Progress and Work

I cannot help myself. My duty as a blogger is to assume that whatever poor soul is still reading my blog is interested in everything I read. Wendell Berry is his usual painfully insightful iconoclastic self in this passage from What Are People For?

As a measure of how far we have “progressed” in our industrial economy, let me quote a part of a sentence from the prayer, “For Every Man in His Work” from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer: “Deliver us, we beseech thee, in our several callings, from the service of mammon, that we may do the work which thou givest us to do, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as thy servants, and to the benefit of our fellow men.” What is astonishing about that prayer is that it is a relic. Throughout the history of the industrial revolution, it has become steadily less prayable. The industrial nations are now divided, almost entirely, into a professional or executive class that has not the least intention of working in truth, beauty, and righteousness, as God’s servants, or to the benefit of their fellow men, and an underclass that has no choice in the matter. Truth, beauty, and righteousness now have, and can have, nothing to do with the economic life of most people. This alone, I think, is sufficient to account for the orientation of most churches to religious feeling, increasingly feckless, as opposed to religious thought or religious behavior.

Berry, What Are People For?, 101

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