G.K. Chesterton Quotes About Able

Browse 54 famous quotes of G.K. Chesterton about Able.

"It is you who are unpoetical," replied the poet Syme. "If what you say of clerks is true, they can only be as prosaic as your poetry. The rare, strange thing is to hit the mark; the gross, obvious thing is to miss it. We feel it is epical when man with one wild arrow strikes a distant bird. Is it not also epical when man with one wild engine strikes a distant station? Chaos is dull; because in chaos the train might indeed go anywhere, to Baker Street or to Bagdad. But man is a magician, and his whole magic is in this, that he does say Victoria, and lo! it is Victoria. No, take your books of mere poetry and prose; let me read a time table, with tears of pride. Take your Byron, who commemorates the defeats of man; give me Bradshaw, who commemorates his victories. Give me Bradshaw, I say!" ~ G.K. Chesterton
"At any innocent tea-table we may easily hear a man say, "Life is not worth living." We regard it as we regard the statement that it is a fine day; nobody thinks that it can possibly have any serious effect on the man or on the world. And yet if that utterance were really believed, the world would stand on its head. Murderers would be given medals for saving men from life; firemen would be denounced for keeping men from death; poisons would be used as medicines; doctors would be called in when people were well; the Royal Humane Society would be rooted out like a horde of assassins. Yet we never speculate as to whether the conversational pessimist will strengthen or disorganize society; for we are convinced that theories do not matter." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"If you let loose a law, it willdo as a dog does. It will obey its own nature, not yours. Suchsense as you have put into the law (or the dog) will be fulfilled.But you will not be able to fulfil a fragment of anything you haveforgotten to put into it." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"I am sure that it was only because Michael Angelo was engaged in the ancient and honourable occupation of lying in bed that he ever realised how the roof of the Sistine Chapel might be made into an awful imitation of a divine drama that could only be acted in the heavens." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"The real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor even that it is a reasonable one. The commonest kind of trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite. Life is not an illogicality; yet it is a trap for logicians. It looks just a little more mathematical and regular than it is; its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lies in wait." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"IF we desire European civilization to be a raid and a rescue, we shall insist rather that souls are in real peril than that their peril is ultimately unreal. And if we wish to exalt the outcast and the crucified, we shall rather wish to think that a veritable God was crucified, rather than a mere sage or hero. Above all, if we wish to protect the poor we shall be in favour of fixed rules and clear dogmas. The rules of a club are occasionally in favour of the poor member. The drift of a club is always in favour of the rich one." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"Thus, all sane moralists admit that one may sometimes tell a lie; but no sane moralist would approve of telling a little boy to practise telling lies, in case he might one day have to tell a justifiable one." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"Walking up a road at night, I have seen a lamp and a lighted window and a cloud make together a most complete and unmistakable face. If anyone in heaven has that face I shall know him again." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"I would look at the first chapter of any new novel as a final test of its merits. If there was a murdered man under the sofa in the first chapter, I read the story. If there was no murdered man under the sofa in the first chapter, I dismissed the story as tea-table twaddle, which it often really was." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"The modern world is filled with men who hold dogmas so strongly that they do not even know that they are dogmas. It may be said even that the modern world, as a corporate body, holds certain dogmas so strongly that it does not know that they are dogmas. It may be thought 'dogmatic,' for instance, in some circles accounted progressive, to assume the perfection or improvement of man in another world. But it is not thought "dogmatic" to assume the perfection or improvement of man in this world; though that idea of progress is quite as unproved as the idea of immortality, and from a rationalistic point of view quite as improbable. Progress happens to be one of our dogmas, and a dogma means a thing which is not thought dogmatic." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"The only crime of the Government is that it governs. The unpardonable sin of the supreme power is that it is supreme. I do not curse you for being cruel. I do not curse you (though I might) for being kind. I curse you for being safe!" ~ G.K. Chesterton
"It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"Surely we cannot take an open question like the supernatural and shut it with a bang, turning the key of the madhouse on all the mystics of history. You cannot take the region of the unknown and calmly say that, though you know nothing about it, you know all the gates are locked. We do not know enough about the unknown to know that it is unknowable." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"The supreme adventure is not falling in love. The supreme adventure is being born ... by the act of being born, we step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world that we have not made. In other words ... we step into a fairy-tale." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"ask yourself how many people you have met who grumbled at a thing as incurable, and how many who attacked it as curable? How many people we have heard abuse the British elementary schools, as they would abuse the British climate? How few have we met who realized that British education can be altered, but British weather cannot?...For a thousand that regret compulsory education, where is the hundred, or the ten, or the one, who would repeal compulsory education? …At the beginning of our epoch men talked with equal ease about Reform and Repeal. Now everybody talks about reform; nobody talks about repeal." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"It is very foolish of a man to be frightened of a skeleton, for Nature has put an insurmountable obstacle against running away from it." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"His soul swayed in a vertigo of moral indecision. He had only to snap the thread of a rash vow made to a villainous society, and all his life could be as open and sunny as the square beneath him. He had, on the other other hand, only to keep his antiquated honour, and be delivered inch by inch into the power of this great enemy of mankind, whose very intellect was a torture-chamber. Whenever he looked down into the square he saw the comfortable policeman, a pillar of common sense and common order. Whenever he looked back at the breakfast-table he saw the President still quietly studying him with big, unbearable eyes." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"I believe your own accent is inimitable, though I shall practice it in my bath." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"A man's minor actions and arrangements ought to be free, flexible, creative; the things that should be unchangeable are his principles, his ideals. But with us the reverse is true; our views change constantly; but our lunch does not change. Now, I should like men to have strong and rooted conceptions, but as for their lunch, let them have it sometimes in the garden, sometimes in bed, sometimes on the roof, sometimes in the top of a tree. Let them argue from the same first principles, but let them do it in a bed, or a boat, or a balloon." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"El artista es uno con el anarquista; son términos intercambiables." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"Much of our modern difficulty, in religion and other things, arises merely from this: that we confuse the word "indefinable" with the word "vague." If some one speaks of a spiritual fact as "indefinable" we promptly picture something misty, a cloud with indeterminate edges. But this is an error even in commonplace logic. The thing that cannot be defined is the first thing; the primary fact. It is our arms and legs, our pots and pans, that are indefinable. The indefinable is the indisputable. The man next door is indefinable, because he is too actual to be defined. And there are some to whom spiritual things have the same fierce and practical proximity; some to whom God is too actual to be defined." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"But there is in everything a reasonable division of labour. I have written the book, and nothing on earth would induce me to read it." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"It is cold anarchy to say that all men are to meddle in all men'smarriages. It is cold anarchy to say that any doctor may seize andsegregate anyone he likes. But it is not anarchy to say that a fewgreat hygienists might enclose or limit the life of all citizens,as nurses do with a family of children. It is not anarchy, it istyranny; but tyranny is a workable thing." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table. We are in danger of seeing philosophers who doubt the law of gravity as being a mere fancy of their own. Scoffers of old time were too proud to be convinced; but these are too humble to be convinced." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"I never use paradox. The statements I make are wearisome and obvious common sense. I have even been driven to the tedium of reading through my own books, and have been unable to find any paradox. In fact, that thing is quite tragic, and some day I shall hope to write an epic called 'Paradox Lost'." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"Reason is always reasonable, even in the last limbo, in the lost borderland of all things. I know that people charge the Church with lowering reason, but it is really the other way. Alone on earth, the Church makes reason really supreme. Alone on earth, the Church affirms that God Himself is bound by reason." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"He stared and talked at the girl's red hair and amused face for what seemed to be a few minutes; and then, feeling that the groups in such a place should mix, rose to his feet. To his astonishment, he discovered the whole garden empty. Everyone had gone long ago, and he went himself with a rather hurried apology. He left with a sense of champagne in his head, which he could not afterwards explain. In the wild events which were to follow, this girl had no part at all; he never saw her again until all his tale was over. And yet, in some indescribable way, she kept recurring like a motive in music through all his mad adventures afterwards, and the glory of her strange hair ran like a red thread through those dark and ill-drawn tapestries of the night. For what followed was so improbable that it might well have been a dream." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"I like the Cyclostyle ink; it is so inky. I do not think there is anyone who takes quite such a fierce pleasure in things being themselves as I do. The startling wetness of water excites and intoxicates me: the fieriness of fire, the steeliness of steel, the unutterable muddiness of mud. It is just the same with people.... When we call a man "manly" or a woman "womanly" we touch the deepest philosophy." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"Yes, he said in a voice indescribable, you are right. I am afraid of him. Therefore I swear by God that I will seek out this man whom I fear until I find him, and strike him on the mouth. If heaven were his throne and the earth his footstool, I swear that I would pull him down. How? asked the staring Professor. Why? Because I am afraid of him, said Syme; and no man should leave in the universe anything of which he is afraid." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"How quickly revolutions grow old; and, worse still, respectable." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"The most sacred thing is to be able to shut your own door." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"A modern vegetarian is also a teetotaler, yet there is no obvious connection between consuming vegetables and not consuming fermented vegetables. A drunkard, when lifted laboriously out of the gutter, might well be heard huskily to plead that he had fallen there through excessive devotion to a vegetable diet." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"My best friends are all either bottomless skeptics or quite uncontrollable believers . . . ." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"The wise man will follow a star, low and large and fierce in the heavens, but the nearer he comes to it the smaller and smaller it will grow,till he finds it the humble lantern over some little inn or stable. Not till we know the high things shall we know how lowly they are." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"Allied to this question is the kindred question on which we so often hear an innocent British boast--the fact that our statesmen are privately on very friendly relations, although in Parliament they sit on opposite sides of the House. Here, again, it is as well to have no illusions. Our statesmen are not monsters of mystical generosity or insane logic, who are really able to hate a man from three to twelve and to love him from twelve to three... If our statesmen agree more in private, it is for the very simple reason that they agree more in public. And the reason they agree so much in both cases is really that they belong to one social class; and therefore the dining life is the real life. Tory and Liberal statesmen like each other, but it is not because they are both expansive; it is because they are both exclusive." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"A real problem only occurs when there are admittedly disadvantages in all courses that can be pursued. If it is discovered just before a fashionable wedding that the Bishop is locked up in the coal-cellar, that is not a problem. It is obvious to anyone but an extreme anti-clerical or practical joker that the Bishop must be let out of the coal-cellar. But suppose the Bishop has been locked up in the wine-cellar, and from the obscure noises, sounds as of song and dance, etc., it is guessed that he has indiscreetly tested the vintages round him; then indeed we may properly say that there has arisen a problem; for upon the one hand, it is awkward to keep the wedding waiting, while, upon the other, any hasty opening of the door might mean an episcopal rush and scenes of the most unforeseen description." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition and settled upon the organ of conviction, where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"Art is born when the temporary touches the eternal; the shock of beauty is when the irresistible force hits the immovable post." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"A man cannot think himself out of mental evil; for it is actually the organ of thought that has become diseased, ungovernable, and, as it were, independent. He can only be saved by will or faith. The moment his mere reason moves, it moves in the old circular rut; he will go round and round his logical circle." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"For Tommy, on that hot and empty afternoon, was in a state of mind in which grown-up people go away and write books about their whole world, and stories about what it is like to be married, and plays about the important problems of modern times. Tommy, being only ten years old, was not able to do harm on this large and handsome scale." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"If the devil tells you something is too fearful to look at, look at it. If he says something is too terrible to hear, hear it. If you think some truth unbearable, bear it." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"Charity is the power of defending that which we know to be indefensible. Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate. It is true that there is a state of hope which belongs to bright prospects and the morning; but that is not the virtue of hope. The virtue of hope exists only in earthquake and eclipse. It is true that there is a thing crudely called charity, which means charity to the deserving poor; but charity to the deserving is not charity at all, but justice. It is the undeserving who require it, and the ideal either does not exist at all, or exists wholly for them. For practical purposes it is at the hopeless moment that we require the hopeful man, and the virtue either does not exist at all, or begins to exist at that moment. Exactly at the instant when hope ceases to be reasonable it begins to be useful." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"I still think sincere pessimism the unpardonable sin." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"When I had a look at the lights of Broadway by night, I said to my American friends : "What a glorious garden of wonders this would be, to any who was lucky enough to be unable to read" ~ G.K. Chesterton
"If a man prefers nothing I can give him nothing. But nearly all people I have ever met in this western society in which I live would agree to the general proposition that we need this life of practical romance; the combination of something that is strange with something that is secure. We need so to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome. We need to be happy in this wonderland without once being merely comfortable. It is this achievement of my creed that I shall chiefly pursue in these pages." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"... just as when we see a pig in a litter larger than the other pigs, we know that by an unalterable law of the Inscrutable it will some day be larger than an elephant,—just as we know, when we see weeds and dandelions growing more and more thickly in a garden, that they must, in spite of all our efforts, grow taller than the chimney-pots and swallow the house from sight, so we know and reverently acknowledge, that when any power in human politics has shown for any period of time any considerable activity, it will go on until it reaches to the sky." ~ G.K. Chesterton
"Is that all?" asked Flambeau after a long pause. "Have we got to the dull truth at last?""Oh, no," said Father Brown.As the wind died in the most distant pine woods with a long hoot as of mockery Father Brown, with an utterly impassive face, went on:"I only suggested that because you said one could not plausibly connect snuff with clockwork or candles with bright stones. Ten false philosophies will fit the universe; ten false theories will fit Glengyle Castle. But we want the real explanation of the castle and the universe. But are there no other exhibits?"Craven laughed, and Flambeau rose smiling to his feet and strolled down the long table. [Ch.6]" ~ G.K. Chesterton
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Blind and unwavering undisciplined at all times constitutes the real strength of all free men."
Author: Alfred Jarry

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