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Virtues of RenewalWendell Berry's Sustainable Forms$
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Jeffrey Bilbro

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813176406

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813176406.001.0001

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Sustaining Virtuous Forms

Sustaining Virtuous Forms

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction Sustaining Virtuous Forms
Source:
Virtues of Renewal
Author(s):

Jeffrey Bilbro

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813176406.003.0001

The introduction analyzes the different forms, values, and virtues that are embedded in an industrial economy and contrasts them with those that characterize a sustainable economy. Berry’s vision critiques the industrial grammar of specialization, competition, and capital that underlies our contemporary way of life, shaping areas as disparate as agriculture, medicine, education, science, architecture, aesthetics, and energy. Though such an approach has proven remarkably effective in some ways, particularly in its ability to solve isolated problems, Berry argues that these industrial forms of life contribute to disease, are vulnerable to disruption, and cause lasting damage to their environments. Instead, Berry challenges us to imagine more harmonious, formally complex solutions to our problems, and his standard for lasting, sustainable solutions is health. Through its formal order, health accounts for the one fundamental reality that an industrial logic seeks to ignore or conquer—death. Sustainable economies practice virtues of renewal and return, cultivating death so that it serves life in ways that are analogous to the organic fertility cycle. In this way, such economies enable their members to practice resurrection.

Keywords:   industrial economy, sustainable economy, death, health, renewal

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