Citizenship, Watershed and Commonwealth

Citizenship Papers: Essays – Wendell Berry – Google Books.

Everyone that knows Wendell understands why he doesn’t use computers. Although I don’t know him personally, my sister and brother-in-law do and I’m staying at their place across Kentucky from the Berry’s in Henry County over here in Ballard County. Debby and Toby, much like Tonya and Wendell are a bit shy when it comes to using the web but those who know me understand why I’m not.

What is it about the web that simply can’t be trusted? I don’t even think about it much any more but I know it’s still there. Like a stream, I just flow around it. The work I do these days, as in the past, involves online community and offline community and I am a living interface between those two parts of the ecosystem. I hope to represent my circles well – honestly, fully, openly and justly. If I am true to the things, people and places I represent, I can also do this work fearlessly.

Those of us who use and “inhabit” the web must understand that we remain a minority, especially from the global ecosystem perspective.  We can think of the Internet as another kind of watershed but the virtual world must never see itself as upstream from the real one. Wendell’s teachings bring my places – the Earthly ones – into focus. In the same way that a map of a place is not the place, the Internet is not the real world.  When we exalt the man-made, we discount the divine. Let’s not be doing that “here” on the web.

The OzoneFarm Experiment looks for balance in the contextual relationship between the Real and the Virtual. If we are serious about saving the planet, promoting understanding, defending our values and living better, we will adjust and fine tune our built environment (which includes our computers, wires and gizmos) in a way that honors our natural environment (which includes our thoughts, observations and ideas). Wendell Berry’s work is as modern and up-to-date as any other conscientious, thinking person on the web or off.

Please do read some Wendell and comment below. Please do get involved in a local permaculture project or community-building adventure and tell us about it.

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