Chesterton’s Persistence as a Source for Generative Insight
This is incredibly interesting, and the video also did a great job. Every first-year law student, and every freshman Congressman / Senator, should be taught this principle. Thank you for sharing. Loved it.
You surprisingly managed to elicit in me an even deeper appreciation of Chesterton (and I am already an avid fan). Thank you for linking "The Drift from Domesticity"; I will print and read it over breakfast. I have "Defiant Joy" sitting on my shelf, but never got around to reading it, but will certainly place it on my current "books to read mountain". Thanks again for your excellent posts Joel!
I loved this piece. As a guy that writes a Substack about books that are hidden and their meanings are not obvious, I really enjoyed hearing about Chesterton’s fence in particular! What a metaphor for my own work!
As someone who is woefully ignorant about Chesterton. Do you think jumping off with The Man Who Was Thursday, which I do have, is a good start?
Are you aware of Paul Vanderklays YT channel? Just found your work but I have a feeling you might appreciate it
Enjoyed the two posts on Chesterton. I have a 1953 collection of his works entitled A Handful Of Authors, good source for his essays/ reviews of authors, such as George Bernard Shaw (as you mentioned). I was surprised by his ”Louisa Alcott,” in which he talks about his trepidation for writing about women/girls.
“I for one will willingly confess that the only thing on earth I am frightfully afraid of is a little girl.… Grown girls and women give us at least glimpses of their meaning. But the whole of the period between a girl who is six years old and a girl who is 16 is to me an abyss not only of mystery, but of terror. If the Prussians were invading England… The best they could do would be to send a long rank or regiment of Prussian girls of twelve, from which I should fly, screaming.”
Hey says interesting things about women authors, too, in the essay.
I can't think of a more quotable writer than Chesterton, and I weirdly reference his fence rather often in my ordinary life, from making a case for reading old books to liturgy as worship on Sundays. Thanks so much for this deep-dive, Joel! A delightful read.
I know nothing about Chesterton other than Father Brown. I'm off to find out. Shall probably start with Quotes.
The idea in this piece applies to so many areas of our society today. Sad part is the majority of the people no longer read, so they will never be exposed to it, the ones who do read, they would be afraid to mention it.
Thank you Joel! Sharing with Chesterton friends if they're not here already. I ordered Orhtodoxy from Amazon a couple of years ago and it came in an Amazon reprint that did the writing no service. Dense and hard to read, unlike the writing itself. Perhaps if I use my pen and make it more my own with marginalia!
A favourite Chesterton quote in my file: "Logic, then, is not necessarily an instrument for finding truth; on the contrary, truth is necessarily an instrument for using logic—for using it, that is, for the discovery of further truth and for the profit of humanity. Briefly, you can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it."
G. K. Chesterton (Daily News, Feb 25, 1905)
I’ve been reading GKC for over thirty years. I’ve now collected all of his more than 100 books in early editions save one (his very rare illustrated profile of William Cobbett). My decades-long habit is to read “Orthodoxy” every January--along with Kuyper’s “Stone Lectures” and Calvin’s “Golden Booklet.”
Thank you for this. I believe the ability to see how similar things differ and how different things are similar is the basis of Solomon's wisdom. The Everlasting Man is another apologist's treasure. He nails the contrast between the daydreams and the nightmare. And The Ball and the Cross is beautiful social commentary.
Great piece. Thanks for making Chesterton so much more than a defender of fences for me!
In 1914, Robert Frost had a thing or two to say about the subject in Mending Wall.
Great commentary. I’m going to grab my Chesterton off my shelf and revisit him! Thank you!