My talented sister, writer Liz Windhorst Harmer, recently gave me a copy of the New Collected Poems by Wendell Berry. She immediately pointed me to one particular piece, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front. The words of this beautiful poem resonated deeply with my own feelings about our (sick) society.
Berry’s piece reminded me that we must continually find ways to challenge the status quo. Our society dictates that life is about profit and power. That a person’s worth can be measured by her salary, or the brand of clothing that she wears. Berry asserts that we must reject this vision of reality. That each and every day we must do things which our society will not–and cannot–understand:
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have a be poor.
Love somebody who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
In many ways, I believe, our society coerces us to reject many important aspects of what makes us human. It is not human to worship money. It is not human to worship power. It is not human to see relationship merely as a means of economic exchange.
Each time we do things that our societal system cannot compute, we reclaim a little piece of our hearts, our souls. We make our world a place that is just a little more hospitable for everybody.
You can check out Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front below.