Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.



Filed under Environment, Love, Related Thoughts, Self


  1. uneducator

    This post is rather misleading. While the idea may sound clever, behaving randomly and/or irrationally does NOT
    is any way usurp the power of “generals and the politicos”. That’s because people already DO behave irrationally, and irrational behavior can be stochastically predicted. Take a look at the work of Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, for example, who reportedly has mathematical models which predict social phenomena with 90% accuracy.

    No, the only way to reclaim power from the “generals and the politicos” is to see through their scams—a task that requires education and intelligence, not madness or irrationality.

    • john smith

      i understand your critique however i think you are missing the point of the comment. the entire piece is copied from wendell berry. he is not pushing for an overthrow of any powers or trying to usurp anything. he’s discussing a frame of mind more than an ethic for revolution. remember brother or sister that the first revolution must be an internal struggle. i took your advise and looked up mr. mesquita’s work. i found it very silly to be honest. it is clearly divorced from the condition of humanity.

  2. uneducator

    What do you think is so silly about Bruce Bueno de Mesquita’s work?

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