Monday, October 17, 2011


The Corporate Mind

Wendell Berry, The Way of Ignorance and Other Essays (Washington: Shoemaker & Hoard, 2005), pp. 59-60:
It [the corporate mind] does not care who it is, for it is not anybody; it is a mind perfectly disembodied. It does not care where it is so long as its present location yields a greater advantage than any other. It will do anything at all that is necessary, not merely to live, but to aggrandize itself. And it charges its damages indifferently to the public, to nature, and to the future.

The corporate mind at work overthrows all the virtues of the personal mind, or throws them out of account. The corporate mind knows no affection, no desire that is not greedy, no local or personal loyalty, no sympathy or reverence or gratitude, no temperance or thrift or self-restraint. It does not observe the first responsibility of intelligence, which is to know when you don't know or when you are being unintelligent. Try to imagine an official standing up in the high councils of a global corporation or a great public institution to say, "We have grown too big," or "We now have more power than we can responsibly use," or "We must treat our employees as our neighbors," or "We must count ourselves as members of this community," or “We must preserve the ecological integrity of our work places," or "Let us do unto others as we would have them do unto us"—and you will see what I mean.

The corporate mind, on the contrary, justifies and encourages the personal mind in its worst faults and weaknesses, such as greed and servility, and frees it of any need to worry about long-term consequences. For these reliefs, nowadays, the corporate mind is apt to express noisily its gratitude to God.

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