- Bad Religion.
- Comprehension and fallibility.
- Ignorance and sustainability.
- Two keys to success.
- Are you listening, Mr. President?
[I]t is dangerous to act on the assumption that sure knowledge is complete knowledge – or on the assumption that our knowledge will increase fast enough to outrace the bad consequences of the arrogant use of incomplete knowledge. To trust “progress” or our putative “genius” to solve all the problems that we cause is worse than bad science; it is bad religion.
Wendell Berry, Life Is a Miracle, p. 11.
The fallibility of the human system of thought is always the result of incompleteness. In order to include some things, we invariably exclude others. We can’t include everything because we don’t know everything; we can’t comprehend what comprehends us.
Wendell Berry, Life Is a Miracle, p. 34.
The modern scientific enterprise apparently is directed toward the goal of complete knowledge. If you had complete knowledge, if you knew everything, could you then act? Could you apply what you knew, would you be paralyzed by a surplus of considerations? If you were to map within a circle all possible relationships among all the points along its circumference, you would end up with a black circle – an engorgement of “information”that would not be knowledge, but rather the practical equivalent of the blank circle you began with.
Thus the proposition that it would be good to know everything is probably false. The real question that is always to be addressed is the one that arises from our state of ignorance: How does one act well – sensitively, compassionately, without irreparable damage – on the basis of partial knowledge?
Perhaps the most proper, in the most natural, response to our state of ignorance is not haste to increase the amount of available information, or even to increase knowledge, but rather a lively and convivial engagement with the issues of form, elegance and kindness. These issues of “sustainability” are both scientific and artistic.
Wendell Berry, Life Is a Miracle, p. 149.
“Persistence is the key to success. The other key is knowing when to quit.” (Today’s Dilbert cartoon).
I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t view it as an “abortion” to prevent implantation of a fertilized ovum. If any of them are reading this, let me summarize: “There are a lot of us who do so view it, including Protestants of various stripes. I hope you’re not so illiberal as to contemn our view because some of our institutions have words like ‘Ozarks’ in them.”
Are you listening, Mr. President? Secretary Sebelius?
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