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

What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism.

When I was a boy there were two curious men running about who were called the optimist and the pessimist. I constantly used the words myself, but I cheerfully confess that I never had any very special idea of what they meant. The only thing which might be considered evident was that they could not mean what they said; for the ordinary verbal explanation was that the optimist thought this world as good as it could be, while the pessimist thought it as bad as it could be. Both these statements being obviously raving nonsense, one had to cast about for other explanations. An optimist could not mean a man who thought everything right and nothing wrong. For that is meaningless; it is like calling everything right and nothing left. Upon the whole, I came to the conclusion that the optimist thought everything good except the pessimist, and that the pessimist thought everything bad, except himself.

When you break the big laws, you do not get freedom; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws.

Women have a thirst for order and beauty as for something physical; there is a strange female power of hating ugliness and waste as good men can only hate sin and bad men virtue.

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.

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.

When you have really exhausted an experience you always reverence and love it. The two things that nearly all of us have thoroughly and really been through are childhood and youth. And though we would not have them back again on any account, we feel that they are both beautiful, because we have drunk them dry.

Women prefer to talk in twos, while men prefer to talk in threes.

What life and death may be to a turkey is not my business; but the soul of Scrooge and the body of Cratchit are my business.

When learned men begin to use their reason, then I generally discover that they haven't got any.

When you pray for anyone you tend to modify your personal attitude toward him. Forgiving means to pardon the unpardonable, faith means believing the unbelievable, and hoping means to hope when things are hopeless.

Yet he is right enough about there being a white magic, if he only knows where to look for it.

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

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 can’t have the family farm without the family.

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.

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