August 23, 2010

17 Worthwhile Quotes of G.K. Chesterton

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936) was a British writer, critic and author of verse, essays, novels, and short stories.

1. "Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance." The Speaker (15 December 1900)

2. "The truth is that Tolstoy, with his immense genius, with his colossal faith, with his vast fearlessness and vast knowledge of life, is deficient in one faculty and one faculty alone. He is not a mystic; and therefore he has a tendency to go mad. Men talk of the extravagances and frenzies that have been produced by mysticism; they are a mere drop in the bucket. In the main, and from the beginning of time, mysticism has kept men sane. The thing that has driven them mad was logic.

...The only thing that has kept the race of men from the mad extremes of the convent and the pirate-galley, the night-club and the lethal chamber, has been mysticism — the belief that logic is misleading, and that things are not what they seem." Tolstoy (1903)

3. "Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." Twelve Types (1903) Charles II

4. "Briefly, you can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it." Daily News (25th February, 1905)

5. "When people impute special vices to the Christian Church, they seem entirely to forget that the world (which is the only other thing there is) has these vices much more. The Church has been cruel; but the world has been much more cruel. The Church has plotted; but the world has plotted much more. The Church has been superstitious; but it has never been so superstitious as the world is when left to itself." Illustrated London News (14 December 1907)

6. "The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types -- the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution." Illustrated London News (1924)

7. "The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man." The Book of Job: An introduction (1907)

8. "When learned men begin to use their reason, then I generally discover that they haven't got any." Illustrated London News (7 November 1908)

9. "Among the rich you will never find a really generous man even by accident. They may give their money away, but they will never give themselves away; they are egotistic, secretive, dry as old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it." A Miscellany of Men (1912)

10. "These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." Illustrated London News (11 August 1928)

11. "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions." Illustrated London News (19 April 1930)

12. "What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism." Sidelights on New London and Newer New York (1932)

13. "For children are innocent and love justice, while most of us are wicked and naturally prefer mercy." The Coloured Lands (1938)

14. "The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful." Orthodoxy (1908)

15. "The great ideals of the past failed not by being outlived (which must mean over-lived), but by not being lived enough. Mankind has not passed through the Middle Ages. Rather mankind has retreated from the Middle Ages in reaction and rout. The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried." What's Wrong With The World (1910)

16. "A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it." The Everlasting Man (1925)

17. "It's the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense." The Oracle of the Dog (1923)