The phone rings. I joyfully answer “Hi Brother” with a big grin. I can hear him smiling on the other end. It’s been a few months since we’ve talked, which is unusual for us. Both growing into our own as people, we continue to share a bond that started before I can remember. I see him coming into his own, falling in love, truly enjoying life. He seems happy. I feel lucky.
I laugh a lot in my life. A LOT. It is loud, boisterous, surprising, and often out of my control. With Brother, I laugh even more. We laugh with each other over nothing, and giggle throughout our conversations. We’ve been warned this can feel to others like “they are missing something.” We often didn’t realize there was something to be in on. We share a pretty strong affinity for sarcasm and not taking ourselves too seriously. I complain about my job and express my fears of never finding a job I like. He gives me his perspective, which is refreshing: find a job you can tolerate and build a great life outside of work. I welcome this comment, although my heart sinks at the possibility of giving up. But, since I am constantly surrounded by people encouraging me to find my right livelihood (through work), it’s nice to hear there are options. Maybe my right livelihood involves something small, but powerful to myself and those around me.
For operations class at BGI, we just read “The Idea of a Local Economy” by Wendell Berry. Berry brings great intelligence and intensity to conversations around the environment and the economy. In this article he expresses his belief that this industrial economy, or as he calls it a total economy, prevents people from utilizing their specific unique talents to contribute to their community. Instead, we are all just cogs in the system, placed where ever the system demands in order to the keep the machine running.
This total economy inherently destroys the idea of dependence on those around you. Berry argues for a more local based economy, stating, “Of course, everything needed locally cannot be produced locally. But a viable neighborhood is a community; and a viable community is made up of neighbors who cherish and protect what they have in common. This is the principle of subsistence.” With this type of economy, citizens begin to ask themselves, “What is here, what is in me, that can lead to something better.?“