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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sometimes ... (again)

Previously, I had linked to a quotation of G.K.Chesterton, of which I said: "For all his brilliance, sometimes G.K. Chesterton could be outright childish, in the negative sense, which is an intellectual failure, or even damned foolish, which is a moral failure."

For balance, I offer Genter Reader another glimpse of Chesterton, in which his unalloyed brilliance shines: "The truth is, that all genuine appreciation rests on a certain mystery of humility and almost of darkness. The man who said, ‘Blessed is he that expecteth nothing, for he shall not be disappointed,’ put the eulogy quite inadequately and even falsely. The truth [is] ‘Blessed is he that expecteth nothing, for he shall be gloriously surprised.’ The man who expects nothing sees redder roses than common men can see, and greener grass, and a more startling sun. Blessed is he that expecteth nothing, for he shall possess the cities and the mountains; blessed is the meek, for he shall inherit the earth. Until we realize that things might not be we cannot realize that things are. Until we see the background of darkness we cannot admire the light as a single and created thing. As soon as we have seen that darkness, all light is lightening, sudden, blinding, and divine. Until we picture nonentity we underrate the victory of God, and can realize none of the trophies of His ancient war. It is one of the million wild jests of truth that we know nothing until we know nothing."

As is frequently the case with human beings, in which our virtues and vices are often two sides of the same coin, both the first quoted silliness (or even foolishness) and this profound insight are rooted in Chesterton's affinity for 'paradoxen' ;)