Uneducation

Most outcomes of modern education are uneducated men. Our education is uneducation; its whole tendency is to unteach people the traditions of their fathers.

– GK Chesterton

Laughter is a Leap

“…Seriousness is not a virtue. It would be a heresy, but a much more sensible heresy, to say that seriousness is a vice. It is really a natural trend or lapse into taking one’s self gravely, because it is the easiest thing to do. It is much easier to write a good Times leading article than a good joke in Punch. For solemnity flows out of men naturally; but laughter is a leap. It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light. Satan fell by the force of gravity…”

-G.K. Chesterton

Regarding Fences With GK Chesterton

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, or that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion. We might even say that he is seeing things in a nightmare. This principle applies to a thousand things, to trifles as well as true institutions, to convention as well as to conviction.

GK Chesterton, The Thing

It Takes One to Know One

“In Francis Thompson’s poetry, as in the poetry of the universe, you can work infinitely out and out, but yet infinitely in and in. These two infinities are the mark of greatness; and he was a great poet.”

Excerpt From

All Things Considered

Gilbert Keith Chesterton

https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=361533707

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Warsash, 1917

The clotted woods are dim, the day

Ever expires and still expands:

The River finds its wandering way

From what unfathomable lands,

And God who made our hearts so great,

Our little hearts that hold the world,

Hangs this high moment with a weight

Of banners drooping, but not furled.

For we too broaden though we fade,

And we too deepen though we die,

Waste in what fashion we were made

And die of immortality –

And something rooted like the tree

Can hear unquelled, although it quiver,

Ancestral voices of the sea

That call the unreturning river.

Wide windows of the soul enlightened

Of these wide waters and the light –

Seeing whatever stars have brightened

Since eyes of men were sad and bright.

Fear not the dust or dusk hereafter

That darkens this dear land and leaves

The loves that found us and the laughter

Upon so many summer eves.

For not in rains of weeping rotten

Nor choked in thorns of thwarting, ends

The greatness of the unforgotten,

The silence of the pride of friends.

And sad with songs yet good and gay

And weak with no ignoble things

We look on this white waste of day

Where silence is alone and sings.

The clustered trees are all a cloud,

A vision and a voiceless wraith;

Fading in fulness, like a cloud

Of final thoughts that fade to faith:

But richer than the jewelled nights

That build beyond Southampton Bar

A ladder for the harbour-lights

From England to the evening star.

~ Chesterton, 1917

He speaks of good things, he speaks the truth, and he can put it into verse. Those three are monumental. But wait- there’s more; can you see it? He sees things in their true proportion (the big things big, and the small things small), and he does not forget any of the things that God has made. Not only does he make the right marks on a piece of paper, somehow when he hits those notes, an image, like a harmony, springs forth from the page. The picture comes to life, and we are suddenly transported to a larger space, dealing with real things at last. That’s what makes a man golden in my eyes. Few men hit the notes for me like Chesterton does. (Two others are headlined in this group.) Thank God for the golden ones- they show us the way. Not from a pedestal on high, but simply- and beautifully, as fellow travelers and brothers of the road, who have gone before.

~Watergirl 🌸

*Chesterton accompanied Winston Churchill on a trip to Warsash on the Solent. Freda Spencer, Churchill’s cousin and Chesterton’s secretary, fell into the water and was rescued by her cousin, who was inspecting sea-plane production. (The Collected Works, Vol. X, 3)

The Strange Music

Other loves may sink and settle, other loves may loose and slack, 
But I wander like a minstrel with a harp upon my back, 
Though the harp be on my bosom, though I finger and I fret, 
Still, my hope is all before me; for I cannot play it yet. 

In your strings is hid a music that no hand hath e’er let fall, 
In your soul is sealed a pleasure that you have not known at all; 
Pleasure subtle as your spirit, strange and slender as your frame, 
Fiercer than the pain that folds you, softer than your sorrow’s name. 

Not as mine, my soul’s annointed, not as mine the rude and light 
Easy mirth of many faces, swaggering pride of song and fight; 
Something stranger, something sweeter, something waiting you afar, 
Secret as your stricken senses, magic as your sorrows are. 

But on this, God’s harp supernal, stretched but to be stricken once, 
Hoary time is a beginner, Life a bungler, Death a dunce. 
But I will not fear to match them – no by God, I will not fear, 
I will learn you, I will play you and the stars stand still to hear.

Marvels

“The essential rectitude of our view of children lies in the fact that we feel them and their ways to be supernatural while, for some mysterious reason, we do not feel ourselves or our own ways to be supernatural. The very smallness of children makes it possible to regard them as marvels; we seem to be dealing with a new race, only to be seen through a microscope. I doubt if anyone of any tenderness or imagination can see the hand of a child and not be a little frightened of it. It is awful to think of the essential human energy moving so tiny a thing; it is like imagining that human nature could live in the wing of a butterfly or the leaf of a tree. When we look upon lives so human and yet so small, we feel as if we ourselves were enlarged to an embarrassing bigness of stature. We feel the same kind of obligation to these creatures that a deity might feel if he had created something that he could not understand.”

~G.K. Chesterton: “A Defence of Baby Worship.”