Art of the Nightmare

For there is nothing so delightful as a nightmare-when you know it is a nightmare. That is the essential. That is the stern condition laid upon all artists touching this luxury of fear. The terror must be fundamentally frivolous. Sanity may play with insanity; but insanity must not be allowed to play with sanity.

G.K. Chesterton in Alarms and Discursions

Direct Link for this post.

Origin of Modern Thoughts

Men do not know where their own thoughts came from. They do not know what their own words imply. They come in at the end of every controversy and know nothing of where it began or what it is all about. They are constantly assuming certain absolutes, which, if correctly defined, would strike even themselves as being not absolutes but absurdities. To think thus is to be in a tangle; to go on thinking is to be in more and more of a tangle. And at the back of all there is always something understood which is really something misunderstood.

G.K. Chesterton in The Thing

Direct Link for this post.

Why Philosophy

The best reason for a revival of philosophy is that unless a man has a philosophy certain horrible things will happen to him. He will be practical; he will be progressive; he will cultivate efficiency; he will trust in evolution; he will do the work that lies nearest; he will devote himself to deeds, not words. Thus struck down by blow after blow of blind stupidity and random fate, he will stagger on to a miserable death with no comfort but a series of catchwords; such as those which I have catalogued above. Those things are simply substitutes for thoughts. In some cases they are the tags and tail-ends of somebody else’s thinking. That means that a man who refuses to have his own philosophy will not even have the advantages of a brute beast, and be left to his own instincts. He will only have the used-up scraps of somebody else’s philosophy; which the beasts do not have to inherit; hence their happiness.

G.K. Chesterton in The Common Man

Direct Link for this post.

Consistency of Truth

I am rather used to being accused of mocking the thing that I set out to justify. My fate in most controversies is rather pathetic. It is an almost invariable rule that the man with whom I don’t agree thinks I am making a fool of myself, and the man with whom I do agree thinks I am making a fool of him. There seems to be some sort of idea that you are not treating a subject properly if you eulogise it with fantastic terms or defend it by grotesque samples. Yet a truth is equally solemn whatever figure or examples its exponent adopts. It is an equally awful truth that four and four make eight, whether you reckon the thing out in eight onions or eight anges, or eight bricks or eight bishops, or eight minor poets or eight pigs. Similarly, if it be true that God made all things, that grave fact can be asserted by pointing at a start or by waving an umbrella.

G.K. Chesterton in the Illustrated London News, June 9, 1906

From 1905 until his death in 1936, G.K. Chesterton contributed a weekly column to the Illustrated London News. His columns have been collected in 11 volumes by Ignatius Press
Direct Link for this post.

Influence of Romance over Reality

In every age men are always more influenced by romance than by reality. That this is so because real details are so varied and broken, while a widely distributed book is the same for everybody.

G.K. Chesterton in the Illustrated London News, November 4, 1905

From 1905 until his death in 1936, G.K. Chesterton contributed a weekly column to the Illustrated London News. His columns have been collected in 11 volumes by Ignatius Press
Direct Link for this post.

Wandering Mind of GKC

When I began this article I intended to write with a most earnest and urgent moral purpose. But I seem somehow to have lost the thread of it.

G.K. Chesterton in the Illustrated London News, November 4, 1905

From 1905 until his death in 1936, G.K. Chesterton contributed a weekly column to the Illustrated London News. His columns have been collected in 11 volumes by Ignatius Press
Direct Link for this post.

Detective Stories and Real Life

That detective stories, being fictitious, are much more purely rational than detective events in actual life. Sherlock Holmes could only exist in fiction; he is too logical for real life. In real life he would have guessed half his facts a long time before he had deduced them.

G.K. Chesterton in the Illustrated London News, November 4, 1905

From 1905 until his death in 1936, G.K. Chesterton contributed a weekly column to the Illustrated London News. His columns have been collected in 11 volumes by Ignatius Press
Direct Link for this post.

About 789 G.K. Chesterton Quotes, New Quote Added Daily