" None of your readers need me to tell them that the useful work is practical, particular, small and careful: to get away from screens as much as we can, get close to the woods, get close to God, get close to real community. All of the small, old things. Build networks of grounded reality that are not entangled in the wires of the technium. Forge independence."
Esther Lightcap Meek on Wendell Berry, Michael Polanyi, and covenant epistemology.
One answer from Kingsnorth’s fiction lies in limits. No human, nor all of us put together, is sovereign over the fate of the world, despite the unprecedented power we enjoy over life and death within it.
When Petrarch uses Augustine to call himself out for being bound and dragged down by the “chains of love and glory,” students are forced to consider what it is they are pursuing, in college and in life.
If human beings flourish from their inner core rather than in the realm of impact and results, then the inner work of learning is fundamental to human happiness, as far from pointless wheel spinning as are the forms of tenderness we owe our children or grandchildren.
Both Prior and Gibbs agree that ultimately virtue orients us toward one end, to “love God and enjoy Him forever.” Loving God is difficult; it too requires our attention in a culture that is constantly distracting us. And while virtue brings about human flourishing that can be observed from the outside, loving God requires us to remember who we are on the inside. It is the place where we are to be good alone … in the presence of One.