G. K. Chesterton, fully Gilbert Keith Chesterton

G. K.
Chesterton, fully Gilbert Keith Chesterton
1874
1936

English Journalist, Humorist, Essayist, Novelist and Poet

Author Quotes

You can free things from alien or accidental laws, but not from the laws of their own nature. You may, if you like, free a tiger from his bars; but do not free him from his stripes. Do not free a camel from the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel. Do not go about as a demagogue, encouraging triangles to break out of the prison of their three sides. If a triangle breaks out of its three sides, its life comes to a lamentable end.

What people call impartiality may simply mean indifference, and what people call partiality may simply mean mental activity.

When men have come to the edge of a precipice, it is the lover of life who has the spirit to leap backwards, and only the pessimist who continues to believe in progress.

Where does a wise man kick a pebble? On the beach. Where does a wise man hide a leaf? In the forest.

You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution.

What though they come with scroll and pen, and grave as a shaven clerk, by this sign you shall know them, that they ruin and make dark.

When Michelangelo finished the painting of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, he spent the rest of his life trying to remove the paint that had poured into his sleeve.

Whether the human mind can advance or not, is a question too little discussed, for nothing can be more dangerous than to found our social philosophy on any theory which is debatable but has not been debated.

You can’t have the family farm without the family.

What we call emancipation is always and of necessity simply the free choice of the soul between one set of limitations and another.

When once you have got hold of a vulgar joke, you may be certain that you have got hold of a subtle and spiritual idea.

White founts falling in the courts of the sun, and the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run.

You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion.

What we call personality... has become the most impersonal thing in the world. Its pale and featureless face appears like a ghost at every corner and in every crowd... Individualism kills individuality, precisely because individualism has to be an 'ism' quite as much as Communism or Calvinism. The economic and ethical school which calls itself individualist ended by threatening the world with the flattest and dullest spread of the commonplace. Men, instead of being themselves, set out to find a self to be: a sort of abstract economic self identified with self-interest. But while the self was that of a man, the self-interest was generally that of a class or a trade or even an empire. So far from really remaining a separate self, the man became part of a communal mass of selfishness.

When people begin to ignore human dignity, it will not be long before they begin to ignore human rights

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.

You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it.

What we need is not the cold acceptance of the world as a compromise, but some way in which we can heartily hate and heartily love it. 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.

When people cease to believe in God, they don't believe in nothing; they believe in anything.

Why be something to everybody when you can be everything to somebody?

To be simple is the best thing in the world; to be modest is the next best thing. I am not so sure about being quiet.

Truth is sacred and if you tell the truth too often nobody will believe it.

We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.

We say, not lightly but very literally, that the truth has made us free. They say that it makes us so free that it cannot be the truth. To them it is like believing in fairyland to believe in such freedom as we enjoy. It is like believing in men with wings to entertain the fancy of men with wills. It is like accepting a fable about a squirrel in conversation with a mountain to believe in a man who is free to ask or a God who is free to answer. This is a manly and a rational negation, for which I for one shall always show respect. But I decline to show any respect for those who first of all clip the bird and cage the squirrel, rivet the chains and refuse the freedom, close all the doors of the cosmic prison on us with a clang of eternal iron, tell us that our emancipation is a dream and our dungeon a necessity; and then calmly turn round and tell us they have a freer thought and a more liberal theology.

To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it.

Author Picture
First Name
G. K.
Last Name
Chesterton, fully Gilbert Keith Chesterton
Birth Date
1874
Death Date
1936
Bio

English Journalist, Humorist, Essayist, Novelist and Poet