English Journalist, Humorist, Essayist, Novelist and Poet
G. K. Chesterton, fully Gilbert Keith Chesterton
English Journalist, Humorist, Essayist, Novelist and Poet
There are many definite methods, honest and dishonest, which make people rich; the only instinct I know of which does it is that instinct which theological Christianity crudely describes as the sin of avarice.
There are two kinds of revolutionists, as of most things – a good kind and a bad. The bad revolutionists destroy conventions by appealing to fads – fashions that are newer than conventions. The good do it by appealing to facts that are older than conventions.
There is in Islam a paradox which is perhaps a permanent menace. The great creed born in the desert creates a kind of ecstasy out of the very emptiness of its own land, and even, one may say, out of the emptiness of its own theology. It affirms, with no little sublimity, something that is not merely the singleness but rather the solitude of God. There is the same extreme simplification in the solitary figure of the Prophet; and yet this isolation perpetually reacts into its own opposite. A void is made in the heart of Islam which has to be filled up again and again by a mere repetition of the revolution that founded it. There are no sacraments; the only thing that can happen is a sort of apocalypse, as unique as the end of the world; so the apocalypse can only be repeated and the world end again and again. There are no priests; and yet this equality can only breed a multitude of lawless prophets almost as numerous as priests. The very dogma that there is only one Mahomet produces an endless procession of Mahomets. Of these the mightiest in modern times were the man whose name was Ahmed, and whose more famous title was the Mahdi; and his more ferocious successor Abdullahi, who was generally known as the Khalifa. These great fanatics, or great creators of fanaticism, succeeded in making a militarism almost as famous and formidable as that of the Turkish Empire on whose frontiers it hovered, and in spreading a reign of terror such as can seldom be organized except by civilization.
There should be a burnished tablet let into the ground on the spot where some courageous man first ate Stilton cheese, and survived.
Those who charged the Christians with burning down Rome with fire brands were slanderers -- but they were, at least, far nearer to the nature of Christianity than those among the moderns who tell us that the Christians were a sort of ethical society, being martyred in a languid fashion for telling men they had a duty to their neighbors, and only mildly disliked because they were meek and mild!
There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.
There are two ways in which a man may vanish – through being thoroughly conquered or through being thoroughly the Conqueror… For a man may vanish as Chaos vanished in the face of creation, or he may vanish as God vanished in filling all things with that created life.
There is more simplicity in the man who eats caviar on impulse than in the man who eats Grape Nuts on principle.
There’d be a lot less scandal if people didn’t idealize sin and pose as sinners.
Though I believe in liberalism, I find it difficult to believe in liberals.
There are no uninteresting things, only uninteresting people.
There are two ways of being bloodless – by the avoidance of blood without, and by the absence of blood within.
There is no bigot like the atheist.
These are the things which might conceivably and truly make men forgive their enemies. We can only turn hate to love by understanding what are the things that men have loved; nor is it necessary to ask men to hate their loves in order to love one another. Just as two grocers are most likely to be reconciled when they remember for a moment that they are two fathers, so two nationals are most likely to be reconciled when they remember (if only for a moment) that they are two patriots.
Though the academic authorities are actually proud of conducting everything by means of Examinations, they seldom indulge in what religious people used to describe as Self-Examination. The consequence is that the modern State has educated its citizens in a series of ephemeral fads.
There are no wise few. Every aristocracy that has ever existed has behaved, in all essential points, exactly like a small mob.
There are two ways of dealing with nonsense in this world. One way is to put nonsense in the right place; as when people put nonsense into nursery rhymes. The other is to put nonsense in the wrong place; as when they put it into educational addresses, psychological criticisms, and complaints against nursery rhymes or other normal amusements of mankind.
There is no skeptic who does not feel that men have doubted before, but no man in love thinks that anyone has been in love before.
They died to save their country and they only saved the world.
Thrift is the really romantic thing; economy is more romantic than extravagance... thrift is poetic because it is creative; waste is un-poetic because it is waste... if a man could undertake to make use of all the things in his dustbin, he would be a broader genius than Shakespeare.
There are only two kinds of ballads. There are sad ballads about broken hearts and cheerful ballads about broken heads.
There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there.
There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person. Nothing is more keenly required than a defense of bores. When Byron divided humanity into the bores and bored, he omitted to notice that the higher qualities exist entirely in the bores, the lower qualities in the bored, among whom he counted himself. The bore, by his starry enthusiasm, his solemn happiness, may, in some sense, have proved himself poetical. The bored has certainly proved himself prosaic.
They grip the ground like trees.
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.