Today is the day when we… or at least I, celebrate the birthday of one of the world’s favorite authors.
Well… one of my favorite authors, anyway.
I tend to get a bit gushy when I’m discussing a favorite author.
Books (and music, and all manner of art) have always been my… well, rescuers from the insanity of the world.
A good dose of music – say Debussy, or Pink Floyd – or a ripping good read (such as The Three Musketeers, or Grass (by Sheri S Tepper)) always takes me out of the world, and perhaps more importantly, out of my own skin.
If I spend too much time inside myself… well…
It doesn’t end well, for any of us!
Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born on this date in 1874 in London.
And among so incredibly many other things, Chesterton said:
“The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children’s games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. And one of the games to which it is most attached is called “Keep to-morrow dark,” and which is also named (by the rustics in Shropshire, I have no doubt) “Cheat the Prophet.” The players listen very carefully and respectfully to all that the clever men have to say about what is to happen in the next generation. The players then wait until all the clever men are dead, and bury them nicely. They then go and do something else. That is all. For a race of simple tastes, however, it is great fun.”
“If there is one fact we really can prove, from the history that we really do know, it is that despotism can be a development, often a late development and very often indeed the end of societies that have been highly democratic. A despotism may almost be defined as a tired democracy. As fatigue falls on a community, the citizens are less inclined for that eternal vigilance which has truly been called the price of liberty; and they prefer to arm only one single sentinel to watch the city while they sleep.”
“In anything that does cover the whole of your life – in your philosophy and your religion – you must have mirth. If you do not have mirth you will certainly have madness.”
“The center of every man’s existence is a dream. Death, disease, insanity, are merely material accidents, like a toothache or a twisted ankle. That these brutal forces always besiege and often capture the citadel does not prove that they are the citadel.”
“They hate kings, they hate priests, they hate soldiers, they hate sailors. They distrust men of science, they denounce the middle classes, they despair of working men, but they adore humanity. Only they always speak of humanity as if it were a curious foreign nation. They are dividing themselves more and more from men to exalt the strange race of mankind. They are ceasing to be human in the effort to be humane.”
It seems there are also a few (a very few) instances of Chesterton on film out there; a fact I was blissfully ignorant of.
Here’s one of them:
Now it appears my day has been set out before me.
Hoist the gangplank.!
Pull that thing… and… the other thing!
(… and wuv… twue wuv…)
We sail, across the wide, wild sea of the internet, in search of hidden treasure.
Happy Birthday, GK…
Image found here.