Category Archives: Wendell Berry

Quote: “The earth is what we all have in common”

Earth_Common

Quote of the day from the American poet, activist and author Wendell Berry.

Berry has written extensively on politics, the environment and the disruptive impact of agribusiness on traditional values and communities in the United States. Many have called him a contemporary William Faulkner due to the power of his prose.

While I do not agree with all of Berry’s views, it is not possible to deny his powerful prose style and nuanced thinking on a range of issues.

One of Berry’s concepts is “solving for patterns”, outlined in his 1981 essay of the same name. While the essay makes extensive reference to solving problems inherent with contemporary agricultural practices, I think his approach to problem solving has broader application.

In essence: when devising solutions do not consider them in isolation, but try to address many issues and remain mindful of the impacts:

“A good solution improves the balances, symmetries, or harmonies within a pattern – it is a qualitative solution – rather than enlarging or complicating some part of a pattern at the expense or in neglect of the rest.”

And that:

“A good solution solves more than one problem, and it does not make new problems. I am talking about health as opposed to almost any cure, coherence of pattern as opposed to almost any solution produced piecemeal or in isolation.”

When one considers the challenge climate change presents, “solving for patterns” is a concept well worth exploring.

Image source: Ilya Genkin (Flicker)

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