Home of the Free

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In Home of the Free, Wendell Berry, the author takes issue with the way people go through life wanting work and lifestyles to be easier without thinking of the consequence of what it takes to live life “free”. They have the modern day conveniences to help them from getting their hands dirty or having to do anything that someone else can do for them. Berry implies the only way to avoid doing work that might get their hands dirty or feel unsafe doing or, is that they would have to be put into a protective capsule or that person would have to die.

Berry establishes one of these points while he is writing about a team of engineers from Purdue, who foresaw that by 2001, everything would be done by remote. The reality is that this is no longer a projection, it was already happening. Think of the remotes in daily life. There is a remote starter for your car, remote power to turn on and off lights in your home, a remote to open doors, even our cell phones are now a remote for many of these different things. In conclusion to this he asks, “Where does satisfaction come from?” There would be a lot of “efficiency, production, and consumption”, but little satisfaction. He notes that the world of our future is “already established among us, and is growing”.

Berry brings up the example of two advertisements that talk about two different products, yet are actually discussing the same concept. That concept being, making ones life easier so that you can go on to do the things you like to do; and leave the thing you “hate” to someone else. The first advertisement is for a tractor that reads: “ Introducing a sound-guard body… A down to earth space capsule.” It talks about keeping the farmer free of dust, noise, heat, cold, storms, fumes, and keeps the farmer safe. The second advertisement is for a condominium housing development where you don’t do any of the upkeep of the property that you own. The work that you “hate” to do, the mowing, shoveling, painting,...
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