Real simple

This, like many of Wendell Berry’s quotables, is very ponderable observation, though it raises some slippery questions: since everything around us reveals itself, under scrutiny, to be nearly botomlessly complex, ignoring most of that complexity is not just an unfortunate foible of the mind; it’s its job. I suppose that sort of pruning is included in Berry’s “just response.” But is that just saying that the things worth staying connected to are worth staying connected to, and the things worth ignoring are indeed worth ignoring?

Simplicity means that you have brought things to a kind of unity in yourself; you have made certain connections. That is, you have to make a just response to the real complexity of life in this world. People have tried to simplify themselves by severing the connections. That doesn’t work. Severing connections makes complication. These bogus attempts at simplification ignore or despise the real complexity of the world. And ignoring complexity makes complication—in other words, a mess.


from “Field Observations: An Interview with Wendell Berry,” by Jordan Fisher-Smith, Orion Magazine, Autumn 1993 :: via The Curator

Originally published at culture-making.com.

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