Words per Minute #28: Berry on Change
I’m not a leader. I am, above all, in no way comparable to Gandhi, who was an ascetic. I love the world’s abundance of ordinary pleasures. And he was a leader. I have neither the character nor the abilities required for leadership. And I want no followers. If I looked back and saw myself being followed, my only wish would be to escape. I am a mostly solitary man, always in need of quiet, who has written some essays inviting, not converts or followers, but honest judgment…
In fact, Madhu, what we both want to happen—a counter movement to greed and waste and the dominance of corporations—is already happening. It is happening simply because a lot of people have seen things needing to be done and are doing them. They are at work without grants, without official instruction or permission, and mostly unnoticed by the politicians and the news industry. Eventually this movement will have political powers which will be in some ways regrettable. I hope it will have the sense and strength to remain locally oriented, and to resist the simplification and corruption that will come with power.
This movement involves a lot of people—as I know—who have never read a word I’ve written, who don’t know my name. And it would be happening now, for the same reasons, if I had never written a word. It would be happening because the justifications of individual and corporate greed are now exhausted, and better ways are available. The better ways will be helped along, as we know, by large historical forces such as rising energy costs, rising ecological and social costs, and the inability of governments, large institutions, and corporations to respond effectively.
October 8, 2012