Classic Chesterton

Our local men’s book discussion group (called the Thinklings) is reading Manalive, by G.K. Chesterton. Chesterton (after whom my second son, Chester, is named) had the uncanny knack of looking at the world side-ways, and sometimes backwards, thus seeing things no one else ever noticed. A couple quotes:

“It is the fashion to talk of institutions as cold and cramping things. The truth is that when people are in exceptionally high spirits, really wild with freedom and invention, they always must and they always do, create institutions. When men are weary they fall into anarchy; but while they are gay and vigorous they invariably make rules. This, which is true of all churches and republics of history, is also true of the most trivial parlour game or the most unsophisticated meadow romp. We are never free until some institution frees us; and liberty cannot exist until it is declared by authority,” (20).

“Madness does not come by breaking out, but by giving in; by settling down in some dirty, little self-repeating circle of ideas; by being tamed,” (27).


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