Finding the Art in Everything


15 December, 2007

The Flag of the World

There are those moments when you read something so catching that you wish everyone you know was also reading the same thing at that very moment. It is likely that no one else is reading that very thing because they care about it a great deal less than you, but blog-posting is sort of a half-way point between making people read your book and keeping it to yourself.

This morning, I came across some great Chesterton:

"For our titanic purposes of faith and revolution, what we need is not the cold acceptance of the world as compromise [between good and evil], but some way in which we can heartily hate and heartily love it... No one doubts that an ordinary man can get on in this world: but we demand not strength enough to get on with it, but strength enough to get it on. Can he hate it enough to change it, yet love it enough to think it worth changing? Can he look up at its collossal good without once feeling acquiescence? Can he look up at its collossal evil without once feeling despair? Can he, in short, be at once not only a pessimist and an optimist, but a fanatical pessimist and a fantical an optimist? Is he enough of a pagan to die for the world, and enough of a Christian to die to it? In this combination, I maintain, it is the rational optimist who fails and the irrational optimist who succeeds. He is ready to smash the whole world for the sake of itself."

and...

"An imbecile habit has arisen in the modern controversy of saying that such and such a creed can be held in once age but cannot be held in another...You might as well say of a view of the cosmos that it was suitable to half-past three, but not suitable to half-past four. [But] what a man can believe depends upon his philosophy, no upon the clock or the century...It is simply a matter of a man's theory of things. Therefore, in dealing with any historical answer, the point is not whether it was given in our time, but whether it was given in answer to our Question. "

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy "The Flag of the World"

If it were not end-of-term and exam week, I would be posting a pondering response to the passage instead of just the passage, but my to-do list has a hold on my intellectual will and creative liberty. I'm looking forward to the upcoming holiday, where, though riddled with boredom, will have plenty of time for "real" blog entries.

1 comment:

Ronli said...

People should read this.