A blog dedicated to providing quotes by and posts relating to one of the most influential (and quotable!) authors of the twentieth century, G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). If you do not know much about GKC, I suggest visiting the webpage of the American Chesterton Society as well as this wonderful Chesterton Facebook Page by a fellow Chestertonian

I also have created a list detailing examples of the influence of Chesterton if you are interested, that I work on from time to time.

(Moreover, for a list of short GKC quotes, I have created one here, citing the sources)

"...Stevenson had found that the secret of life lies in laughter and humility."

-Heretics (1905)

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"The Speaker" Articles

A book I published containing 112 pieces Chesterton wrote for the newspaper "The Speaker" at the beginning of his career.

They are also available for free electronically on another blog of mine here, if you wish to read them that way.




Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Christmas must certainly be delightful to the normal man- if he can be found."

Everything that is really lovable can be hated; and there are undoubtedly people who hate Christmas. It is not difficult to divide them roughly according to their reasons for doing so. There are those, for instance, who hate what they call vulgarity and what is really mankind. There are those who dislike playing the fool, preferring to act the same part in a more serious spirit. There are those who cannot sit down to a steady meal because they have those insane American nerves which the Scriptural writer prophesied when he wrote (foreseeing the life of the rich Yankee): "There is no peace for the wicked." There are those who object to Waits- I never can imagine why. There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions. There are those (equally unchristian in their basic sentiment) who hate Paganism. They regret the Pagan quality in the Christian festival; which is simply regretting that Christianity satisfied the previous cravings of mankind. There are some who cannot or will not eat turkey and sausages. Of course if this is simply part of a private physical necessity, it may leave the soul still in a sound Christmas condition. But if it is part of a philosophy, it is part of a philosophy with which I disagree. I hold myself in a simple abstract position towards the vegetarian and towards the teetotaler. I can respect the thing as a regimen, but not as a religion. As long as the man abstains from low motives I can heartily sympathise with him. It is when he abstains from high motives that I hold him as a heretic.

There are these people, then, who dislike Christmas, and no doubt they are very numerous. But even if they are the majority, they are still essentially mad. Christmas must certainly be delightful to the normal man- if he can be found. I need hardly point out to any readers of this paper so alphabetical a fact of philosophy as the fact that the normal does not mean merely the average. If there are only four men in the world, if one has broken his nose, another had his eye put out, if the third has a bald head, and the fourth has a wooden leg, it does not in the least affect the fact that the normal man, from whom they all by various accidents fall short, is a man with two eyes, two legs, natural hair and an unbroken nose. So it is with mental or moral normality. If you put round a table four of the most celebrated philosophers in modern Europe, no doubt you would find that each had his little abnormality. I do not say the modern philosopher would have a broken nose; though, if there were any spirit and courage in the modern populace he would get one fast enough. Let us say that he had a mental dislocation, his spiritual nose broken, and that some similar criticism applied to each of his three companions. One of them (let us say) might be so constituted that he could not see blotting-paper without bursting into tears. The second (the Prophet of the Will to Power) would be constitutionally afraid of rabbits. A third would be always expecting a visit from a nine-headed monkey. A fourth will expect the Superman. But precisely because all these insanities are different they leave untouched the idea of the central sanity from which they all fall away. The man who is mad on blotting-paper is sane on rabbits. The man who believes in a nine-headed monkey is not such a fool as to believe in the Superman. Even if there be no other men in the world but these four, there is still existent in idea the Normal Man of whom each is a variation or rather a violation. But I incline rather to think that the Normal Man does exist also in a physical and locateable sense. Hiding in some crazy attic from the fury of the populace (whose fiery faces fill the street below like a sea), barricaded against the madness of the mere majority of men, there lives somewhere the man whose name is Man. Wherever he is he is at one with himself, and the balance of his mind is like music. And wherever he is he is eating plum-pudding.

-January 13, 1906, Illustrated London News

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