“I have often had a fancy for writing a romance about an English yachtsman who slightly miscalculated his course and discovered England under the impression that it was a new island in the South Seas… There will probably be an impression that the man who landed (armed to the teeth and talking by signs) to plant the British flag on that barbaric temple which turned out to be the Pavilion at Brighton, felt rather a fool… What could be more glorious than to brace one’s self up to discover New South Wales and then realize, with a gush of happy tears, that it really was old South Wales. How can we contrive to be at once astonished at the world and yet at home in it? … how can this world give us at once the fascination of a strange town, and the comfort and honour of being our own town? … I wish to set forth my faith as particularly answering this double spiritual need, the need for that mixture of the familiar and the unfamiliar which Christianity has rightly named romance.”
“Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.”
“The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.”
“But the new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist…” but before we get to this classic, lets build up to it a little bit:
“The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered (as Christianity was shattered at the Reformation), it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old CHristian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their care is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful.”
“The peril is that the human intellect is free to destroy itself. Just as one generation could prevent the very existence of the next generation, by all entering a monastery or jumping into the sea, so one set of thinkers can in some degree prevent further thinking by teaching the next generation that there is no validity in any human thought”
The modern world as I found it was solid for Calvinism, for the necessity of things being as they are … All the towering materialism which dominates the modern mind rests ultimately on one assumption; false assumption. It is supposed that a if thing goes on repeating itself it is probably dead; a piece of clockwork. People feel that if the universe was personal it would vary; if the sun were alive, it would dance … Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising.
I have always liked “capture the flag” and even more, the board version, Stratego. It is probably good to put like a #7/Sergeant inside your bombs surrounding your flag, once the #8/Miner breaks through, he will need a friend to gain the ultimate prize.
But, once again, CS Lewis comes to the rescue, here is a good quote ok a few, regarding flags and military operations:
no material yet, but I have found this a paradox: why do some of these characters look even more like each other than one might otherwise suspect?
again, for this chapter “I’ve got nothin” so far. Eternal Revolution,
a little bit like Chairman Mao’s “continuous revolution” (an analog improvement on the USSR’s 5 year plans for world revolution and domination). Too bad Bill and Ted did not take him on their Excellent Adventure(s)
There are certainly plenty of keen insights as to how an otherwise stultifying, byzantine term like “Orthodoxy” can have Romantic (at lest in the classical sense) overtures and undertones and at the same time, but I have not dug up any such as of yet.
Until we get to Chapter VIII, I leave a few random thoughts and images
Hallmark captures the earthy Venusian essence of Romance
Andrei Rublev’s Trinity (1411 – OR – 1425-1427)
Currently resides in Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
as a placeholder until we get to discussing this finale to Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, we here begin with the finale. His mention of mirth reminds me of the description of Aragorn in Lord of the Rings:
Thus Aragorn became at last the most hardy of living Men, skilled in their crafts and lore, and was yet more than they; for he was elvenwise, and there was a light in his eyes that when they were kindled few could endure. His face was sad and stern because of the doom that was laid on him, and yet hope dwelt ever in the depths of his heart, from which mirth would arise at times like a spring from the rock. Return of the King, Appendix A.5,
ok, back, or down, to business:
“I do not think there are two institutions in the universe which contradict each other so flatly as Buddhism and Christianity. Even when I thought, with most other well-informed, though unscholarly, people, that Buddhism and Christianity were alike, there was one thing about them that always perplexed me; I mean the startling difference in their type of religious art… a Christian saint in a gothic cathedral and a Buddhist saint in a CHinese temple. The opposition exists at every point; but perhaps the shortest statement of it is that the Buddhist saint always has his eyes shut while the Christian saint always has them very wide open…
A man may be said loosely to love himself, but he can hardly fall in love with himself, or, if he does, it must be a monotonous relationship. If the world is full of real selves, they can be really unselfish selves. But upon Mrs. Besant’s principle [?] the whole cosmos is only one enormously selfish person.
It is just here that Buddhism is on the side of modern pantheism and immanence. And it is just here that Christianity is on the side of humanity and liberty and love. Love desires personality; therefore love desires division. Itis the instinct of Christianity to be glad that God has broken the universe into little pieces, because they are living pieces. It is her instinct to say ‘little children love one another’ rather than to tell one large person to love himself.”
In ‘Songs before Sunrise,’ written under the inspiration of Garibaldi and the revolt of Italy he proclaimed the newer religion and the purer God which should wither up all the priests of the world:
What doest thou now / Looking Godward to cry / I am I, thou art thou / I am low, thou art high, / I am thou that thou seekest to find him, find thou but thyself , thou art I”
of which the immediate and evident destruction is that tyrants are as much the sons of God as Garibaldis; and that the King Bomba of the Naples having, with utmost success, ‘found himself’ is identical with the ultimate good in all things. The truth is that the Western energy that dethrones tyrants has been directly due to the western theology that says ‘I am I, thou art thou.’ The same spiritual separation which looked up and saw a good king in the universe looked up and saw a bad king in Naples. The worshippers of Bomba’s god dethroned Bomba …
By insisting specially on the immanence of God, we get introspection, self-isolation, quietism, social indifference – Tibet. By insisting specially on the transcendence of God we get wonder, curiosity, moral and political adventure, righteous indignation – Christendom. Insisting that ‘god is inside man, man is always inside himself. By insisting that God transcends man, man has transcended himself.
“And as I close this chaotic volume I open again the strange small book from which all Christianity came; and I am again haunted by a kind of confirmation. The tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect, as in every other, above all the thinkers who ever thought themselves tall. His pathos was natural, almost casual. The Stoics, ancient and modern, were proud of concealing their tears. He never concealed His tears; He showed them plainly on His open face at any daily sight, such as the far sight of His native city. Yet He concealed something. Solemn supermen and imperial diplomatists are proud of restraining their anger. He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell. Yet He restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.”
<RZIM MOMENT #3>