Explore the most impactful and insightful quotes and sayings by Gilbert K. Chesterton, and enrich your perspective with the wisdom. Share these inspiring Gilbert K. Chesterton quotes pictures with your friends on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or your personal blogs, completely free. Here are the top 588 Gilbert K. Chesterton quotes for you to read and share.

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Shouldn't atheist have an equal obligation to explain pleasure in a world of randomness. Where does pleasure come from? -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is the decisive people who have become civilised; it is the indecisive, otherwise called the higher sceptics, or the idealistic doubters, who have remained barbarians. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is the first law of practical courage. To be in the weakest camp is to be in the strongest school. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Being a success at work is not worth it if it means being a failure at home. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Mysticism keeps mankind sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If a man does not talk to himself, it is because he is not worth talking to. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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All but the hard hearted man must be torn with pity for this pathetic dilemma of the rich man, who has to keep the poor man just stout enough to do the work and just thin enough to have to do it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The danger of loss of faith in God is not that one will believe in nothing, but rather that one will believe in anything. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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This is, first and last, the real value of Christmas; in so far as the mythology remains at all it is a kind of happy mythology. Personally, of course, I believe in Santa Claus; but it is the season of forgiveness, and I will forgive others for not doing so. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A man imagines a happy marriage as a marriage of love; even if he makes fun of marriages that are without love, or feels sorry for lovers who are without marriage. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is not greedy to enjoy a good dinner, any more than it is to enjoy a good concert. But I do think there is something greedy about trying to enjoy the dinner and the concert at the same time. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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In Catholicism, the pint, the pipe and the Cross can all fit together. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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You'll never find the solution if you don't see the problem. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Let a man walk ten miles steadily on a hot summer's day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Any one of the strange laws we suffer is a compromise between a fad and a vested interest. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Puritanism was an honourable mood; it was a noble fad. In other words, it was a highly creditable mistake. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Mankind is not a tribe of animals to which we owe compassion. Mankind is a club to which we owe our subscription. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The worst moment for an atheist is when he feels a profound sense of gratitude and has no one to thank. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Every sane man recognises that unlimited liberty is anarchy, or rather is nonentity. The civic idea of liberty is to give the citizen a province of liberty; a limitation within which a citizen is a king. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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For friendship implies individuality; whereas comradeship really implies the temporary subordination, if not the temporary swamping of individuality. Friends are the better for being two; but comrades are the better for being two million. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Is ditchwater dull? Naturalists with microscopes have told me that it teems with quiet fun. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The test of happiness is gratitude. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Artistic temperament is the disease that afflicts amateurs. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There is a case for telling the truth; there is a case for avoiding the scandal; but there is no possible defense for the man who tells the scandal, but does not tell the truth -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Only men to whom the family is sacred will ever have a standard or a status by which to criticize the State. They alone can appeal to something more holy than the gods of the city. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Faith means believing the unbelievable. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Instead of the machine being a giant to which the man is the pygmy, we must at last reverse the proportions until man is a giant to whom the machine is the toy. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A great classic means a man whom one can praise without having read. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A figure of speech can often get into a crack too small for a definition. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The sort of man who admires Italian art while despising Italian religion is a tourist and a cad. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is better to speak wisdom foolishly like the saints than to speak folly wisely like the deans. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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We have passed the age of the demagogue, the man who has little to say and says it loud. We have come to the age of the mystagogue or don, the man who has nothing to say, but says it softly and impressively in an indistinct whisper. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Hell is God's great compliment to the reality of human freedom and the dignity of human choice. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Every man is important if he loses his life;and every man is funny if he loses his hat and has to run after it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The philosophy of this world may be founded on facts, but its business is run on spiritual impressions and atmospheres. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There is less difference than many suppose between the ideal Socialist system, in which the big businesses are run by the State, and the present Capitalist system, in which the State is run by the big businesses. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The men of the clique live together because they have the same kind of soul, and their narrowness is a narrowness of spiritual coherence and contentment, like that which exists in hell ... -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I am a journalist and have no earthly motives except curiosity and personal vanity. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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But since he stood for England And knew what England means, Unless you give him bacon You must not give him beans. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The only way to be sure of catching a train is to miss the one before it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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In the modern conflict between the Smile and the Laugh, I am all in favor of laughing. The recent stage of culture and criticism might very well be summed up as the men who smile criticizing the men who laugh. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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CIVILISATION is not to be judged by the rapidity of communication, but by the value of what is communicated. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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America has a new delicacy, a coarse, rank refinement. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The vulgar man is always the most distinguished, for the very desire to be distinguished is vulgar. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Pride juggles with her toppling towers, They strike the sun and cease, But the firm feet of humility They grip the ground like trees. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Moral issues are always terribly complex for someone without principles. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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We cannot fling ourselves into the blank future; we can only call up images from the past. This being so, the important principle follows, that how many images we have largely depends on how much past we have. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A really great person is the person who makes every person feel great. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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All good men are international. Nearly all bad men are cosmopolitan. If we are to be international we must be national. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is very good for a man to talk about what he does not understand; as long as he understands that he does not understand it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I am at one with my duality. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The voice of the special rebels and prophets, recommending discontent, should, as I have said, sound now and then suddenly, like a trumpet. But the voices of the saints and sages, recommending contentment, should sound unceasingly, like the sea. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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God is not a symbol of goodness;
goodness is a symbol of God -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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[Paradox is] truth standing on its head to gain attention. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There are many ways to fall down, but there's only one way to stand up straight. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Man is at his tallest when he bows. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Modern broad-mindedness benefits the rich; and benefits nobody else. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If the common man in the past had a grave respect for property, it may conceivably have been because he sometimes had some of his own. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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We all know that the 'divine glory of the ego' is socially a great nuisance; we all do actually value our friends for modesty, freshness, and simplicity of heart. Whatever may be the reason, we all do warmly respect humility in other people. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The most important fact about the subject of education is that there is no such thing. Education is not a subject and it does not deal in subjects. It is instead the transfer of a way of life. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Surprise is the secret of joy. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Facts by themselves can often feed the flame of madness, because sanity is a spirit. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The home is not the one tame place in the world of adventure. It is the one wild place in the world of rules and set tasks. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The mind that finds its way to wild places is the poet's; but the mind that never finds its way back is the lunatic's. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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All slang is metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I should favour anything that would increase the present enormous authority of women and their creative action in their own homes. The average woman ... is a despot; the average man is a serf. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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To say that a man is an idealist is merely to say that he is a man. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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History is not a toboggan slide, but a road to be reconsidered and even retraced -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Making the landlord and the tenant the same person has certain advantages, as that the tenant pays no rent, while the landlord does a little work. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A feminist is someone who loathes being a woman and who dislikes the chief feminine characteristics. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There is in life an element of elfin coincidence which people reckoning on the prosaic may perpetually miss. As it has been well expressed in the paradox of Poe, wisdom should reason on the unforeseen. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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THERE are no wise few; for in all men rages the folly of the Fall. Take your strongest, happiest, handsomest, best born, best bred, best instructed men on earth and give them special power for half an hour and because they are men they will begin to [perform] badly ... -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If the world grows to worldly, it can be rebuked by the Church; but if the Church grows to worldly, it cannot be adequately rebuked for worldlyness by the world. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A good man's work is effected by doing what he does, a woman's by being what she is. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The most valuable book we can read, about countries we have visited, is that which recalls to us something that we did notice, but did not notice that we noticed. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The only thing that has kept the race of men from the mad extremes of the convent and the pirate-galley, the night-club and the lethal chamber, has been mysticism - the belief that logic is misleading, and that things are not what they seem. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I've searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A puritan is a person who pours righteous indignation into the wrong things. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It was the mystical dogma of Bentham and Adam Smith and the rest, that some of the worst of human passions would turn out to be all for the best. It was the mysterious doctrine that selfishness would do the work of unselfishness. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There are two kinds of paradoxes. They are not so much the good and the bad, nor even the true and the false. Rather they are the fruitful and the barren; the paradoxes which produce life and the paradoxes that merely announce death. Nearly all modern paradoxes merely announce death. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is because artists do not practise, patrons do not patronize, crowds do not assemble to reverently worship the great work of Doing Nothing, that the world has lost its philosophy and even failed to invent a new religion. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The true savage is a slave, and is always talking about what he must do; the true civilised man is a free man, and is always talking about what he may do. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There is no such thing as Success ... That a thing is successful merely means that it is; a millionaire is successful in being a millionaire and a donkey in being a donkey. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The doctrine of human equality reposes on this: that there is no man really clever who has not found that he is stupid. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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We are justified in enforcing good morals, for they belong to all mankind; but we are not justified in enforcing good manners, for good manners always mean our own manners. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The long words are not the hard words, it is the short words that are hard. There is much more metaphysical subtlety in the word "damn" than in the word "degeneration." -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Men spoke much in my boyhood about restricted or ruined men of genius: and it was common to say that many a man was a Great Might-Have-Been. To me it's a more solid and startling fact that any man in the street is a Great Might-Not-Have-Been. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Americans are a very backward people, with all the real virtues of a backward people; the patriarchal simplicity and human dignity of a democracy, and a respect for labor uncorrupted by cynicism. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Precisely because our political speeches are meant to be reported, they are not worth reporting. Precisely because they are carefully designed to be read, nobody reads them. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Gluttony is a great fault; but we do not necessarily dislike a glutton. We only dislike the glutton when he becomes a gourmet-that is, we only dislike him when he not only wants the best for himself, but knows what is best for other people. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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When "everyone knows" that something is so, it is always more interesting and often illuminating to assumeexactly the opposite, and to see where that leads. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Islam was something like a Christian heresy. The early heresies had been full of mad reversals and evasions of the Incarnation, rescuing their Jesus from the reality of his body even at the expense of the sincerity of his soul. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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In a world where everything is ridiculous, nothing can be ridiculed. You cannot unmask a mask. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It was the people who did not care who filled the world with fire and oppression. It was the hands of the indifferent that lit the faggots; it was the hands of the indifferent that turned the rack. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The great saint may be said to mix all his thoughts with thanks. All goods look better when they look like gifts. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A crown of roses is also a crown of thorns. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The man who says, 'my country right or wrong' is like the man who says, 'my mother drunk or sober' -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Posting a letter and getting married [sic] are among the few things left that are entirely romantic; for to be entirely romantic, a thing must be irrevocable -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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With every step of our lives we enter into the middle of some story which we are certain to misunderstand. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If we want to give poor people soap we must set out deliberately to give them luxuries. If we will not make them rich enough to be clean, then empathically we must do what we did with the saints. We must reverence them for being dirty. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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[No society can survive the socialist] fallacy that there is an absolutely unlimited number of inspired officials and an absolutely unlimited amount of money to pay them. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is human to err; and the only final and deadly error, among all our errors, is denying that we have ever erred. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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When people begin to ignore human dignity, it will not be long before they begin to ignore human rights. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A man cannot have the energy to produce good art without having the energy to wish to pass beyond it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A great man is not a man so strong that he feels less than other men; he is a man so strong that he feels more. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Youth is the period in which a man can be hopeless. The end of every episode is the end of the world. But the power of hoping through everything, the knowledge that the soul survives its adventures, that great inspiration comes to the middle-aged. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Architecture approaches nearer than any other art to being irrevocable because it is so difficult to get rid of. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is unpardonable conceit not to laugh at your own jokes. Joking is undignified; that is why it is so good for one's soul. Do not fancy you can be a detached wit and avoid being a buffoon; you cannot. If you are the Court Jester you must be the Court Fool. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The strangest whim has seized me ... After all I think I will not hang myself today. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Every one of the great revolutionists, from Isaiah to Shelley, have been optimists. They have been indignant, not about the badness of existence, but about the slowness of men in realizing
its goodness. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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When we really worship anything, we love not only its clearness but its obscurity. We exult in its very invisibility. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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We do not want, as the newspapers say, a church that will move with the world. We want a church that will move the world. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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When you with velvets mantled o'er, Defy December's tempests frore, Oh! spare one garment from your store, To clothe the poor at Christmas. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A great deal of contemporary criticism reads to me like a man saying, 'Of course I do not like green cheese. I am very fond of brown sherry. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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He said he didn't very well understand how George was going to sleep any more than he did now, seeing that there were only twenty-four hours in each day. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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For good or evil, a line has been passed in our political history; and something that we have known all our lives is dead. I will take only one example of it: our politicians can no longer be caricatured. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Because our expression is imperfect we need friendship to fill up the imperfections. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The aim of good prose words is to mean what they say. The aim of good poetical words is to mean what they do not say. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Women have a thirst for order and beauty as for something physical; there is a strange female power of hating ugliness and waste as good men can only hate sin and bad men virtue. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Fable is more historical than fact, because fact tells us about one man and fable tells us about a million men. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There are many books which we think we have read when we have not. There are, at least, many that we think we remember when we do not. An original picture was, perhaps, imprinted upon the brain, but it has changed with our own changing minds. We only remember our remembrance. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Obviously if any actions, even a lunatic's, can be causeless, determinism is done for. If the chain of causation can be broken for a madman, it can be broken for a man. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A man does not know what he is saying until he knows what he is not saying. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Savages and modern artists are alike strangely driven to create something uglier than themselves. but the artists find it harder. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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God is like the sun; you cannot look at it, but without it you cannot look at anything else. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I have argued with him on almost every subject in the world, and we have always been on opposite sides, without affectation or animosity ... It is necessary to disagree with him as much as I do, in order to admire him as I do; and I am proud of him as a foe even more than as a friend. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is much easier to write a good Times leading article than a good joke in Punch. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I have myself a poetical enthusiasm for pigs, and the paradise of my fancy is one where pigs have wings. But it is only men, especially wise men, who discuss whether pigs can fly; we have no particular proof that pigs ever discuss it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Business, especially big business, is now organized like an army. It is, as some would say, a sort of mild militarism without bloodshed; as I say, a militarism without the military virtues. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The primary paradox of Christianity is that the ordinary condition of man is not his sane or sensible condition; that the normal itself is an abnormality. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Brave men are all vertebrates; they have their softness on the surface and their toughness in the middle. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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And all over the world, the old literature, the popular literature, is the same. It consists of very dignified sorrow and very undignified fun. Its sad tales are of broken hearts; its happy tales are of broken heads. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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People that insist upon drinking and driving, are putting the quart before the hearse. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Mr. McCabe thinks that I am not serious but only funny, because Mr. McCabe thinks that funny is the opposite of serious. Funny is the opposite of not funny and nothing else. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I never could see anything wrong in sensationalism; and I am sure our society is suffering more from secrecy than from flamboyant revelations. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Earth will grow worse till men redeem it, And wars more evil, ere all wars cease. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The only object of liberty is life. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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But pure wit is akin to Puritanism; to the perfect and painful consciousness of the final fact in the universe. Very briefly, the man who sees the consistency in things is a wit - and a Calvinist. The man who sees the inconsistency in things is a humorist - and a Catholic. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There is nothing harder to learn than painting and nothing which most people take less trouble about learning. An art school is a place where about three people work with feverish energy and everybody else idles to a degree that I should have conceived unattainable by human nature. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The Party System was founded on one national notion of fair play. It was the notion that folly and futility should be fairly divided between both sides. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Modern man is educated to understand foreign languages and misunderstand foreigners. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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While once it was the rank and file that cheered with all the partisan passions at their heights, today it is the party leaders who are cheering themselves; and all by themselves. The mob that is their audience is in one vast universal trance, thinking about something else. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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You can free things from alien or accidental laws, but not from the laws of their own nature. You may, if you like, free a tiger from his bars; but do not free him from his stripes. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The highest and noblest thing that history can be is a good story. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Christianity met the mythological search for romance by being a story and the philosophical search for truth by being a true story. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The great misfortune of the modern English is not at all that they are more boastful than other people (they are not); it is that they are boastful about those particular things which nobody can boast of without losing them. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The unconscious democracy of America is a very fine thing. It is a true and deep and instinctive assumption of the equality of citizens, which even voting and elections have not destroyed. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There are a good many fools who call me a friend, and also a good many friends who call me a fool. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The old assumption of the approximate impossibility of war really rested on a similar assumption about the impossibility of evil-and especially of evil in high places. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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What is called matriarchy is simply moral anarchy, in which the mother alone remains fixed because all the fathers are fugitive and irresponsible. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Gratitude, being nearly the greatest of human duties, is also nearly the most difficult. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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When a person has found something which he prefers to life itself, he for the first time has begun to live. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There is no great harm in the theorist who makes up a new theory to fit a new event. But the theorist who starts with a false theory and then sees everything as making it come true is the most dangerous enemy of human reason. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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No man can be merry unless he is serious. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There is also an insulting speech about 'one grey day just like another'. You might as well talk about one green tree like another. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Youth is always too serious, and just now it is too serious about frivolity. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The miser is the man who starves himself and everybody else, in order to worship wealth in its dead form, as distinct from its living form. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The first fact about the celebration of a birthday is that it is a way of affirming defiantly, and even flamboyantly, that it is a good thing to be alive. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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People who make history know nothing about history. You can see that in the sort of history they make. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Boys like romantic tales; but babies like realistic tales-because they find them romantic. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Real development is not leaving things behind, as on a road, but drawing life from them, as from a root. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Education is implication. It is not the things you say which children
respect; when you say things, they very commonly laugh and do the opposite.
It is the things you assume which really sink into them. It is the things
you forget even to teach that they learn. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Hope means expectancy when things are otherwise hopeless. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Every politician is emphatically a promising politician. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Forms of expression always appear turgid to those who do not share the emotions they represent. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Women prefer to talk in twos, while men prefer to talk in threes. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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[Capitalism is] that commercial system in which supply immediately answers to demand, and in which everybody seems to be thoroughly dissatisfied and unable to get anything he wants. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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[A pacifist is] the last and least excusable on the list of the enemies of society. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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We're all in the same boat, and we're all seasick. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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How much happier you would be, how much more of you there would be, if the hammer of a higher God could smash your small cosmos. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Christianity, whatever else it is, is an explosion. Unless it is sensational there is simply no sense in it. Unless the Gospel sounds like a gun going off it has not been uttered at all. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Adventure is the champagne of life. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Stick to the man who looks out of the window and tries to understand the world. Keep clear of the man who looks in at the window and tries to understand you. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Very few reputations are gained by unsullied virtue. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The noble temptation to see too much in everything. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The lunatic is the man who lives in a small world but thinks it is a large one; he is the man who lives in a tenth of the truth, and thinks it is the whole. The madman cannot conceive any cosmos outside a certain tale or conspiracy or vision. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The aesthete aims at harmony rather than beauty. If his hair does not match the mauve sunset against which he is standing, he hurriedly dyes his hair another shade of mauve. If his wife does not go with the wall-paper, he gets a divorce. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The Christian is quite free to believe that there is a considerable amount of settled order and inevitable development in the universe. But the materialist is not allowed to admit into his spotless machine the slightest speck of spiritualism or miracle. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Men rush toward complexity; but yearn for simplicity. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Original sin is the only doctrine that's been empirically validated by 2,000 years of human history. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Before the Roman came to Rye or out to severn strode, / The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There is no obligation on us to be richer, or busier, or more efficient, or more productive, or more progressive, or any way worldlier or wealthier, if it does not make us happier. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The trouble with Christianity is, not that its failed, but that it's never been tried ... not that it can't remake the world, but that it's difficult. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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But out of the desert, from the dry places and the dreadful suns, come the cruel children of the lonely God; the real Unitarians who with scimitar in hand have laid waste the world. For it is not well for God to be alone. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Marriage is an adventure, like going to war. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Nobody notices postmen, yet they have passions like other men. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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When we look upon lives so human and yet so small, we feel as if we ourselves were enlarged to an embarrassing bigness of stature. We feel the same kind of obligation to these creatures
that a deity might feel if he had created something that he could not understand. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The chief object of education is not to learn things but to unlearn things. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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ONCE remove the old arena of theological quarrels, and you will throw open the whole world to the most horrible, the most hopeless, the most endless, the most truly interminable quarrels; the untheological quarrels. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Men always talk about the most important things to perfect strangers. In the perfect stranger we perceive man himself; the image of a God is not disguised by resemblances to an uncle or doubts of wisdom of a mustache. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The man of the true religious tradition understands two things: liberty and obedience. The first means knowing what you really want. The second means knowing what you really trust. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I would rather a boy learnt in the roughest school the courage to hit a politician, or gained in the hardest school the learning to refute him - rather than that he should gain in the most enlightened school the cunning to copy him. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Nothing is poetical if plain daylight is not poetical; and no monster should amaze us if the normal man does not amaze. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The Mass is not only about God becoming man, it is about Man becoming more himself. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There is no better test of a man's ultimate chivalry and integrity than how he behaves when he is wrong ... A stiff apology is a second insult. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The whole order of things is as outrageous as any miracle which could presume to violate it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is often a mistake to combine two pleasures, because pleasures, like pains, can act as counter-irri-tants to each other. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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We are all ordinary people. And it's the extraordinary people Who know it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Freethinkers are occasionally thoughtful, though never free. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. Unless a man starts on the strange assumption that he has never existed before, it is quite certain that he will never exist afterwards. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Adventure is the champagne of life, but I prefer my champagne and my adventures dry. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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We have had no good comic operas of late, because the real world has been more comic than any possible opera. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Modern nature-worship is all upside down. Trees and fields ought to be the ordinary things; terraces and temples ought to be extraordinary. I am on the side of the man who lives in the country and wants to go to London. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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At least five times, with the Arian and the Albigensian, with the Humanist skeptic, after Voltaire and after Darwin, the Christian Faith has to all appearance, gone to the dogs? But, in each of these five cases, it was the dog that died. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Time and again, the Faith has to all appearances gone to the dogs. But each time, it was the dog that died. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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They have invented a phrase, a phrase that is a black and white contradiction in two words - 'free-love' - as if a lover ever had been, or ever could be, free. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The diseased pride [of artistic individualists] was not even conscious of a public interest, and would have found all political terms utterly tasteless and insignificant. It was no longer a question of one man one vote, but of one man one universe. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I represent the jolly mass of mankind. I am the happy and reckless Christian. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It's the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There is only one thing certain and that is that nothing is certain -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Plato was only a Bernard Shaw who unfortunately made his jokes in Greek. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Agnostic is the Greek word, for the Latin word, for ignorant -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The big corporation is not in the least remarkable for efficiency; it is only too big to be blamed for its inefficiency. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Dipsomaniac and the abstainer are not only both mistaken, but they both make the same mistake. They both regard wine as a drug and not as a drink. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Every work of art has one indispensable mark ... the center of it is simple, however much the fulfillment may be complicated. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It's natural to believe in the supernatural. It never feels natural to accept only natural things. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The only words that ever satisfied me as describing nature are the terms used in fairy books, charm, spell, enchantment; they express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Students of popular science ... are always insisting that Christianity and Buddhism are very much alike, especially Buddhism. This is generally believed, and I believed it myself until I read a book giving the reasons for it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A fad or heresy is the exaltation of something which even if true, is secondary or temporary in its nature against those things which are essential and eternal, those things which always prove themselves true in the long run. In short, it is the setting up of the mood against the mind. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The real pleasure-seeking is the combination of luxury and austerity in such a way that the luxury can really be felt. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is true that there is a thing crudely called charity, which means charity to the deserving poor; but charity to the deserving is not charity at all, but justice. It is the undeserving who require it, and the ideal either does not exist at all, or exists wholly for them. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A yawn is a silent shout. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I would never commit the positively anti-social action of robbing a bank, or worse still, working in one. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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You may think a crime horrible because you could never commit it. I think it is horrible because I could commit it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Saint George he was for England, And before he killed the dragon he drank a pint of English ale out of an English flagon. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Idolatry is when you worship what you should use, and use what you should worship. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Your next-door neighbor is not a man; he is an environment. He is the barking of a dog; he is the noise of a piano; he is a dispute about a party wall; he is drains that are worse than yours, or roses that are better than yours. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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When learned men begin to use their reason, then I generally discover that they haven't got any. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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What life and death may be to a turkey is not my business; but the soul of Scrooge and the body of Cratchit are my business. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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To be simple is the best thing in the world; to be modest is the next best thing. I am not sure about being quiet. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Being 'contented' ought to mean in English, as it does in French, being pleased. Being content with an attic ought not to mean being unable to move from it and resigned to living in it; it ought to mean appreciating all there is in such a position. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Sticking to one woman is a small price to pay for so much as having seen one woman. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A great city is the place to escape the true drama of provincial life, and find solace in fantasy. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Marriage halves our griefs, doubles our joys, and quadruples our expenses -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The past is democratic, because it is a people. The future is despotic, because it is a caprice. Every man is alone in his prediction, just as each man is alone in a dream. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I believe your own accent is inimitable, though I shall practice it in my bath. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Many clever men like you have trusted to civilization. Many clever Babylonians, many clever Egyptians, many clever men at the end of Rome. Can you tell me, in a world that is flagrant with the failures of civilisation, what there is particularly immortal about yours? -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It seems a pity that psychology has destroyed all our knowledge of human nature. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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An artist will betray himself by some sort of sincerity. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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In truth the Church is too unique to prove herself unique. For most popular and easy proof is by parallel; and here there is no parallel. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The word good has many meanings ... -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There are two kinds of rebellion. The first is one in which the slave demands something that the tyrant has got. The second is one in which he demands something that the tyrant has not got. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Experience which was once claimed by the aged is now claimed exclusively by the young. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There is, therefore, about all complete conviction a kind of huge helplessness. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Correctitude implies nowadays a formal or fastidious use of words; and what is wanted is not so much the correct as the living use of words. It is the memory of the meaning of a word which is the life of the word. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I tell you naught for your comfort, Yea, naught for your desire, Save that the sky grows darker yet And the sea rises higher. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Christianity satisfies suddenly and perfectly man's ancestral instinct for being the right way up; satisfies it supremely in this, that by its creed Joy becomes something gigantic, and Sadness something special and small. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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As an explanation of the world materialism has a sort of insane simplicity. It has the quality of a madman's arguments; we have at once the sense of it covering everything and the sense of it leaving everything out. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Life exists for the love of music or beautiful things. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The evolutionists seem to know everything about the missing link except the fact that it is missing. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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[Marxism will] in a generation or so [go] into the limbo of most heresies, but meanwhile it will have poisoned the Russian Revolution. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Whether a man chooses to tell the truth in long sentences or short jokes is a problem analogous to whether he chooses to tell the truth in French or in German. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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All that we call spirit and art and ecstacy only means that for one awful instant we remember that we forgot. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Modern science is necessarily a double-edged tool, a tool that cuts both ways ... There is no doubt that a Zeppelin is a wonderful thing; but that did not prevent it from becoming a horrible thing. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The determining bulk of Scotch people had heard of golf ever since they had heard of God and often considered the two as of equal importance. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Christian Science ... is the direct denial both of science and of Christianity, for Science rests wholly on the recognition of truth and Christianity on the recognition of pain. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Men feel that cruelty to the poor is a kind of cruelty to animals. They never feel that it is an injustice to equals; nay it is treachery to comrades. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If a man only likes victory he must always come late for the battle. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If our caricaturists do not hate their enemies, it is not because they are too big to hate them, but because their enemies are not big enough to hate. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I am more than a devil; I am a man. I can do the one thing which Satan himself cannot do - I can die. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The reason that angels fly is that they take themselves so lightly. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The hands that had made the sun and stars were too small to reach the huge heads of the cattle. Upon this paradox, we might almost say upon this jest, all the literature of our faith is founded. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Faith is always at a disadvantage; it is a perpetually defeated thing which survives all conquerors. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Destiny is but a phrase of the weak human heart - the dark apology for every error. The strong and virtuous admit no destiny. On earth conscience guides; in heaven God watches. And destiny is but the phantom we invoke to silence the one and dethrone the other. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Ingratitude is surely the chief of the intellectual sins of man. He takes his political benefits for granted, just as he takes the skies and the seasons for granted. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Comradeship is quite a different thing from friendship ... -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A great man knows he is not God, and the greater he is the better he knows it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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For my part, I should be inclined to suggest that the chief object of education should be to restore simplicity. If you like to put it so, the chief object of education is not to learn things; nay, the chief object of education is to unlearn things. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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In a world flagrant with the failures of civilization, what is there particularly immortal about our own? -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Some men never feel small, but these are the few men who are. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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People seem to fight about things very unsuitable for fighting. They make a frightful noise in support of very quiet things. They knock each other about in the name of very fragile things. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Most Americans ... have a sort of permanent intoxication from within, a sort of invisible champagne. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Men reform a thing by removing the reality from it, and then do not know what to do with the unreality that is left. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Why be something to everybody when you can be everything to somebody? -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly. (on not perfectionism to put things off) . -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Large organization is loose organization. Nay, it would be almost as true to say that organization is always disorganization. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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We must be fond of the world, even in order to change it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Nothing is so remote from us as the thing which is not old enough to be history and not new enough to be news. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Religious and philosophical beliefs are, indeed, as dangerous as fire, and nothing can take from them that beauty of danger. But there is only one way of really guarding ourselves against the excessive danger of them, and that is to be steeped in philosophy and soaked in religion. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The simple sense of wonder at the shapes of things, and at their exuberant independence of our intellectual standards and our trivial definitions, is the basis of spirituality. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Some of the most frantic lies on the face of life are told with modesty and restraint; for the simple reason that only modesty and restraint will save them. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Democracy is like blowing your nose. You may not do it well, but it's something you ought to do yourself. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The family is the test of freedom; because the family is the only thing that the free man makes for himself and by himself. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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They say travel broadens the mind, but you must have the mind. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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All real democracy is an attempt like that of a jolly hostess to bring the shy people out. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A good Moslem king was one who was strict in religion, valiant in battle, just in giving judgment among his people, but not one who had the slightest objection in international matters to removing his neighbour's landmark. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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And we were angry and poor and happy, And proud of seeing our names in print. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Science boasts of the distance of its stars; of the terrific remoteness of the things of which it has to speak. But poetry and religion always insist upon the proximity, the almost menacing closeness of the things with which they are concerned. Always the Kingdom of Heaven is "At Hand." -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The old religionist cried out for his god. The new religionist cries out for some god to be his. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Doing nothing is sometimes one of the highest of the duties of man. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The people has no definite disbelief in the temples of theology. The people has a very fiery and practical disbelief in the temples of physical science. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A tragedy means always a mans struggle with that which is stronger than man. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There is only one reason an intelligent person doesn't believe in miracles. He or she believes in materialism. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Thanks are the highest form of thought. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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O God of earth and altar,
Bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter,
Our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us,
The swords of scorn divide,
Take not thy thunder from us,
But take away our pride. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I am a bad reporter because everything seems to me worth reporting; and a bad reviewer because every sentence in every book suggests a separate essay. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If I did not believe in God, I should still want my doctor, my lawyer and my banker to do so. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A great curse has fallen upon modern life with the discovery of the vastness of the word Education. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The poetry of art is in beholding the single tower; the poetry of nature in seeing the single tree; the poetry of love in following the single woman; the poetry of religion in worshipping the single star. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I have investigated the dust-heaps of humanity, and found a treasure in all of them. I have found that humanity is not incidentally engaged, but eternally and systematically engaged, in throwing gold into the gutter and diamonds into the sea. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Atheism is too theological. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Without authority there is no liberty. Freedom is doomed to destruction at every turn, unless there is a recognized right to freedom. And if there are rights, there is an authority to which we appeal for them. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Against a dark sky all flowers look like fireworks. There is something strange about them, at once vivid and secret, like flowers traced in fire in the phantasmal garden of a witch. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I've been to every park in every city and not seen a statue to a committee. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There must be some good in the life of battle, for so many good men have enjoyed being soldiers. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The cosmos is about the smallest hole that a man can hide his head in. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal. There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The English are no nearer than they were a hundred years ago to knowing what Jefferson really meant when he said that God had created all men equal. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Now there is any amount of this nonsense cropping up among American cranks. Anybody may propose to establish coercive Eugenics; or enforce psychoanalysis that is, enforce confession without absolution. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A radical generally meant a man who thought he could somehow pull up the root without affecting the flower. A conservative generally meant a man who wanted to conserve everything except his own reason for conserving anything. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The present condition of fame is merely fashion. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Cruelty is, perhaps, the worst kid of sin. Intellectual cruelty is certainly the worst kind of cruelty. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Grey is a colour that always seems on the eve of changing to some other colour. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The full value of this life can only be got by fighting; the violent take it by storm. And if we have accepted everything we have missed something - war. This life of ours is a very enjoyable fight, but a very miserable truce. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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No animal ever invented anything as bad as drunkenness - or so good as drink. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There is no logical connection between flying and laying eggs. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A man looking at a hippopotamus may sometimes be tempted to regard a hippopotamus as an enormous mistake; but he is also bound to confess that a fortunate inferiority prevents him personally from making such mistakes. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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'As you have made your bed, so you must lie on it'; which again is simply a lie. If I have made my bed uncomfortable, please God I will make it again. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There is a certain poetic value, and that a genuine one, in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this dazed and dramatic
ignorance. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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What a glorious garden of wonders the lights of Broadway would be to anyone lucky enough to be unable to read. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Is there anyone ... who will maintain that the Party System could have been created by people particularly fond of truth? -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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We can be almost certain of being wrong about the future, if we are wrong about the past. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is customary to complain of the bustle and strenuousness of our epoch. But in truth the chief mark of our epoch is a profound laziness and fatigue; and the fact is that the real laziness is the cause of the apparent bustle. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Altruists, with thin, weak voices, denounce Christ as an egoist. Egoists (with even thinner and weaker voices) denounce Him as an altruist. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There are a great many good people, and a great many sane people here this afternoon. Unfortunately, by a kind of coincidence, all the good people are mad, and all the sane people are wicked. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Liberty has produced scepticism, and scepticism has destroyed liberty. The lovers of liberty thought they were leaving it unlimited, when they were only leaving it undefined. They thought they were only leaving it undefined, when they were really leaving it undefended. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The historic glory of America lies in the fact that it is the one nation that was founded like a church. That is, it was founded on a faith that was not merely summed up after it had exited, but was defined before it existed. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Marxism: The theory that all the important things in history are rooted in an economic motive, that history is a science, a science of the search for food. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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True contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous and it is rare. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Tolerance is the virtue of those who don't believe anything. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I may not practice what I preach but God forbid I should preach what I practice -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is as healthy to enjoy sentiment as to enjoy jam. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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When a man ceases to believe in god, he does not believe in nothing. He believes in everything. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet. Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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But a somewhat more liberal and sympathetic examination of mankind will convince us that the cross is even older than the gibbet, that voluntary suffering was before and independent of compulsory; and in short that in most important matters a man has always been free to ruin himself if he chose. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The eagle has no liberty; he only has loneliness. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is a quaint comment on the notion that the English are practical and the French merely visionary, that we were rebels in arts while they were rebels in arms. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Man is always something worse or something better than an animal; and a mere argument from animal perfection never touches him at all. Thus, in sex no animal is either chivalrous or obscene. And thus no animal invented anything so bad as drunkeness - or so good as drink. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The scientific facts, which were supposed to contradict the faith in the nineteenth century, are nearly all of them regarded as unscientific fictions in the twentieth century. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Every time a man knocks on a brothel door, he is really knocking for God -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Tea, although an OrientalIs a gentleman at least;Cocoa is a cad and coward,Cocoa is a vulgar beast. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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When men cease to believe in God, they will believe in anything -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Spring never is spring unless it comes too soon. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Every high civilization decays by forgetting obvious things. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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With any recovery from morbidity there must go a certain healthy humiliation. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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To be wrong, and to be carefully wrong, that is the definition of decadence. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The grinding power of the plain words of the Gospel story is like the power of mill-stones, and those who can read them simply enough will feel as if rocks had been rolled upon them. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is still bad taste to be an avowed atheist. But now it is equally bad taste to be an avowed Christian. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Such professions as the soldier and the lawyer ... give ample opportunity for crimes but not much for mere illusions ... If you have lost a battle you cannot believe you have won it; if your client is hanged you cannot pretend that you have gotten him off. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The wine they drink in Paradise
They make in Haute Lorraine. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Tolerance is a virtue of people who don't believe in anything anymore. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Only friendliness produces friendship. And we must look far deeper into the soul of man for the thing that produces friendliness. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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With all that we hear of American hustle and hurry, it is rather strange that Americans seem to like to linger on longer words. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Ritual will always mean throwing away something: destroying our corn or wine upon the altar of our gods. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Architecture is the alphabet of giants; it is the largest set of symbols ever made to meet the eyes of men. A tower stands up like a sort of simplified stature, of much more than heroic size. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There are many definite methods, honest and dishonest, which make people rich; the only instinct I know of which does it is that instinct which theological Christianity crudely describes as the sin of avarice. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Physical science is like simple addition: it is either infallible or it is false. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Either criticism is no good at all (a very defensible position) or else criticism means saying about an author the very things that would have made him jump out of his boots. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If, therefore, nonsense is really to be the literature of the future, it must have its own version of the Cosmos to offer; the world must not only be tragic, romantic, and religious, it must be nonsensical also. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A small artist is content with art; a great artist is content with nothing except everything. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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We are all in the same boat, in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers is another. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A third-class carriage is a community, while a first-class carriage is a place of wild hermits. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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We all feel the riddle of the earth without anyone to point it out. The mystery of life is the plainest part of it. The clouds and curtains of darkness, the confounding vapors, these are the daily weather of this world. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There have been household gods and household saints and household fairies. I am not sure that there have yet been any factory gods or factory saints or factory fairies. I may be wrong, as I am no commericial expert, but I have not heard of them as yet. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The Darwinian movement has made no difference to mankind, except that, instead of talking unphilosophically about philosophy, they now talk unscientifically about science. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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But there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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You could compile the worst book in the world entirely out of selected passages from the best writers in the world. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I should say that psycho-analysis was confession without absolution. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Our digestions, going sacredly and silently right, that is the foundation of all poetry. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is the root of all religion that a man knows that he is nothing in order to thank God that he is something. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If the barricades went up in our streets and the poor became masters, I think the priests would escape, I fear the gentlemen would; but I believe the gutters would simply be running with the blood of philanthropists. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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What affects men sharply about a foreign nation is not so much finding or not finding familiar things; it is rather not finding them in the familiar place. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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An almost unnatural vigilance is really required of the citizen because of the horrible rapidity with which human institutions grow old. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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And they that rule in England, in stately conclaves met, alas, alas for England they have no graves as yet. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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For us who live in cities Nature is not natural. Nature is supernatural. Just as monks watched and strove to get a glimpse of heaven, so we watch and strive to get a glimpse of earth. It is as if men had cake and wine every day but were sometimes allowed common bread. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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All men thirst to confess their crimes more than tired beasts thirst for water; but they naturally object to confessing them while other people, who have also committed the same crimes, sit by and laugh at them. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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We should thank God for beer and burgundy by not drinking too much of them. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The coziness between church and state is good for the state and bad for the church -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Theology is only thought applied to religion. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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War is not the best way of settling differences; it is the only way of preventing their being settled for you. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If an editor can only make people angry enough, they will write half his newspaper for him for nothing. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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By all men bond to Nothing, Being slaves without a lord, By one blind idiot world obeyed, Too blind to be abhorred. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A man cannot be wise enough to be a great artist without being wise enough to wish to be a philosopher. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The problem of disbelieving in God is not that a man ends up believing nothing. Alas, it is much worse. He ends up believing anything. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The most dangerous criminal now is the entirely lawless modern philosopher. Compared to him, burglars and bigamists are essentially moral men. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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One can no more have a private religion than one can have a private sun or a private moon. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The Museum is not meant either for the wanderer to see by accident or for the pilgrim to see with awe. It is meant for the mere slave of a routine of self- education to stuff himself with every sort of incongruous intellectual food in one indigestible meal. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The prophet and the quack are alike admired for a generation, and admired for the wrong reasons. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason ... -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A man can never quite understand a boy, even when he has been a boy. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I do not believe that any human being is fundamentally happier for being finally lost in a crowd, even if it is called a crowd of comrades. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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All men are ordinary men; the extraordinary men are those who know it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A nation that has nothing but its amusements will not be amused for long. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Evil comes at leisure like the disease. Good comes in a hurry like the doctor. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The beautification of the world is not a work of nature, but a work of art, then it involves an artist. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is generally the man who is not ready to argue, who is ready to sneer. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The trouble with always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do without destroying the health of the mind. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I despise Birth-Control first because it is ... an entirely meaningless word; and is used so as to curry favour even with those who would first recoil from its real meaning. The proceeding these quack doctors recommend does not control any birth ... -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never gotten tired of making them -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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When belief in God becomes difficult, the tendency is to turn away from Him; but in heaven's name to what? -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If man is not the image of God, then he is a disease of the dust. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If Christianity should happen to be true - that is to say, if its God is the real God of the universe - then defending it may mean talking about anything and everything. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Nothing is certain by uncertainty. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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(Tradition) is the democracy of the dead. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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For Scotland has a double dose of the poison called heredity; the sense of blood in the aristocrat, the sense of doom in the Calvinist. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Man seems to be capable of great virtues but not of small virtues; capable of defying his torturer but not of keeping his temper. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If the apple hit Newton's nose, Newton's nose hit the apple. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Every true artist feels that he is touching transcendental truths; that his images are shadows of things seen through the veil. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Nothing can ever overcome that one enormous sex (female) superiority that even the male child is born closer to his mother than to his father. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If you'd take your head home and boil it for a turnip it might be useful. I can't say. But it might. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is not necessary to the child to awaken to the sense of the strange and humorous by giving a man a luminous nose ... to the child it is sufficiently strange and humorous to have a nose at all. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Progress is the mother of all problems. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A modern man may disapprove of some of his sweeping reforms, and approve others; but finds it difficult not to admire even where he does not approve. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There are some desires that are not desirable. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Aristocracy: government by the badly educated. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is the chief value of legend to mix up the centuries while preserving the sentiment. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Children are simply human beings who are allowed to do what everyone else really desires to do, as for instance, to fly kites, or when seriously wronged to emit prolonged screams for several minutes. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Those who leave the tradition of truth do not escape into something which we call Freedom. They only escape into something else, which we call Fashion. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Theology is simply that part of religion that requires brains. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There are two kinds of charlatan: the man who is called a charlatan, and the man who really is one. The first is the quack who cures you; the second is the highly qualified person who doesn't. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Every heresy has been an effort to narrow the Church. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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No man's really any good till he knows how bad he is, or might be ... -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The paradox of courage is that a man must be a little careless of his life even in order to keep it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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All government is an ugly necessity. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Whatever else we may say of our own age, for good or evil, nobody is likely to call it an Age of Reason. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A good joke is the closest thing we have to divine revelation. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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In the main, and from the beginning of time, mysticism has kept men sane. The thing that has driven them mad was logic. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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And Noah he often said to his wife when he sat down to dine, "I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine." -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Men are ruled, at this minute by the clock, by liars who refuse them news, and by fools who cannot govern. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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All literary style, especially national style, is made up of such coincidences, which are a spiritual sort of puns. That is why style is untranslatable ... -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is the beginning of all true criticism of our time to realize that it has really nothing to say, at the very moment when it has invented so tremendous a trumpet for saying it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The Universe is the most extraordinary masterpiece ever constructed by nobody. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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People in high life are hardened to the wants and distresses of mankind as surgeons are to their bodily pains. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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One pleasure attached to growing older is that many things seem to be growing younger; growing fresher and more lively than we once supposed them to be. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A businessman is the only man who is forever apologizing for his occupation. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The decay of society is praised by artists as the decay of a corpse is praised by worms. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Children feel the whiteness of the lily with a graphic and passionate clearness which we cannot give them at all. The only thing we can give them is information-the information that if you break the lily in two it won't grow again. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Human anger is a higher thing than what is called divine discontent. For you must be angry with something; but you can be discontented with everything. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The full potentialities of human fury cannot be reached until a friend of both parties tactfully interferes. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Nine times out of ten it is the coarse word that condemns an evil, and the refined word that excuses it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The secularists have not wrecked divine things; but the secularists have wrecked secular things, if that is any comfort to them. The Titans did not scale heaven; but they laid waste the world. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If I think the universe is triangular, and you think it is square, there cannot be room for two universes. We may argue politely, we may argue humanely, we may argue with great mutual benefit: but, obviously, we must argue. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It's not the world that's got so much worse but the news coverage that's got so much better. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Jokes are generally honest. Complete solemnity is always dishonest. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The rich are the scum of the earth in every country. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Every remedy is a desperate remedy. Every cure is a miraculous cure. Curing a madman is not arguing with a philosopher; it is casting out a devil. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Truths turn into dogmas the minute they are disputed. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The poor complain that they are governed badly. The rich complain that they are governed at all. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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You never know the best about men until you know the worst about them. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A sober man may become a drunkard through being a coward. A brave man may become a coward through being a drunkard. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Dogma does not mean the absence of thought, but the end of thought. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Plato was right, but not quite right. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The greenhorn is the ultimate victor in everything; it is he that gets the most out of life. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The atheist is not interested in anything except attacks on atheism. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The Christian pities men because they are dying, and the Buddhist pities them because they are living. The Christian is sorry for what damages the life of a man; but the Buddhist is sorry for him because he is alive. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Modern toleration is really a tyranny. It is a tyranny because it is a silence. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Each generation is converted by the saint who contradicts it most. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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We actually love ourselves more than we love joy. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The human race is always trying this dodge of making everything entirely easy; but the difficulty which it shifts off one thing it shifts to another. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There are no new ideas. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A good civilisation spreads over us freely like a tree, varying and yielding because it is alive. A bad civilisation stands up and sticks out above us like an umbrella-artificial, mathematical in shape; not merely universal, but uniform. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The real argument against aristocracy is that it always means the rule of the ignorant. For the most dangerous of all forms of ignorance is ignorance of work. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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You can't have the family farm without the family. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Courage is getting away from death by continually coming within an inch of it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Gratitude produced the most purely joyful moments that have been known to man. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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English experience indicates that when the two great political parties agree about something it is generally wrong. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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When a woman puts up her fists to a man she is putting herself in the only posture in which he is not afraid of her. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The professional soldier gains more and more power as the general courage of a community declines. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The one stream of poetry which is continually flowing is slang. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If you spell a word wrong you have some temptation to think it wrong. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Price is a crazy and incalculable thing, while Value is an intrinsic and indestructible thing. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A change of opinions is almost unknown in an elderly military man. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Facts as facts do not always create a spirit of reality, because reality is a spirit. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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In matters of truth the fact that you don't want to publish something is, nine times out of ten, a proof that you ought to publish it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If prosperity is regarded as the reward of virtue it will be regarded as the symptom of virtue. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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By experts in poverty I do not mean sociologists, but poor men. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted; precisely because most things are permitted and only a few things forbidden. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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No man can break any of the Ten Commandments. He can only break himself against them. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Free verse'? You may as well call sleeping in a ditch 'free architecture'. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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For religion all men are equal, as all pennies are equal, because the only value of any of them is that they bear the image of the king. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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But they none of them create the psychological conditions in which I first saw, or desired to see, the flower. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A large section of the intelligentsia seems wholly devoid of intelligence. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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One of the chief uses of religion is that it makes us remember our coming from darkness, the simple fact that we are created. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The fatal metaphor of progress, which means leaving things behind us, has utterly obscured the real idea of growth, which means leaving things inside us. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A Catholic is a person who has plucked up courage to face the incredible and inconceivable idea that something else may be wiser than he is. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls; but they are the walls of a playground. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Silver is sometimes more valuable than gold ... that is, in large quantities. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Our society is so abnormal that the normal man never dreams of having the normal occupation of looking after his own property. When he chooses a trade, he chooses one of the ten thousand trades that involve looking after other people's property. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It's not that we don't have enough scoundrels to curse; it's that we don't have enough good men to curse them. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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One can hardly think too little of one's self. One can hardly think too much of one's soul. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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I like the Americans for a great many reasons. I like them because even the modern thing called industrialism has not entirely destroyed in them the very ancient thing called democracy. I like them because they have a respect for work which really curbs the human tendency to snobbishness. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Buddhism is not a creed, it is a doubt. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The greatest political storm flutters only a fringe of humanity. But an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children literally alter the destiny of nations. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Fairy tales are more than true ... -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Acceptance is the truest kinship with humanity. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Where does a wise man kick a pebble? On the beach. Where does a wise man hide a leaf? In the forest. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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At the back of our brains is a blaze of astonishment at our own existence. The object of the artistic and spiritual life is to dig for this sunrise of wonder. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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If we could destroy custom at a blow and see the stars as a child sees them, we should need no other apocalypse -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The thing that cannot be defined is the first thing; the primary fact. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Comradeship is obvious and universal and open; but it is only one kind of affection; it has characteristics that would destroy any other kind. Anyone who has known true comradeship in a club or in a regiment, knows that it is impersonal. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Aesthetes never do anything but what they are told. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf; is better than a whole loaf. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The martyr endured tortures to affirm his belief in truth but he never asserted his disbelief in torture. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Thoughts on the Merits of Work The worst of work nowadays is what happens to people when they cease to work. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Coincidence is a spiritual pun. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The academic mind reflects infinity, and is full of light by the simple process of being shallow and standing still. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Atheism is indeed the most daring of all dogmas ... for it is the assertion of a universal negative. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Then I only wondered who put the toys in the stocking; now I wonder who put the stocking by the bed, and the bed in the room, and the room in the house, and the house on the planet, and the great planet in the void. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The average businessman began to be agnostic, not so much because he did not know where he was, as because he wanted to forget. Many of the rich took to scepticism exactly as the poor took to drink; because it was a way out. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Though I believe in liberalism, I find it difficult to believe in liberals. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Religious unity can look like a carnival and religious liberty can look like a funeral. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Boyhood is a most complex and incomprehensible thing. Even when one has been through it, one does not understand what it was. A man can never quite understand a boy, even when he has been the boy. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Over-civilization and barbarism are within an inch of each other. And a mark of both is the power of medicine-men. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Research is the search of people who don't know what they want. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Man does not live by soap alone; and hygiene, or even health, is not much good unless you can take a healthy view of it or, better still, feel a healthy indifference to it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Powerful men who have powerful passions use much of their strength in forging chains for themselves. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The cross cannot be defeated for it is defeat. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Feminists are those who cannot stand female characteristics. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.
Never forget that the devil fell by force of gravity.
He who has the faith has the fun. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Marriage is a sort of poetical see-saw. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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It is a strange thing that many truly spiritual men, such as General Gordon, have actually spent some hours in speculating upon the precise location of the Garden of Eden. Most probably we are in Eden still. It is only our eyes that have changed. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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A man running after a hat is not half so ridiculous as a man running after a woman. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Why should ANYTHING go right; even observation and deduction? Why should not good logic be as misleading as bad logic? They are both movements in the brain of a bewildered ape? -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The average woman is at the head of something with which she can do as she likes; the average man has to obey orders and do nothing else. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is really a nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The purpose of Compulsory Education is to deprive the common people of their commonsense. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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There are no new lies, no new heresies. Man is simply not that creative. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The true object of human life is play. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Those thinkers who cannot believe in any gods often assert that the love of humanity would be in itself sufficient for them; and so, perhaps, it would, if they had it. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Wherever there is animal worship, there is human sacrifice. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Half a truth is better than no politics. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The ordinary scientific man is strictly a sentimentalist. He is a sentimentalist in this essential sense, that he is soaked and swept away by mere associations. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Life is serious all the time, but living cannot be. You may have all the solemnity you wish in your neckties, but in anything important (such as sex, death, and religion), you must have mirth or you will have madness. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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From the standpoint of any sane person, the present problem of capitalist concentration is not only a question of law, but of criminal law, not to mention criminal lunacy. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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The golden age only comes to men when they have forgotten gold. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Men rush towards complexity, but they yearn towards simplicity. They try to be kings; but they dream of being shepherds.