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Wendell Berry’s Advice to Graduates

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Wendell Berry

“The logic of success is radically different from the logic of vocation.”

We’re big fans of the farmer, writer, activist and believer Wendell Berry. May is graduation season. Most commencement addresses are forgettable, but Berry’s address to Bellarmine University students will stay with you. In it he urges students to resist, “You must refuse to accept the common delusion that a career is an adequate context for a life. The logic of success insinuates that self-enlargement is your only responsibility, and that any job, any career will be satisfying if you succeed in it. But I can tell you, on the authority of much evidence, that a lot of people highly successful by that logic are painfully dissatisfied. I can tell you further that you cannot live in a career, and that satisfaction can come only from your life. To give satisfaction, your life will have to be lived in a family, a neighborhood, a community . . . to which you belong.” Read the whole speech here: Wendell Berry and the Meaning of Higher Education. For more read David Foster Wallace’s commencement address.