Good To Know You! - John Berger's ways of seeing

Merrifield, Andy

Publisher:  Europe Solidaire Sans Frontiers
Date Written:  03/01/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20198

A tribute to the life and work of John Berger, author of the influential 'Ways of Seeing'.




Poetic humanism was John's language, like Wordsworth. His was a finely-textured animal and mineral Marxism that journeyed over distances and across cultures, beyond disciplinary borders and through mental divisions of labour. John, who called himself a "jack of all trades," said writing should be an act of joining things together, making sense of disparate things, and seeing that they’re not so disparate after all. He was driven to demystify productive and creative processes.


A religiosity, this third kind of knowledge, was present in his being and his work in recent years. Not a religiosity of institutions, of churches and commissars, of higher powers; not a God above us, a transcendent creator who offers us freedom only after death in heaven. John's God is monadal and metaphysical, like Spinoza's, a single substance with infinite attributes, inside us, in nature, inside both us and nature, an immanent essence we can tap without meditation or mediators, something we can experiment with, struggle for, sketch out.

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