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Like almost everybody else, I am hooked to the energy corporations, which I do not admire. In my work, I try to be as little hooked to them as possible.As a farmer, I do almost all of my work with horses.I do not see why I should not be as scientific about this as the next fellow: when somebody has used a computer to write work that is demonstrably better than Dante's, and when this better is demonstrably attributable to the use of a computer, then I will speak of computcr with a more respectful tone of voice, though I still will not buy one. The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.2.
To the quill pen aficionado, the benefits obtained from elegant calligraphy might well outweigh all others.
I have no particular desire to see Berry use a word processor; or he doesn't like computers, that's fine with me.
It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.8.
It should come from a small, privately owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance and repair.9.
I would be happy to join Berry in a protest against strip mining, but I intend to keep plugging this computer into the wall with a clear conscience. I enjoyed reading Berry's declaration of intent never to buy a personal computer in the same way that I enjoy reading about the belief systems of unfamiliar tribal cultures.
I tried to imagine a tool that would meet Berry's criteria for superiority To his old manual typewriter. It is cheaper, smaller, more energy-efficient, human-powered, easily repaired, and non-disruptive of existing relationships.She also understands, sometimes better than I do, what ought to be said. I would hate to think that my work as a writer could not be done without a direct dependence on strip-mined coal.We have, I think, a literary cottage industry that works well and pleasantly. How could I write conscientiously against the rape of nature if I were, in the act of writing, Implicated in the rape ?It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships. LETTERS Wendell Berry provides writers enslaved by the computer with a handy alternative: Wife—a low-tech energy-saving device.1987 After the foregoing essay, first published in the New England Review and Bread Loaf Quarterly, was reprinted in Harper's, the Harper's editors published the following letters in response and permitted me a reply. Drop a pile of handwritten notes on Wife and you get back a finished manuscript, edited while it was typed. Wife meets all of Berry's uncompromising standards for technological innovation: she's cheap, repairable near home, and good for the family structure.My final and perhaps mv best reason for not owning a computer is that I do not wish to fool myself.I disbelieve, and therefore strongly resent, the assertion that I or anybody else could write better or more easily with a computer than with a pencil.If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.6.It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.7.Best of all, Wife is politically correct because she breaks a writer's "direct dependence on strip-mined coal." History teaches us that Wife can also be used to beat rugs and wash clothes by hand, thus eliminating the need for the vacuum cleaner and washing machine, two more nasty machines that threaten the act of writing. I have no quarrel with Berry because he prefers to write with pencil and paper; that is his choice.But he implies that I and others are somehow impure because we choose to write on a computer. Their shortcoming is not that they produce electricity but how they go about it.