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.




Saturday, November 5, 2011

"Briefly, you can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it."

Although Sir Hiram Maxim groups "truth" and "logic" together, it was not necessary that he should fail in both, nor would he, I think, have fallen into these separate disasters but for the excess of the romantic in his temperament. Logic and truth, as a matter of fact, have very little to do with each other. Logic is concerned merely with the fidelity and accuracy with which a certain process is performed, a process which can be performed with any materials, with any assumptions. You can be as logical about griffins and basilisks as about sheep and pigs. On the assumption that a man has two ears, it is good logic that three men have six ears; but on the assumption that a man has four ears it is equally good logic that three men have twelve. And the power of seeing how many ears the average man, as a fact, possesses, the power of counting a gentleman's ears accurately and without mathematical confusion is not a logical thing, but a primary and direct experience, like a physical sense, like a religious vision. The power of seeing ears may be limited by a blow on the head; it may be disturbed and even augmented by two bottles of champagne; but it cannot be affected by argument. Logic has again and again been exposed and expended most brilliantly and effectively on things that do not exist at all. There is far more logic, more sustained consistency of the mind, in the science of heraldry than in the science of biology. Heraldry has plenty of impossible creatures, but it has no unaccountable creature. It has dancing dragons and leopards made of gold; but it has no Missing Link.

Nor did this combination of logic and fantasy, of mathematical madness, die with heraldry and the labyrinthine sciences of the later Middle Ages. There are many modern things in which the spirit of the dancing dragon, who is yet a disciplined dragon, reappears. There is more logic, for instance, in "Alice in Wonderland" than in the Statute Books or the Blue Books. The relations of logic to truth depend then, not upon its perfection as logic, but upon certain pre-logical faculties and certain pre-logical discoveries, upon the possession of those faculties, upon the power of making these discoveries. If a man start with certain assumptions he may be a good logician and a good citizen, a wise man, a successful figure. If he start with certain other assumptions he may be an equally good logician and a bankrupt, a criminal, a raving lunatic. Logic, then, is not necessarily an instrument for finding truth; on the contrary, truth is necessarily an instrument for using logic, for using it, that is, for the discovery of further truth and for the profit of humanity. Briefly, you can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.

-February 25, 1905, Daily News, "The Maxims of Maxim"

(Found in the collection of essays In Defense of Sanity, published just this year by Ignatius Press)

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