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Wendell Berry and Higher EducationCultivating Virtues of Place$
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Jack R. Baker and Jeffrey Bilbro

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813169026

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813169026.001.0001

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Imagining the Tree of Wisdom

Imagining the Tree of Wisdom

The Recovery of the University

(p.25) 1 Imagining the Tree of Wisdom
Wendell Berry and Higher Education

Jack R. Baker

Jeffrey Bilbro

Wendell Berry

University Press of Kentucky

Berry’s novella Remembering powerfully depicts the importance of the imagination in healing the dismemberment and displacement caused by our contemporary mode of life and education, so this chapter opens with a reading of Andy Catlett’s journey to reimagine the health and beauty of his home, thus regaining his desire to return. An education that hopes to encourage students to serve the health of their communities must offer particular, complex images of health that they can desire and work toward. Most universities today are unable to clearly articulate what end they serve, so they lapse into merely providing students with career training. While this is an important part of a university’s task, it fails to provide students with any vision of a healthy place. We propose an education rooted in and united by place. Such an education would combat the motivations to obtain money and power that have led to the current fragmentation of academic disciplines. Thus, we follow Berry’s suggestion that universities adopt the medieval image of knowledge as a rooted tree.

Keywords:   Remembering, imagination, wisdom, tree of knowledge

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