Tuesday, November 2, 2010

An Agrarian View of Health

Agrarianist Wendell Berry believed and wrote that we live with and from others in extensive webs of interrelatedness. In other words, our happiness and health follow from the acceptance of responsibility for our interdependence. Put a third way, we cannot hurt the Earth without hurting our bodies.

In his essay, "The Body And The Earth", Berry has a section devoted to health. Although this selection was written in 1977, I think you will find that it is just as relevant today as it was 40+ years ago. Please read it, think about it, and begin to think about how you can change your approach to health.

In it he writes:

"It is therefore absurd to approach the subject of health piecemeal with a departmentalized band of specialists. A medical doctor uninterested in nutrition, in agriculture, in the wholesomeness of mind and spirit is as absurd as a farmer who is uninterested in health. Our fragmentation of this subject cannot be our cure, because it is our disease. The body cannot be whole alone. Persons cannot be whole alone. It is wrong to think that bodily health is compatible with spiritual confusion or cultural disorder, or with polluted air and water or impoverished soil. Intellectually, we knwo that these patterns of interdependence exist; we understand them better now perhaps than we ever have before; yet modern social and cultural patterns contradict them and make it difficult or impossible to honor them in practice. To try to heal the body alone is to collaborate in the destruction of the body. Healing is impossible in loneliness; it is the opposite of loneliness."