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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nurturing vs. Exploiting

"The more we exploit nature, the more our options are reduced, until we have only one: to fight for survival."
-Mo Udall


exploit: make full use of and derive benefit of
nurture: care for and encourage the growth or development of

Part of my journey has been to change my perspective of the world. One of the biggest things is trying to become less exploitative and more nurturing, not just as it relates to gardening, but in all aspects, especially in personal relationships. I could elaborate, but I think the following passage pretty clearly sums it all up. (If you don't know who Wendell Berry is yet, find out. And read his books.)

"The exploiter is a specialist, an expert; the nurturer is not. The standard of the exploiter is efficiency; the standard of the nurturer is care. The exploiter's goal is money, profit; the nurturer's goal is health-his land's health, his own, his family's, his community's, his country's. Whereas the exploiter asks of a piece of land only how much and how quickly it can be made to produce, the nurturer asks a question that is much more complex and difficult: What is its carrying capacity? (That is: How much can be taken from it without diminishing it? What can it produce dependably for an indefinite time?) The exploiter wishes to earn as much a possible by as little work as possible; the nurturer expects, certainly, to have a decent living from his work, but his characteristic wish is to work as well as possible. The competence of the exploiter is in organization; that of the nurturer in order-a human order, that is, that accommodates itself both to other order and to mystery. The exploiter typically serves an institution or organization; the nurturer serves land, household, community, place. The exploiter thinks in terms of numbers, quantities, "hard facts"; the nurturer in terms of character, condition, quality, kind."

-Wendell Berry, from The Unsettling of America

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