But also, I was walking up Clinton Street last night and found a stack of books, put out in the Brooklyn manner (though it turns out they were put out by a friend's boyfriend, also in a Brooklyn manner), including Wendell Berry's In the Presence of Fear, a collection of three essays including the title essay, first published online by Orion soon after September 11. Berry was writing in response to the attack but ranges far beyond, and as always out-poetries everyone.
"VI. The paramount doctrine of the economic and technological euphoria of recent decades has been that everything depends on innovation. It was understood as desirable, and even necessary, that we should go on and on from one technological innovation to the next, which would cause the economy to "grow" and make everything better and better. This of course implied at every point a hatred of the past, of all things inherited and free. All things superseded in our progress of innovations, whatever their value might have been, were discounted as of no value at all.
VII. We did not anticipate anything like what has now happened. We did not foresee that all our sequence of innovations might be at once overridden by a greater one: the invention of a new kind of war that would turn our previous innovations against us, discovering and exploiting the debits and the dangers that we had ignored. We never considered the possibility that we might be trapped in the webwork of communication and transport that was supposed to make us free."Posted by dbrown at April 10, 2005 08:23 PM