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What Coronavirus is Teaching Us About our Health—Gracy Olmstead on Wendell Berry's "Health is Membev

Updated: Feb 25


A quarter century ago, Wendell Berry gave a speech about healthcare that would later be published as “Health is Membership”. Addressing an industry so often characterised by technological efficiency and profit maximisation, Berry defined health not as the absence of sickness, but as wholeness.


In this recent essay, Gracy Olmstead unpacks Berry’s classic speech and applies it to our pandemic-stricken moment.


Full health rejects the division and disintegration of culture, community, and ecology. It rejects the separation of family from family, as well as the specialized view of the self that severs body from soul—or even parts of our body from other parts. …


Our struggles with the COVID-19 virus are far from over. But our attempts to find healing in days to come will not be limited to a vaccine. They must be deeper, wider: taking into account all the multitudinous severances which suggest that our world needs wholeness and love.


Read "Wendell Berry’s Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic" over at Breaking Ground. For a podcast devoted to the contemporary relevance of Berry's classic essay, check out Health is Membership: 25 Years Later.

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