open your eyes, alert your spiritual ears, unlock your lips and apply your heart, so that in all the creatures you may see, hear, praise, love and adore, magnify and honor God, lest the entire world rise up against you." -- St. Bonaventure, Itinerarium mentis in Deum

Worth Quoting

"...[K]eep in mind that a human being is not made for the processing of data, but for wisdom; not for the utilitarian satisfaction of appetite, but for love; not for the domination of nature, but for participation in it; not for the autonomy of an isolated self, but for communion." --Anthony Esolen,  Foreword to Beauty in the Word by Stratford Caldecott.