G.K. Chesterton Quotes

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1. “Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”

Tags : Cheese Poetry
Source : Alarms and Discursions

2. “I am not absentminded. It is the presence of mind that makes me unaware of everything else.”

Tags : Attention Books Humor Mind Wit

3. “All habits are bad habits. (...) Madness does not come by breaking out, but by giving in; by settling down in some dirty, little, self-repeating circle of ideas; by being tamed.”

Tags : Giving In Habits Madness Rebellionllion Tamed
Source : Manalive

4. “Happiness is not only a hope, but also in some strange manner a memory ... we are all kings in exile.”

Tags : Catholicism Exile Happiness Home
Source : The Thing

5. “That God should allow good people to be as bestially stupid as that--rose against me like a towering blasphemy.”

Tags : Stupidity
Source : Manalive

6. “Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.”

Tags : Art Morality
Source : Orthodoxy

7. “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.”

Tags : Ethics Firearms

8. “There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people.”

Tags : Boredom Human Nature Ignorance

9. “Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.”

Tags : Education Ignorance Indoctrination

10. “According to most philosophers, God in making the world enslaved it. According to Christianity, in making it, He set it free. God had written, not so much a poem, but rather a play; a play he had planned as perfect, but which had necessarily been left to human actors and stage-managers, who had since made a great mess of it.”

Tags : Free Will Religion
Source : Orthodoxy

11. “To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”

Tags : Free Speech

12. “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

Tags : Life Passion War

13. “The things in this world which are thoroughly insignificant are precisely the things which are singularly rare.”

Tags : Rare The Coloured Lands

14. “..."vers libre," (free verse) or nine-tenths of it, is not a new metre any more than sleeping in a ditch is a new school of architecture.”

Tags : Archtecture Free Verse Free Verse Poetry Funny Funny But True Poetry
Source : Fancies Versus Fads

15. “The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. it is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists.”

Tags : Tyranny
Source : Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State

16. “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.”

Tags : Bogey Bogeyman Dragon Dragons Fairy Tales Inspirational
Source : Tremendous Trifles

17. “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”

Tags : Adventure Inconvenience Perspectives

18. “For children are innocent and love justice, while most of us are wicked and naturally prefer mercy.”

Tags : Innocence Justice Mercy Wickedness

19. “It may well be on such a night of clouds and cruel colors that there is brought forth upon the earth such a portent as a respectable poet. You say you are a poet of law; I say you are a contradiction in terms. I only wonder there were not comets and earthquakes on the night you appeared in this garden.”

Tags : Clouds Comets Cruel Colors Earthquakes Garden Night Poets Respectable
Source : The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

20. “Family is the theatre of the spiritual drama, the place where things happen, especially the things that matter.”

Tags : Drama Family Theatre Things That Matter

21. “A pickpocket is obviously a champion of private enterprise. But it would perhaps be an exaggeration to say that a pickpocket is a champion of private property. The point about Capitalism and Commercialism, as conducted of late, is that they have really preached the extension of business rather than the preservation of belongings; and have at best tried to disguise the pickpocket with some of the virtues of the pirate.”

Tags : Business Capitalism Commerce Goods Property Theft
Source : The Outline of Sanity

22. “We all disapprove of prostitution; but we do not all approve of purity. The only way to discuss the social evil is to get at once to the social ideal. We can all see the national madness; but what is national sanity?”

Tags : Evil Good Insanity National Troubles Social Problems
Source : The Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton, Vol. 4: What's Wrong with the World / The Superstition of Divorce / Eugenics and Other Evils / Divorce versus Democracy / Social Reform versus Birth Control

23. “Most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules; it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities.”

Tags : Freedom Laws Personal Autonomy Responsibilities Rules
Source : What's Wrong with the World

24. “To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labours, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, cakes and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can imagine how this can exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.”

Tags : Gender Roles Motherhood Womanhood

25. “They said that I should lose my ideals and begin to believe in the methods of practical politicians. Now, I have not lost my ideals in the least; my faith in fundamentals is exactly what it always was. What I have lost is my childlike faith in practical politics.”

Tags : Faith Idealism Ideals Politics Pragmatism
Source : Orthodoxy

26. “He felt the full warmth of that pleasure from which the proud shut themselves out; the pleasure which not only goes with humiliation, but which almost is humiliation. Men who have escaped death by a hair have it, and men whose love is returned by a woman unexpectedly, and men whose sins are forgiven them. Everything his eye fell on it feasted on, not aesthetically, but with a plain, jolly appetite as of a boy eating buns. He relished the squareness of the houses; he liked their clean angles as if he had just cut them with a knife. The lit squares of the shop windows excited him as the young are excited by the lit stage of some promising pantomime. He happened to see in one shop which projected with a bulging bravery on to the pavement some square tins of potted meat, and it seemed like a hint of a hundred hilarious high teas in a hundred streets of the world. He was, perhaps, the happiest of all the children of men. For in that unendurable instant when he hung, half slipping, to the ball of St. Paul's, the whole universe had been destroyed and re-created.”

Tags : Humiliation Pleasure
Source : The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton Volume 07: The Ball and the Cross; Manalive; the Flying Inn

27. “Variability is one of the virtues of a woman. It avoids the crude requirement of polygamy. So long as you have one good wife you are sure to have a spiritual harem".”

Tags : Polygamy Variability Wife Women

28. “Realism is simply Romanticism that has lost its reason...that is its reason for existing.”

Tags : Realism
Source : Alarms and Discursions

29. “Moderate strength is shown in violence, supreme strength is shown in levity.”

Tags : Laughter Strength Violence
Source : The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

30. “For even the most dehumanized modern fantasies depend on some older and simpler figure; the adventures may be mad, but the adventurer must be sane.”

Tags : Adventurer
Source : The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

31. “We men and women are all in the same boat, upon a stormy sea. We owe to each other a terrible and tragic loyalty.”

Tags : Brotherhood Of Man Interdependence Loyalty
Source : The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton Volume 28: The Illustrated London News, 1908-1910

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

Tags : Alcohol Drinking Happy
Source : Heretics

33. “A Second Childhood.”When all my days are endingAnd I have no song to sing,I think that I shall not be too oldTo stare at everything;As I stared once at a nursery doorOr a tall tree and a swing.Wherein God’s ponderous mercy hangsOn all my sins and me,Because He does not take awayThe terror from the treeAnd stones still shine along the roadThat are and cannot be.Men grow too old for love, my love,Men grow too old for wine,But I shall not grow too old to seeUnearthly daylight shine,Changing my chamber’s dust to snowTill I doubt if it be mine.Behold, the crowning mercies melt,The first surprises stay;And in my dross is dropped a giftFor which I dare not pray:That a man grow used to grief and joyBut not to night and day.Men grow too old for love, my love,Men grow too old for lies;But I shall not grow too old to seeEnormous night arise,A cloud that is larger than the worldAnd a monster made of eyes.Nor am I worthy to unlooseThe latchet of my shoe;Or shake the dust from off my feetOr the staff that bears me throughOn ground that is too good to last,Too solid to be true.Men grow too old to woo, my love,Men grow too old to wed;But I shall not grow too old to seeHung crazily overheadIncredible rafters when I wakeAnd I find that I am not dead.A thrill of thunder in my hair:Though blackening clouds be plain,Still I am stung and startledBy the first drop of the rain:Romance and pride and passion passAnd these are what remain.Strange crawling carpets of the grass,Wide windows of the sky;So in this perilous grace of GodWith all my sins go I:And things grow new though I grow old,Though I grow old and die.”

Tags : Childhood Death Joy Life Love Old Wonder
Source : The Collected Poems of G. K. Chesterton

34. “Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.”

Tags : Imagination Insanity Logic Reason Poets
Source : Orthodoxy

35. “People wonder why the novel is the most popular form of literature; people wonder why it is read more than books of science or books of metaphysics. The reason is very simple; it is merely that the novel is more true than they are.”

Tags : Literature Novels Reading

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

Tags : Travel

37. “Ten thousand women marched through the streets shouting, 'We will not be dictated to,' and went off and became stenographers.”

Tags : Battle Of The Sexes Brilliance Female Liberation Feminism Humour

38. “The criminal is the creative artist; the detective only the critic.”

Tags : Art Creativity Crime Critic Criticism Detectives Mystery
Source : The Blue Cross: A Father Brown Mystery

39. “White is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. God paints in many colors; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white. ”

Tags : Color
Source : Orthodoxy

40. “In attempting to reach the genuine psychological reason for the popularity of detective stories, it is necessary to rid ourselves of many mere phrases. It is not true, for example, that the populace prefer bad literature to good, and accept detective stories because they are bad literature. The mere absence of artistic subtlety does not make a book popular. Bradshaw's Railway Guide contains few gleams of psychological comedy, yet it is not read aloud uproariously on winter evenings. If detective stories are read with more exuberance than railway guides, it is certainly because they are more artistic. Many good books have fortunately been popular; many bad books, still more fortunately, have been unpopular. A good detective story would probably be even more popular than a bad one. The trouble in this matter is that many people do not realize that there is such a thing as a good detective story; it is to them like speaking of a good devil. To write a story about a burglary is, in their eyes, a sort of spiritual manner of committing it. To persons of somewhat weak sensibility this is natural enough; it must be confessed that many detective stories are as full of sensational crime as one of Shakespeare's plays.”

Tags : Bad Books Detective Fiction Good Books Popularity
Source : The Defendant

41. “There's a lot of difference between listening and hearing.”

Tags : Listening

42. “Divinity is great enough to be divine; it is great enough to call itself divine. But as humanity grows greater, it grows less and less likely to do so. God is God, as the Moslems say; but a great man knows he is not God, and the greater he is the better he knows it. That is the paradox; everything that is merely approaching to that point is merely receding from it.”

Tags : Christ Divinity Humilty
Source : The Everlasting Man

43. “There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”

Tags : Happiness Satisfaction Serenity

44. “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.”

Tags : Generosity Greed Wealth
Source : A Miscellany of Men

45. “The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion.”

Tags : Humorous Truthful

46. “The man, like the mouse, undermines what he cannot understand. Because he bumps into a thing, he calls it the nearest obstacle; though the obstacle may happen to be the pillar that holds the roof over his head. he industriously removes the obstacle; and in return the obstacle removes him; and much more valuable things than he.”

Tags : Men Obstacle
Source : The Superstition of Divorce

47. “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

Tags : Fairy Tales Hope Paraphrased Possiblity

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

Tags : Fairy Tales Inspirational

49. “If you happen to read fairy tales, you will observe that one idea runs from one end of them to the other--the idea that peace and happiness can only exist on some condition. This idea, which is the core of ethics, is the core of the nursery-tales.”

Tags : Fairy Tales

50. “Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.”

Tags : Beliefs Fashions Ideals Worldviews Zeitgeist
Source : What's Wrong with the World

51. “Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel.”

Tags : Duty Identity Responsibility Uniqueness

52. “Just at present you only see the tree by the light of the lamp. I wonder when you would ever see the lamp by the light of the tree.”

Tags : Funny Gabriel Syme Lamp Order Tree

53. “The difference between the poet and the mathematician is that the poet tries to get his head into the heavens while the mathematician tries to get the heavens into his head.”

Tags : Mathematics Poetry

54. “To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”

Tags : Faith Forgiveness Hope Inspirational Love

55. “Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.”

Tags : Books Literature On Fiction

56. “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad, For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

Tags : Humor Irish Song War
Source : The Ballad of the White Horse

57. “A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.”

Tags : Authors Books Writing
Source : Heretics

58. “Don't you believe people when they tell you that people sought for a sign, and believed in miracles because they were ignorant. They did it because they were wise, filthily, vilely wise—too wise to eat or sleep or put on their boots with patience.”

Tags : Miracles Religion
Source : The Napoleon of Notting Hill

59. “Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it.”

Tags : Freedom Of Religion Religion

60. “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”

Tags : Christian Behavior Christianity Pacifism Religion
Source : What's Wrong with the World

61. “Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

Tags : Humor Leibniz Religion Watchmaker
Source : Orthodoxy

62. “Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.”

Tags : Christianity Danger Logic Mad Mathematicians Orthodoxy
Source : Orthodoxy

63. “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.”

Tags : Determination Effort Growth New Year
Source : A Chesterton calendar

64. “Who would condescend to strike down the mere things that he does notfear? Who would debase himself to be merely brave, like any commonprizefighter? Who would stoop to be fearless--like a tree? Fight thething that you fear. You remember the old tale of the English clergymanwho gave the last rites to the brigand of Sicily, and how on hisdeath-bed the great robber said, 'I can give you no money, but I cangive you advice for a lifetime: your thumb on the blade, and strikeupwards.' So I say to you, strike upwards, if you strike at the stars.”

Tags : Advice Awesomeness
Source : The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

65. “The Catholic Church is like a thick steak, a glass of red wine, and a good cigar.”

Tags : Catholicism

66. “We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man's terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God.”

Tags : Fear God

67. “If we are bound to improve, we need not trouble to improve. The pure doctrine of progress is the best of all reasons for not being a progressive.”

Tags : Progressive
Source : Orthodoxy

68. “The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.”

Tags : Enemies Love Neighbors

69. “Journalism largely consists in saying "Lord Jones is dead" to people who never knew Lord Jones was alive.”

Tags : Journalism

70. “Now the best relation to our spiritual home is to be near enough to love it. But the next best is to be far enough away not to hate it. It is the contention of these pages that while the best judge of Christianity is a Christian, the next best judge would be something more like a Confucian. The worst judge of all is the man now most ready with his judgements; the ill-educated Christian turning gradually into the ill-tempered agnostic, entangled in the end of a feud ofwhich he never understood the beginning, blighted with a sort of hereditary boredom with he knows not what, andalready weary of hearing what he has never heard.”

Tags : Apologetics Bias
Source : The Everlasting Man

71. “Coincidences are spiritual puns.”

Tags : Coincidence Puns

72. “This man's spiritual power has been precisely this, that he has distinguished between custom and creed. He has broken the conventions, but he has kept the commandments.”

Tags : Commandments Creed Custom Power Spirituality
Source : Manalive

73. “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.”

Tags : Multiculturalism
Source : What I Saw in America

74. “Nine times out of ten a man’s broad-mindedness is necessarily the narrowest thing about him. This is not particularly paradoxical; it is, when we come to think of it, quite inevitable. His vision of his own village may really be full of varieties; and even his vision of his own nation may have a rough resemblance to the reality. But his vision of the world is probably smaller than the world…hence he is never so inadequate as when he is universal; he is never so limited as when he generalizes. This is the fallacy in the many modern attempts at a creedless creed, at something variously described as...undenominational religion or a world faith to embrace all the faiths in the world...When a philosophy embraces everything it generally squeezes everything, and squeezes it out of shape; when it digests it necessarily assimilates.”

Tags : Interdenominationalism Multiculturalism Nonsectarianism Open Mindedness
Source : What I Saw in America

75. “Every man has forgotten who he is. One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star.Thou shalt love the Lord thy God; but thou shalt not know thyself.We are all under the same mental calamity; we have all forgotten our names. We have all forgotten what we really are. All that we call common sense and rationality and practicality and positivism only means that for certain dead levels of our life we forget that we have forgotten. All that we call spirit and art and ecstasy only means that for one awful moment we remember that we forget.”

Tags : Orthodoxy Philosophy Of Life Theology

76. “I left the fairy tales lying on the floor of the nursery, and I have not found any books so sensible since.”

Tags : Education Fairy Tales Imagination Nursery Rhymes Storytelling

77. “In prosperity, our friends know us. In adversity, we know our friends”

Tags : Real Life

78. “My country, right or wrong,” is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.”

Tags : Patriotism Wit
Source : The Defendant

79. “[A] permanent possibility of selfishness arises from the mere fact of having a self, and not from any accidents of education or ill-treatment. And the weakness of all Utopias is this, that they take the greatest difficulty of man and assume it to be overcome, and then give an elaborate account of the overcoming of the smaller ones. They first assume that no man will want more than his share, and then are very ingenious in explaining whether his share will be delivered by motor-car or balloon.”

Tags : Utopia
Source : Heretics

80. “It really is more natural to believe a preternatural story, that deals with things we don’t understand, than a natural story that contradicts things we do understand. Tell me that the great Mr Gladstone, in his last hours, was haunted by the ghost of Parnell, and I will be agnostic about it. But tell me that Mr Gladstone, when first presented to Queen Victoria, wore his hat in her drawing-room and slapped her on the back and offered her a cigar, and I am not agnostic at all. That is not impossible; it’s only incredible. But I’m much more certain it didn’t happen than that Parnell’s ghost didn’t appear; because it violates the laws of the world I do understand.”

Tags : Agnostic Belief Implausible Impossibility Incredible Supernatural Understanding
Source : The Complete Father Brown

81. “Thrift is poetic because it is creative; waste is unpoetic because it is waste.”

Tags : Economy Thrift Waste
Source : What's Wrong with the World

82. “The future is a blank wall on which every man can write his own name as large as he likes; the past I find already sovered with scribbles, such as Plato, Isaiah, Shakespeare, Michael Angelo, Napoleon. I can make the future as narrow as myself; the past is obliged to be as broad and turbulant as humanity.”

Tags : Blank Future Past Tradition
Source : What's Wrong with the World

83. “The globe-trotter lives in a smaller world than the peasent. He is always breathing an air of locality. London is a place to be compared to Chicage; Chicago is a place, to be compared to Timbuctoo. But Timbuctoo is not a place, sonce there, at least, live men who regard it as the universe, and breathe, not an air of locality, but the winds of the world. The man in the saloon steamer has seen all the races of men; and is thinking of the things that devide men - diet, dress, decorum, rings in the nose as in Africa, or in the ears as in Europe, blue paint among the ancients, or red paint among the modern Britons. The man in the cabbage field has seen nothing at all; but he is thinking of the things that unite men - hunger and babies, and the beauty of women, and the promise or menace of the sky.”

Tags : Permanence Traveling
Source : Heretics

84. “Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.”

Tags : Aristocracy Badly Democracy Government Uneducated

85. “It was his home now. But it could not be his home till he had gone from it and returned to it. Now he was the Prodigal Son.”

Tags : Coming Home Home Inspiration Prodigal Son The Coloured Land

86. “The Americans are very patriotic, and wish to make their new citizens patriotic Americans. But it is the idea of making a new nation literally out of any old nation that comes along. In a word, what is unique is not America but what is called Americanisation. We understand nothing till we understand the amazing ambition to Americanise the Kamskatkan and the Hairy Ainu. We are not trying to Anglicise thousand of French cooks or Italian organ-grinders. France is not trying to Gallicise thousands of English trippers or German prisoners of war. America is the only place in the world where this process, healthy or unhealthy, possible or impossible, is going on. And the process, as I have pointed out, is not internationalization. It would be truer to say it is the nationalization of the internationalized. It is making a home out of vagabonds and a nation out of exiles.”

Tags : America Assimilation
Source : What I Saw in America

87. “We do not admire, we hardly excuse, the fanatic who wrecks this world for love of the other. But what are we to say of the fanatic who wrecks this world out of hatred of the other? He sacrifices the very existence of humanity to the non-existence of God. He offers his victims not to the altar, but merely to assert the idleness of the altar and the emptiness of the throne. He is ready to ruin even that primary ethic by which all things live, for his strange and eternal vengeance upon some one who never lived at all.”

Tags : Atheist Fanatic Irrationality Secularism
Source : Orthodoxy

88. “Job is an optimist. He shakes the pillars of the world and strikes insanely at the heavens; he lashes the stars, but it is not to silence them; it is to make them speak.”

Tags : Bible Job Theodicy Wisdom

89. “{We} have not to crown the exceptional man who knows he can rule; rather we must crown the much more exceptional man who knows he can’t.”

Tags : Morals Rulers

90. “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.”

Tags : Alien Human Pilgrim Stranger
Source : The Everlasting Man

91. “Who would condescend to strike down the mere things he does not fear? Who would debase himself to be merely brave, like any common prize-fighter? Who would stoop to be fearless - like a tree? Fight the thing that you fear.”

Tags : Bravado Fear
Source : The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

92. “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.”

Tags : New Year Resolutions Soul Starting Over
Source : A Chesterton calendar

93. “Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable. Never drink when you are wretched without it, or you will be like the grey-faced gin-drinker in the slum; but drink when you would be happy without it, and you will be like the laughing peasant of Italy. Never drink because you need it, for this is rational drinking, and the way to death and hell. But drink because you do not need it, for this is irrational drinking, and the ancient health of the world.”

Tags : Alchohol Drinking

94. “Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate.”

Tags : Cheerful Circumstances Desperate Hope

95. “But when first the two black dragons sprang out of the fog upon the small clerk, they had merely the effect of all miracles – they changed the universe. He discovered the fact that all romantics know – that adventures happen on dull days, and not on sunny ones. When the cord of monotony is stretched most tight, it it breaks with a sound like song.”

Tags : Adventures Miracles Monotony Romantics

96. “We have all forgotten what we really are. All that we call common sense and rationality and practicality and positivism only means that for certain dead levels of our life we forget that we have forgotten. All that we call spirit and art and ecstasy only means that for one awful instant we remember that we forget.”

Tags : Inspirational Reminding

97. “The AristocratThe Devil is a gentleman, and asks you down to stayAt his little place at What'sitsname (it isn't far away).They say the sport is splendid; there is always something new,And fairy scenes, and fearful feats that none but he can do;He can shoot the feathered cherubs if they fly on the estate,Or fish for Father Neptune with the mermaids for a bait;He scaled amid the staggering stars that precipice, the sky,And blew his trumpet above heaven, and got by masteryThe starry crown of God Himself, and shoved it on the shelf;But the Devil is a gentleman, and doesn't brag himself.O blind your eyes and break your heart and hack your hand away,And lose your love and shave your head; but do not go to stayAt the little place in What'sitsname where folks are rich and clever;The golden and the goodly house, where things grow worse for ever;There are things you need not know of, though you live and die in vain,There are souls more sick of pleasure than you are sick of pain;There is a game of April Fool that's played behind its door,Where the fool remains for ever and the April comes no more,Where the splendour of the daylight grows drearier than the dark,And life droops like a vulture that once was such a lark:And that is the Blue Devil that once was the Blue Bird;For the Devil is a gentleman, and doesn't keep his word.”

Tags : Aristocrats Devil Misery
Source : Collected Works Volume 10: Collected Poetry, Part 1

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

Tags : Faith Sense Of Humor

99. “The pure modernist is merely a snob; he cannot bear to be a month behind the fashion.”

Tags : Fashion Modernism Snobbery
Source : All Things Considered

100. “If one is talking about a vile thing it is better to talk of it in coarse language; one is less likely to be seduced into excusing it.”

Tags : Coarseness Language Taboos

101. “The real objection to modernism is simply that it is a form of snobbishness. It is an attempt to crush a rational opponent not by reason, but by some mystery of superiority, by hinting that one is specially up to date or particularly "in the know.”

Tags : Modernism Rational Snobbishness Superiority

102. “Another savage trait of our time is the disposition to talk about material substances instead of about ideas. The old civilisation talked about the sin of gluttony or excess. We talk about the Problem of Drink--as if drink could be a problem. When people have come to call the problem of human intemperance the Problem of Drink, and to talk about curing it by attacking the drink traffic, they have reached quite a dim stage of barbarism. The thing is an inverted form of fetish worship; it is no sillier to say that a bottle is a god than to say that a bottle is a devil. The people who talk about the curse of drink will probably progress down that dark hill. In a little while we shall have them calling the practice of wife-beating the Problem of Pokers; the habit of housebreaking will be called the Problem of the Skeleton-Key Trade; and for all I know they may try to prevent forgery by shutting up all the stationers' shops by Act of Parliament.”

Tags : Blame Brilliance G K Chesterton Modern Barbarism Sin
Source : All Things Considered

103. “She(Joan of Arc) put her dreams and her sentiment into her aims, where they ought to be; she put her practicality into her practice. In modern Imperial wars, the case is reversed. Our dreams, our aims are always, we insist, quite practical. It is our practice that is dreamy.”

Tags : Aim Dream Joan Of Arc Practical Sentiment
Source : All Things Considered

104. “Modern art has to be what is called ‘intense.’ it is not easy to define being intense; but, roughly speaking, it means saying only one thing at a time, and saying it wrong.”

Tags : Art Modern Art Modernity
Source : Alarms and Discursions

105. “It is now certain that the public does know. It is not so certain that the public does care.”

Tags : Indifference Media Public Publicity
Source : Autobiography

106. “In truth, there are only two kinds of people; those who accept dogma and know it, and those who accept dogma and don't know it.”

Tags : Dogma

107. “I wish we could sometimes love the characters in real life as we love the characters in romances. There are a great many human souls whom we should accept more kindly, and even appreciate more clearly, if we simply thought of them as people in a story.”

Tags : Books Characters Life
Source : What I Saw in America

108. “Oscar Wilde said that sunsets were not valued because we could not pay for sunsets. But Oscar Wilde was wrong; we can pay for sunsets. We can pay for them by not being Oscar Wilde.”

Tags : Orthodoxy Oscar Wilde Sunsets

109. “The paradise of my fancy is one where pigs have wings”

Tags : Pigs
Source : Fancies Versus Fads

110. “Do not be so open-minded that your brains fall out.”

Tags : Gullibility

111. “I said to him, "Shall I tell you where the men are who believe most in themselves? For I can tell you. I know of men who believe in themselves more colossally than Napoleon or Caesar. I know where flames the fixed star of certainty and success. I can guide you to the thrones of the Super-men. The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums.”

Tags : Insanity Lunatic
Source : Orthodoxy

112. “There is only one thing which is generally safe from plagiarism -- self-denial.”

Tags : Imitation Individuality Self Denial Wisdom
Source : The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton Volume 29: The Illustrated London News, 1911-1913

113. “Are you a devil?""I am a man," answered Father Brown gravely; "and therefore have all devils in my heart.”

Tags : Devil Father Brown Man

114. “We do not need to get good laws to restrain bad people. We need to get good people to restrain us from bad laws.”

Tags : Country

115. “Monotony has nothing to do with a place; monotony, either in its sensation or its infliction, is simply the quality of a person. There are no dreary sights; there are only dreary sight seers.”

Tags : Boredom Marshes Monotony
Source : Alarms and Discursions

116. “I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles.”

Tags : Golf

117. “The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered...it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. 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.”

Tags : Vice Virtue

118. “If the moderns really want a simple religion of love, they must look for it in the Athanasian Creed. The truth is that the trumpet of true Christianity, the challenge of the charities and simplicities of Bethlehem or Christmas Day never rang out more arrestingly and unmistakably than in the defiance of Athanasius to the cold compromise of the Arians. It was emphatically he who really was fighting for a God of Love against a God of colourless and remote cosmic control; the God of the stoics and the agnostics. It was emphatically he who was fighting for the Holy Child against the grey deity of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He was fighting for that very balance of beautiful interdependence and intimacy, in the very Trinity of the Divine Nature, that draws our hearts to the Trinity of the Holy Family. His dogma, if the phrase be not misunderstood, turns even God into a Holy Family.”

Tags : Athanasius Christianity God God Is Love Heretics Love Pagans The Trinity
Source : The Everlasting Man

119. “But though I might fill the world with dragons I never had the slighest real doubt that heroes ought to fight with dragons. I must stop to challenge many child-lovers for cruelty to children. It is quite false to say that the child dislikes the fable because it is moral. Very often he likes the moral more than the fable. Adults are reading their own weary mockery into a mind still vigorous enough to be entirely serious.”

Tags : Children Education Fables Morals

120. “In the specially Christian case we have to react against the heavy bias of fatigue. It is almost impossible to make the facts vivid, because the facts are familiar; and for fallen men it is often true that familiarity is fatigue. I am convinced that if we could tell the supernatural story of Christ word for word as of a Chinese hero, call him the Son of Heaven instead of the Son of God, and trace his rayed nimbus in the gold thread of Chinese embroideries or the gold lacquer of Chinese pottery, instead of in the gold leaf of our own old Catholic paintings, there would be a unanimous testimony to the spiritual purity of the story. We should hear nothing then of the injustice of substitution or the illogicality of atonement, of the superstitious exaggeration of the burden of sin or the impossible insolence of an invasion of the laws of nature. We should admire the chivalry of the Chinese conception of a god who fell from the sky to fight the dragons and save the wicked from being devoured by their own fault and folly. We should admire the subtlety of the Chinese view of life, which perceives that all human imperfection is in very truth a crying imperfection. We should admire the Chinese esoteric and superior wisdom, which said there are higher cosmic laws than the laws we know.”

Tags : Christianity Fable Jesus Myth Skepticism
Source : The Everlasting Man

121. “All that is mererationalism; the superstition (that is the unreasoning repugnanceand terror) is in the person who admits there can be angels butdenies there can be devils. The superstition is in the person whoadmits there can be devils but denies there can be diabolists.”

Tags : Eugenics Superstition

122. “Good taste, the last and vilest of human superstitions, has succeeded in silencing us where all the rest has failed.”

Tags : Political Correctness Silence Superstition
Source : Heretics

123. “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.”

Tags : Government Political Parties Politics

124. “ask yourself how many people you have met who grumbled at a thing as incurable, and how many who attacked it as curable? How many people we have heard abuse the British elementary schools, as they would abuse the British climate? How few have we met who realized that British education can be altered, but British weather cannot?...For a thousand that regret compulsory education, where is the hundred, or the ten, or the one, who would repeal compulsory education? …At the beginning of our epoch men talked with equal ease about Reform and Repeal. Now everybody talks about reform; nobody talks about repeal.”

Tags : Politics Reform Repeal
Source : Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State

125. “Latter-day scepticism is fond of calling itself progressive; but scepticism is really reactionary. Scepticism goes back; it attempts to unsettle what has already been settled. Instead of trying to break up new fields with its plough, it simply tries to break up the plough.”

Tags : Reason Scepticism Truth

126. “Man may behold what ugliness he likes if he is sure that he will not worship it; but there are some so weak that they will worship a thing only because it is ugly. These must be chained to the beautiful. It is not always wrong even to go, like Dante, to the brink of the lowest promontory and look down at hell. It is when you look up at hell that a serious miscalculation has probably been made.”

Tags : Catholic Christianity Essays Nightmares Orthodox Terror

127. “I say that a man must be certain of his morality for the simple reason that he has to suffer for it.”

Tags : Ethics Morality Truth Worldview

128. “The vulgar modern argument used against religion, and lately against common decency, would be absolutely fatal to any idea of liberty. It is perpetually said that because there are a hundred religions claiming to be true, it is therefore impossible that one of them should really be true. The argument would appear on the face of it to be illogical, if anyone nowadays troubled about logic. It would be as reasonable to say that because some people thought the earth was flat, and others (rather less incorrectly) imagined it was round, and because anybody is free to say that it is triangular or hexagonal, or a rhomboid, therefore it has no shape at all; or its shape can never be discovered; and, anyhow, modern science must be wrong in saying it is an oblate spheroid. The world must be some shape, and it must be that shape and no other; and it is not self-evident that nobody can possibly hit on the right one. What so obviously applies to the material shape of the world equally applies to the moral shape of the universe. The man who describes it may not be right, but it is no argument against his rightness that a number of other people must be wrong.”

Tags : Atheism Christianity Freethinker Religion Universalism

129. “...it is the fear of the past; a fear not merely of the evil in the past, but of the good in the past also. The brain breaks down under the unbearable virtue of mankind. There have been so many flaming faiths that we cannot hold; so many harsh heroisms that we cannot imitate; so many great efforts of monumental building or of military glory which seems to us at once sublime and pathetic. The future is a refuge from the fierce competition of our forefathers.”

Tags : Competition Forefathers Future Past
Source : What's Wrong with the World

130. “There again," said Syme irritably, "what is there poetical about being in revolt? You might as well say that it is poetical to be sea-sick. Being sick is a revolt. Both being sick and being rebellious may be the wholesome thing on certain desperate occasions; but I'm hanged if I can see why they are poetical. Revolt in the abstract is – revolting. It's mere vomiting.”

Tags : Poetical Rebellious Revolt Sick
Source : The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

131. “A man must be prepared not only to be a martyr, but to be a fool. It is absurd to say that a man is ready to toil and die for his convictions if he is not even ready to wear a wreathe around his head for them.”

Tags : Apologetics Inspirational Religion

132. “A man is angry at a libel because it is false, but at a satire because it is true.”

Tags : Libel Satire

133. “To these things do writers sink; and then the critics tell them that they “talk for effect”; and then the writers answer: “What the devil else should we talk for? Ineffectualness?”

Tags : Effect Effective Ineffectiveness Ineffectualness Writing
Source : The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond

134. “Our friend Tuesday," said the President in a deep voice at once of quietude and volume, "our friend Tuesday doesn't seem to grasp the idea. He dresses up like a gentleman, but he seems to be too great a soul to behave like one. He insists on the ways of the stage conspirator. Now if a gentleman goes about London in a top hat and a frock-coat, no one need know that he is an anarchist. But if a gentleman puts on a top hat and a frock-coat, and then goes about on his hands and knees — well, he may attract attention. That's what Brother Gogol does. He goes about on his hands and knees with such inexhaustible diplomacy, that by this time he finds it quite difficult to walk upright.""I am not good at goncealment," said Gogol sulkily, with a thick foreign accent; "I am not ashamed of the cause.""Yes you are, my boy, and so is the cause of you," said the President good-naturedly. "You hide as much as anybody; but you can't do it, you see, you're such an ass! You try to combine two inconsistent methods. When a householder finds a man under his bed, he will probably pause to note the circumstance. But if he finds a man under his bed in a top hat, you will agree with me, my dear Tuesday, that he is not likely ever to forget it. Now when you were found under Admiral Biffin's bed—""I am not good at deception," said Tuesday gloomily, flushing."Right, my boy, right," said the President with a ponderous heartiness, "you aren't good at anything.”

Tags : Anarchist Deception Disguise
Source : The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

135. “But there is in everything a reasonable division of labour. I have written the book, and nothing on earth would induce me to read it.”

Tags : Books Humor Literary Criticism

136. “But if I want to murder somebody, will it really be the best plan to make sure I'm alone with him?'Lord Pooley's eyes recovered their frosty twinkle as he looked at the little clergyman. He only said: 'If you want to murder somebody, I should advise it.”

Tags : Crime Detective Murder Priest

137. “Desde el punto de vista ético, el capitalismo y el comunismo se hallan tan cerca el uno del otro que no sería nada de extraño que sus jefes y caudillos procedan también de los mismos círculos raciales.”

Tags : Capitalismo Comunismo Judios Raza Ética
Source : The Autobiography of G.K. Chesterton

138. “The materialist is sure that history has been simply and solely a chain of causation, just as the [lunatic] is quite sure that he is simply and solely a chicken. Materialists and madmen never have doubts.”

Tags : Insanity Materialism
Source : Orthodoxy

139. “The modern habit of saying "This is my opinion, but I may be wrong" is entirely irrational. If I say that it may be wrong, I say that is not my opinion. The modern habit of saying "Every man has a different philosophy; this is my philosophy and it suits me" – the habit of saying this is mere weak-mindedness. A cosmic philosophy is not constructed to fit a man; a cosmic philosophy is constructed to fit a cosmos. A man can no more possess a private religion than he can possess a private sun and moon.”

Tags : Brilliance Opinions Philosophy Relativism Wisdom

140. “Humor can get in under the door while seriousness is still fumbling at the handle.”

Tags : Humor Ignorance Knowledge Wisdom

141. “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.”

Tags : Composure Shocked Grandmothers

142. “If we are calm," replied the policeman, "it is the calm of organized resistance.""Eh?" said Syme, staring."The soldier must be calm in the thick of the battle," pursued the policeman. "The composure of an army is the anger of a nation.”

Tags : Anger Calm Composure
Source : The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

143. “What is the good of telling a community that it has every liberty except the liberty to make laws? The liberty to make laws is what constitutes a free people.”

Tags : Anarchy Autonomy Freedom Laws Liberty Rebellion
Source : Heretics

144. “The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.”

Tags : Anarchy Revolution

145. “The Reformer is always right about what's wrong. However, he's often wrong about what is right.”

Tags : Catholicism Christianity Humor Protestantism Reformation Religion

146. “How can we say that the Church wishes to bring us back into the Dark Ages? The Church was the only thing that ever brought us out of them.”

Tags : Church Dark Ages Ignorance
Source : Orthodoxy

147. “It [feminism] is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.”

Tags : Femininism Inspirational Lies

148. “In the glad old days, before the rise of modern morbidities...it used to be thought a disadvantage to be misunderstood.”

Tags : Modernism Writing
Source : Heretics

149. “Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion. To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything a strain.”

Tags : Faith Mysticism Poetry Reason Serenity
Source : Orthodoxy

150. “The most poetical thing in the world is not being sick.”

Tags : Health Sick
Source : The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

151. “There is a certain solid use in fools. It is not so much that they rush in where angels fear to tread, but rather that they let out what devils intend to do.”

Tags : Foolishness Fools
Source : Alarms and Discursions

152. “It may be conceded to the mathematicians that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one.”

Tags : Numbers
Source : The Man Who Was Thursday

153. “There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book, and a tired man who wants a book to read.”

Tags : Books Relaxation

154. “There is more simplicity in the man who eats caviar on impulse than in the man who eats Grape-Nuts on principle.”

Tags : Human Nature

155. “...the primary paradox that man is superior to all the things around him and yet is at their mercy.”

Tags : Human Nature Humor Humour Jokes
Source : All Things Considered

156. “He seemed like a walking blasphemy, a blend of the angel and the ape.”

Tags : Human Nature
Source : The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

157. “It is one thing to believe in witches, and quite another to believe in witch-smellers.”

Tags : Politics Witch Hunts
Source : Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State

158. “There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematician that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one.”

Tags : Allies Loneliness Monogamy

159. “Through all this ordeal his root horror had been isolation, and there are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematicians that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one. That is why, in spite of a hundred disadvantages, the world will always return to monogamy.”

Tags : Allies Fear Isolation Mathmaticians Monogamy Ordeals
Source : The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

160. “The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.”

Tags : Love Loss

161. “...but this is the real objection to that torrent of modern talk about treating crime as disease, about making prison merely a hygienic environment like a hospital, of healing sin by slow scientific methods. The fallacy of the whole thing is that evil is a matter of active choice whereas disease is not.”

Tags : Crime Disease Prison Sin
Source : Orthodoxy

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

Tags : Frivolity Seriousness Solemnity

163. “The men who made the joke saw something deep which they could not express except by something silly and emphatic.”

Tags : Humanity Humor Humour Language Seriousness
Source : All Things Considered

164. “[Buddhism and Christianity] are in one sense parallel and equal; as a mound and a hollow, as a valley and a hill. There is a sense in which that sublime despair is the only alternative to that divine audacity. It is even true that the truly spiritual and intellectual man sees it as sort of dilemma; a very hard and terrible choice. There is little else on earth that can compare with these for completeness. And he who does not climb the mountain of Christ does indeed fall into the abyss of Buddha.”

Tags : Audacity Belief Beliefs Compare Comparison Contrast Darkness Death Life Opposites Philosophy Religion Worldview
Source : Saint Thomas Aquinas

165. “I do not feel any contempt for an atheist, who is often a man limited and constrained by his own logic to a very sad simplification.”

Tags : Atheism Belief
Source : The Well and the Shallows

166. “How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it.”

Tags : Larger Life Self Smaller

167. “Whatever we may think of the merits of torturing children for pleasure, and no doubt there is much to be said on both sides, I am sure we all agree that it should be done with sterilized instruments.”

Tags : Irony Pluralism Politics Relativism

168. “It's just because I have picked a little about mystics that I have no use for mystagogues. Real mystics don't hide mysteries, they reveal them. They set a thing up in broad daylight, and when you've seen it it's still a mystery. But the mystagogues hide a thing in darkness and secrecy, and when you find it, it's a platitude.”

Tags : Christian Father Brown Mystic

169. “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.”

Tags : Faith Mysticism Skepticism

170. “A mystic is a man who separates heaven and earth even if he enjoys them both.”

Tags : Christianity Mysticism
Source : William Blake

171. “The great march of metal destruction will go on. Everything will be denied. Everything will become a creed. It is the reasonable position to deny the stones in the street; it will be a religious dogma to assert them. It is a rational thesis that we are all in a dream; it will be a mystical sanity to say that we are all awake.”

Tags : Gk Chesterton Heretics

172. “The case of the general talk of "progress" is, indeed, an extreme one. As enunciated today, "progress" is simply a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative. We meet every ideal of religion, patriotism, beauty, or brute pleasure with the alternative ideal of progress—that is to say, we meet every proposal of getting something that we know about, with an alternative proposal of getting a great deal more of nobody knows what.”

Tags : Good Heretics Ideals Morality Of Capitalism Progress

173. “Father Brown: I never said it was always wrong to enter fairyland, I only said it was always dangerous.”

Tags : Fairyland
Source : The Innocence of Father Brown

174. “There is only one thing that can never go past a certain point in its alliance with oppression--and that is orthodoxy. I may, it is true, twist orthodoxy so as partly to justify a tyrant. But I can easily make up a German philosophy to justify him entirely.”

Tags : Orthodoxy
Source : Orthodoxy

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

Tags : Humor Survival
Source : Manalive

176. “Nobody can understand the greatness of the thirteenth century, who does not realize that it was a great growth of new things produced by a living thing. In that sense it was really bolder and freer than what we call the renaissance, which was a resurrection of old things discovered in a dead thing... and the Gospel according to St. Thomas... was a new thrust like the titanic thrust of Gothic engineering; and its strength was in a God that makes all things new.”

Tags : Architecture Civilization Culture Europe History Renaissance Thirteenth Century
Source : Saint Thomas Aquinas

177. “the things common to all men are more important than the things peculiar to any men. Ordinary things are more valuable than extraordinary things; nay, they are more extraordinary. Man is something more awful than men; something more strange. The sense of the miracle of humanity itself should be always more vivid to us than any marvels of power, intellect, art, or civilization. The mere man on two legs, as such, should be felt as something more heartbreaking than any music and more startling than any caricature. Death is more tragic even than death by starvation. Having a nose is more comic even than having a Norman nose.This is the first principle of democracy: that the essential things in men are the things they hold in common, not the things they hold separately. And the second principle is merely this: that the political instinct or desire is one of these things which they hold in common. Falling in love is more poetical than dropping into poetry. The democratic contention is that government (helping to rule the tribe) is a thing like falling in love, and not a thing like dropping into poetry. It is not something analogous to playing the church organ, painting on vellum, discovering the North Pole (that insidious habit), looping the loop, being Astronomer Royal, and so on. For these things we do not wish a man to do at all unless he does them well. It is, on the contrary, a thing analogous to writing one's own love-letters or blowing one's own nose. These things we want a man to do for himself, even if he does them badly.”

Tags : Democracy G K Chesterton Humanity Complexity Liberalism
Source : Orthodoxy

178. “I do not deny, but strongly affirm, the right of the State to interfere to cure a great evil. I say that in this case it would interfere to create a great evil; and I am not going to be turned from the discussion of that direct issue to bottomless botherations about Socialism and Individualism, or the relative advantages of always turning to the right and always turning to the left.”

Tags : Libertarianism Politics Socialism
Source : Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State

179. “How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it; if you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny sefishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them, because they are not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers.”

Tags : Christianity Curiosity Focus Others Selfishness Strangers

180. “But let the colours you lay on be violent, gorgeous, terrific colours, because my feelings are like that.”

Tags : Colours The Coloured Lands
Source : The Coloured Lands: A Whimsical Gathering Of Drawings, Stories, And Poems

181. “No man is such a legalist as the good Secularist.”

Tags : Legalism Morality Secularism The Law
Source : The Innocence of Father Brown

182. “Unless a man becomes the enemy of an evil, he will not even become its slave but rather its champion.”

Tags : Evil

183. “Evil always wins through the strength of its splendid dupes; and there has in all ages been a disastrous alliance between abnormal innocence and abnormal sin.”

Tags : Evil Innocence Useful Idiots
Source : Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State

184. “Government has become ungovernable; that is, it cannot leave off governing. Law has become lawless; that is, it cannot see where laws should stop. The chief feature of our time is the meekness of the mob and the madness of the government.”

Tags : Big Government Government Politics
Source : Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State

185. “The pessimists believe that the cosmos is a clock that is running down; the progressives believe it is a clock that they themselves are winding up. But I happen to believe that the world is what we choose to make it, and that we are what we choose to make ourselves; and that our renascence or our ruin will alike, ultimately and equally, testify with a trumpet to our liberty.- The Illustrated London News, July 10, 1920 Issue.”

Tags : Government Human Choice Wisdom

186. “I think the oddest thing about the advanced people is that while they are always talking of things as problems, they have hardly any notion of what a real problem is. A real problem only occurs when there are admittedly disadvantages in all courses that can be pursued. If it is discovered just before a fashionable wedding that the Bishop is locked up in the coal-cellar, that is not a problem. It is obvious to anyone but an extreme anti-clerical or practical joker that the Bishop must be let out of the coal-cellar. But suppose the Bishop has been locked up in the wine-cellar, and from the obscure noises, sounds as of song and dance, etc., it is guessed that he has indiscreetly tested the vintages round him; then indeed we may properly say that there has arisen a problem; for upon the one hand, it is awkward to keep the wedding waiting, while, upon the other, any hasty opening of the door might mean an episcopal rush and scenes of the most unforeseen description.”

Tags : Disadvantages Problem

187. “Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist.”

Tags : Food Music

188. “Tradition does not mean a dead town; it does not mean that the living are dead but that the dead are alive. It means that it still matters what Penn did two hundred years ago or what Franklin did a hundred years ago; I never could feel in New York that it mattered what anybody did an hour ago.”

Tags : New York City Tradition
Source : What I Saw in America

189. “Fairy tales make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water.”

Tags : Fairytales Fantastic Nature Nature S Beauty Noticed Observation
Source : Orthodoxy

190. “General theories are everywhere condemned; the doctrine of the Rights of Man is dismissed with the doctrine of the Fall of Man. Atheism itself is too theological for us to-day. Revolution itself is too much of a system; liberty itself is too much of a restraint. We will have no generalizations. Mr. Bernard Shaw has put the view in a perfect epigram: 'The golden rule is that there is no golden rule.' We are more and more to discuss details in art, politics, literature. A man's opinion on tramcars matters; his opinion on Botticelli matters; his opinion on all things does not matter. He may turn over and explore a million objects, but he must not find that strange object, the universe; for if he does he will have a religion, and be lost. Everything matters--except everything.”

Tags : Details Generalizations Modernism Postmodernity
Source : Heretics

191. “A child has an ingrained fancy for coal, not for the gross materialistic reason that it builds up fires by which we cook and are warmed, but for the infinitely nobler and more abstract reason that it blacks his fingers.”

Tags : Children Coal The Coloured Lands
Source : The Coloured Lands: A Whimsical Gathering Of Drawings, Stories, And Poems

192. “At last he came to a strange land, where the rocks and mountain crests seemed as ragged and fantastic as the clouds of sunset, where wild and sudden lights, breaking out in nooks and clefts, were all that lit the sombre twilight of the world.”

Tags : Descriptive Lands The Coloured Lands

193. “And must not all stories of brave lives and long endeavours and weary watching for the ideal so end, until all be ended? I cannot tell you whether he found what he sought. I have told you that he sought it.”

Tags : Searching The Coloured Lands

194. “Romance is the deepest thing in life. It is deeper than reality.”

Tags : Reality Romance

195. “There is but an inch of difference between the cushioned chamber and the padded cell.”

Tags : Prison Reality

196. “Whenever he gives advice it is always something as startling as an epigram, and yet as practical as the Bank of England.”

Tags : Phrasing Wisdom
Source : The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

197. “Most of the machinery of modern language is labour-saving machinery; and it saves mental labour very much more than it ought. Scientific phrases are used like scientific wheels and piston-rods to make swifter and smoother yet the path of the comfortable. Long words go rattling by us like long railway trains. We know they are carrying thousands who are too tired or too indolent to walk and think for themselves. It is a good exercise to try for once in a way to express any opinion one holds in words of one syllable. If you say “The social utility of the indeterminate sentence is recognized by all criminologists as a part of our sociological evolution towards a more humane and scientific view of punishment,” you can go on talking like that for hours with hardly a movement of the gray matter inside your skull. But if you begin “I wish Jones to go to gaol and Brown to say when Jones shall come out,” you will discover, with a thrill of horror, that you are obliged to think. The long words are not the hard words, it is the short words that are hard. There is much more metaphysical subtlety in the word “damn” than in the word “degeneration.”

Tags : Communication Humorous Jargon Language Vocabulary
Source : Orthodoxy

198. “If I beat my grandmother to death to-morrow in the middle of Battersea Park, you may be perfectly certain that people will say everything about it except the simple and fairly obvious fact that it is wrong. Some will call it insane; that is, will accuse it of a deficiency of intelligence. This is not necessarily true at all. You could not tell whether the act was unintelligent or not unless you knew my grandmother. Some will call it vulgar, disgusting, and the rest of it; that is, they will accuse it of a lack of manners. Perhaps it does show a lack of manners; but this is scarcely its most serious disadvantage. Others will talk about the loathsome spectacle and the revolting scene; that is, they will accuse it of a deficiency of art, or æsthetic beauty. This again depends on the circumstances: in order to be quite certain that the appearance of the old lady has definitely deteriorated under the process of being beaten to death, it is necessary for the philosophical critic to be quite certain how ugly she was before. Another school of thinkers will say that the action is lacking in efficiency: that it is an uneconomic waste of a good grandmother. But that could only depend on the value, which is again an individual matter. The only real point that is worth mentioning is that the action is wicked, because your grandmother has a right not to be beaten to death. But of this simple moral explanation modern journalism has, as I say, a standing fear. It will call the action anything else—mad, bestial, vulgar, idiotic, rather than call it sinful.”

Tags : Aesthetics Death Efficiency Evil Good Insanity Journalism Manners
Source : All Things Considered

199. “No man who worships education has got the best out of education... Without a gentle contempt for education no man's education is complete.”

Tags : Education Self Education

200. “[The materialist] thinks me a slave because I am not allowed to believe in determinism. I think [the materialist] a slave because he is not allowed to believe in fairies.”

Tags : Determinism Fairies Humor Materialism
Source : Orthodoxy