Insight and Humour from a Dead British Bloke

Every now and then I like to jump into a time machine and read works of old. G.K. Chesterton was born in London in 1874, he was a prolific critic, author and journalist. I find his writings challenging, entertaining, absurd and insightful. I hope you enjoy reading these quotes from the wonderful G.K. Chesterton as much as I did.

Please feel free to leave a comment!

“If you’d take your head home and boil it for a turnip it might be useful. I can’t say. But it might.”

“Always be comic in a tragedy”

“Passion makes every detail
important.”

“[T]he most comic things of all are exactly the things most worth doing–such as making love.”

“It is easy to be solemn, it is so hard to be frivolous.”

“She had never really listened to anyone in her life; which, some said, was why she had survived.”

“It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.”

“Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.”

“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

“There is the great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.”

“Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.”

“It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything.”

“A beetle may or may not be inferior to a man — the matter awaits demonstration; but if he were inferior by ten thousand fathoms, the fact remains that there is probably a beetle view of things of which a man is entirely ignorant. If he wishes to conceive that point of view, he will scarcely reach it by persistently revelling in the fact that he is not a beetle.”

“If the devil tells you something is too fearful to look at, look at it. If he says something is too terrible to hear, hear it. If you think some truth unbearable, bear it.”

“I’ve searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees.”

“I earnestly hope that all children will spoil this book by painting the illustrations. I wanted to do this myself but the publishers would not let me. But let the colours you lay on be violent, gorgeous, terrific colours, because my feelings are like that.”

“All men are tragic…All men are comic…Every man is important if he loses his life; and every man is funny if he loses his hat.”

“We do not want joy and anger to neutralize each other and produce a surly contentment; we want a fiercer delight and a fiercer discontent. We have to feel the universe at once as an ogre’s castle, to be stormed, and yet as our own cottage, to which we can return to at evening.”

“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.”

“I am going to hold a pistol to the head of the Modern Man. But I shall not use it to kill him–only to bring him to life.”

“You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion.”

“Do not be proud of the fact that your grandmother was shocked at something which your are accustomed to seeing or hearing without being shocked. … It may be that your grandmother was an extremely lively and vital animal and that you are a paralytic.”

“There are two ways of dealing with nonsense in this world. One way is to put nonsense in the right place; as when people put nonsense into nursery rhymes. The other is to put nonsense in the wrong place; as when they put it into educational addresses, psychological criticisms, and complaints against nursery rhymes or other normal amusements of mankind.”

“Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.”

“Humour can get in under the door while seriousness is still fumbling at the handle”

“Love is not blind; that is the last thing that it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind.”

“It is inspiriting without doubt to whizz in a motor-car round the earth, to feel Arabia as a whirl of sand or China as a flash of rice-fields. But Arabia is not a whirl of sand and China is not a flash of rice-fields. They are ancient civilizations with strange virtues buried like treasures. If we wish to understand them it must not be as tourists or inquirers, it must be with the loyalty of children and the great patience of poets. To conquer these places is to lose them. The man standing in his own kitchen-garden, with fairyland opening at the gate, is the man with large ideas. His mind creates distance; the motor-car stupidly destroys it….”

“Our age is obviously the Nonsense Age; the wiser sort of nonsense being provided for the children and the sillier sort of nonsense for the grown-up people.”

“I have never understood them,” he said. “Those two creatures I see everywhere, stumping along the ground, first one and then the other. I have never been content with the current explanation that they were my feet.”

“I have little doubt that when St. George had killed the dragon he was heartily afraid of the princess.”

“But if you convey to a woman that something ought to be done, there is always a dreadful danger that she will suddenly do it.”

“The simplest truth about man is that he is a very strange being; almost in the sense of being a stranger on the earth. In all sobriety, he has much more of the external appearance of one bringing alien habits from another land than of a mere growth of this one. He cannot sleep in his own skin; he cannot trust his own instincts. He is at once a creator moving miraculous hands and fingers and a kind of cripple. He is wrapped in artificial bandages called clothes; he is propped on artificial crutches called furniture. His mind has the same doubtful liberties and the same wild limitations. Alone among the animals, he is shaken with the beautiful madness called laughter; as if he had caught sight of some secret in the very shape of the universe hidden from the universe itself. Alone among the animals he feels the need of averting his thought from the root realities of his own bodily being; of hiding them as in the presence of some higher possibility which creates the mystery of shame.”

“There is no way in which a man can earn a star or deserve a sunset.”

“We shall have gone deeper than the deeps of heaven and grown older than the oldest angels before we feel, even in its first faint vibrations, the everlasting violence of that double passion with which God hates and loves the world. ”

“The real great man is the man who makes every man feel great.”

“Stories of magic alone can express my sense that life is not only a pleasure but a kind of eccentric privilege.”

“Like every book I never wrote, it is by far the best book I have ever written.”

“If there were no God, there would be no atheists.”

“The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.”

“The word “good” has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.”

“Our civilization has decided, and very justly decided, that determining the guilt or innocence of men is a thing too important to be trusted to trained men. It wishes for light upon that awful matter, it asks men who know no more law than I know, but who can feel the thing that I felt in that jury box. When it wants a library catalogued, or the solar system discovered, or any trifle of that kind, it uses up its specialists. But when it wishes anything done which is really serious, it collects twelve of the ordinary men standing round. The same thing was done, if I remember right, by the Founder of Christianity.”

“For these disguises did not disguise, but reveal.”

“Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all… As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength.”

“The duty of the artist lies in keeping alive a sense of wonder in the world.”

“Christianity was beauty created by controlling a million monsters of ugliness . . . modern art and science practically mean having the million monsters and being unable to control them…”

“We have never even begun to understand a people until we have found something that we do not understand. So long as we find the character easy to read, we are reading into it our own character.”

“Life is indeed terribly complicated—to a man who has lost his principles.”

“Where does a wise man hide a leaf? In the forest. But what does he do if there is no forest? He grows a forest to hide it in.”

“The issue is now quite clear. It is between light and darkness and every one must choose his side.”

“Surely we cannot take an open question like the supernatural and shut it with a bang, turning the key of the madhouse on all the mystics of history. You cannot take the region of the unknown and calmly say that, though you know nothing about it, you know all the gates are locked. We do not know enough about the unknown to know that it is unknowable.”

Note: the quotes are a small sample from the following website, to read more please click onto this link.this link.

20121129-073926.jpg

6 thoughts on “Insight and Humour from a Dead British Bloke

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s