Look to the Land

Without vision the people perish So wrote the poet William Blake Lord Northbourne 1896 1982 was a man of exceptional and comprehensive vision, who diagnosed the sickness of modern society as stemming from the severance of its organic links with the wholeness of life But like his better known younger contemporary E F Schumacher author of Small is Beautiful , whose Without vision the people perish So wrote the poet William Blake Lord Northbourne 1896 1982 was a man of exceptional and comprehensive vision, who diagnosed the sickness of modern society as stemming from the severance of its organic links with the wholeness of life But like his better known younger contemporary E F Schumacher author of Small is Beautiful , whose work developed along very similar lines, Northbourne s occupation as a practicing organic farmer he coined the term was joined to a deep conviction that humanity does not live by bread alone, and that the fullness of life properly integral to human nature demands obedience to sacred law Thus his vision of life came to embrace the interrelationship of God, humanity, and the soil as a unity presupposing a way of life in stark contrast to that of the myopic, mechanististic world he saw encroaching on all sides And so, as it becomes increasingly evident that such a way of life stands to emperil our very future and that of the delicate ecosystem on which all life depends, it is time to re examine the work of this pioneering thinker In an age of specialization and fragmentation, we have much to learn from Northbourne, whose vision of what is required by a truly meaningful and sustainable society embraced religion, farming, the arts, the rural crafts, monetary form, and traditional metaphysics Northbourne s later works, Religion in the Modern World and Looking Back on Progress, present his wider reflections on the Divine and human society, but always with the sensibility of a man who knows the soil, recalling in many ways the writings of Wendell Berry He corresponded with Thomas Merton, as well as mountaineer and Tibetan Buddhist Marco Pallis The Way and the Mountain , who introduced him to the school of perennialist writers Northbourne translated Ren Gu non s The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, described by Huston Smith as one of the truly seminal books of the twentieth century, as well as Frithjof Schuon s Light on Ancient Worlds and Titus Burckhardt s Sacred Art in East and West He was also an accomplished flower gardener and watercolorist, and a frequent contributor to the British periodical Studies in Comparative Religion, described by Schumacher as one of the two most important journals to read Sophia Perennis is republishing all three of Northbourne s works, a fourth volume of uncollected essays spanning agriculture and metaphysics, as well as the 23 volume Collected Writings of Ren Gu non, including The Reign of Quantity Lord Northbourne 1896 1982 was a man of exceptional vision, who already in the 1940s diagnosed in detail the sickness of modern society as stemming from the severance of its organic links with the wholeness of life A leading figure in the early organic farming movement, his writings profoundly affected such other pioneers as Sir Albert Howard, Rolf Gardiner, Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, and H J Massingham His path led him on to a profound study of comparative religion, traditional metaphysics, and the science of symbols, which he employed in incisive observations on the character of modern society His later writings exercised considerable influence on his younger contemporaries E F Schumacher and Thomas Merton, and in many ways anticipate the essays of Wendell Berry The republication of this milestone ecological text will be followed by three volumes of Northbourne s later metaphysical and cultural writings A major text in the organic canon, too long out of print Philip Conford, The Origins of the Organic Movement We have tried to conquer nature by force and by intellect It now remains for us to try the way of love From the book possibly for front cover, if not too long
Look to the Land Without vision the people perish So wrote the poet William Blake Lord Northbourne was a man of exceptional and comprehensive vision who diagnosed the sickness of modern society as stemming

  • Title: Look to the Land
  • Author: Walter Ernest Christopher James
  • ISBN: 9781597310185
  • Page: 476
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Look to the Land”

    1. Without any "easing-in," Look to the Land begins with several pages describing soil. And then erosion. After 6 pages I was tempted to lay it aside in the "I'll have to get back to it when I'm in the right frame of mind" pile. I'm glad I didn't. There's so much all-encompasing philosophy of life in this short book, it would have been a shame to have delayed it. There's so much in fact, that I'm going to have go back and read through it again with a pencil, and maybe two or three more times after [...]

    2. An exceptional book from the 1940s that served as a foundation for the organic farming movement but that is too limited a claim. Lord Northbourne also foretells the focus on the importance of local scale of development and communities of Gar Alperovitz as well as the pastoral, agrarian spirituality of Wendell Berry. Anyone interested in non-industrial agriculture, the environmental, a third way for the economy should spend a few hours reading this book.

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