We have an opportunity to examine more carefully some of the assumptions that have informed the way we think about the nature of a good life. And I would suggest that we do well to start, as Simone Weil did, with a consideration of the full range of human needs, clarified by Ivan Illich’s searching critique of the needs engendered in us by industrial (and now digital) institutions, and oriented toward a more robust vision of a good society as Albert Borgmann urged us to imagine.
Can you think of someone less rooted than Illich? He was a Gandalfian figure, a tumbling tumbleweed. And he made heavy use of modern transport, telecommunications, etc. while denouncing them all. What does that tell you?
I think "roots" is the least examined and most problematic concept entertained in this essay. I'd like to know more about how Weil defined her terms. I hope it's not like Berry's Boomers and Stickers, which is such a reductive binary, it doesn't even work for the small town life he applied it to.
"Roots" like "commmunity" seem to be like "cancer" if people are using the word a lot, things are bad. If trees talked to us, I don't think they'd talk about how their roots are feeling, like old people discussing joints. Their roots are *how* they talk.
"There is a general lament about our (‘our’) inability to converse across political and moral differences—across conflicting cosmologies, even. But these conversations are totally possible. In fact, they’re not particularly difficult. All they require is unshakeable integrity and deep trust."
I love this quote and would like to cite it, but the link above it is broken. Can you tell if the post from which it is taken still exists on the site?