Wednesday, April 27, 2011

From The Well and the Shallows

I love reading G.K. Chesterton. It is common knowledge that he is witty and has a great command of language. But more than those, I admire him for his understanding--his writing is steeped in a deep understanding of what it truly means to be a human being, a child of God, and how to live in a world where people would have you believe otherwise. I want to understand as he does. (And I wish I can write so beautifully, too.) He is a genius.

I'm re-posting an excerpt from an essay of his, which I have already posted way back in 2008. I think that we should constantly (and objectively) seek the Truth, especially now, when the media culture makes pollution/noise just as accessible as the brain/heart food we really need. In the excerpt below, GKC talks about why he despises birth control, and mindset that goes with it:

"...But there is a third reason for my contempt, much deeper and therefore more difficult to express; in which is rooted all my reasons for being anything I am or attempt to be; and above all, for being a Distributist. Perhaps the nearest to a description of it is to say this: that my contempt boils over into bad behaviour when I hear the common suggestion that a birth is avoided because people want to be 'free' to go to the cinema or buy a gramophone or a loud-speaker. What makes me want to walk over such people like doormats is that they use the word 'free.' By every act of that sort they chain themselves to the most servile and mechanical system yet tolerated by men. The cinema is a machine for unrolling certain regular patterns called pictures; expressing the most vulgar millionaires' notion of the taste of the most vulgar millions. The gramophone is a machine for recording such tunes as certain shops and other organisations choose to sell. The wireless is better; but even that is marked by the modern mark of all three; the impotence of the receptive party. The amateur cannot challenge the actor; the householder will find it vain to go and shout into the gramophone; the mob cannot pelt the modern speaker, especially when he is a loud-speaker. It is all a central mechanism giving out to men exactly what their masters think they should have.

"Now a child is the very sign and sacrament of personal freedom. He is a fresh free will added to the wills of the world; he is something that his parents have freely chosen to produce and which they freely agree to protect. They can feel that any amusement he gives (which is often considerable) really comes from him and from them and from nobody else. He has been born without the intervention of any master or lord. He is a creation and a contribution; he is their own creative contribution to creation. He is also a much more beautiful, wonderful, amusing and astonishing thing than any of the stale stories or jingling jazz tunes turned out by the machines. When men no longer feel that he is so, they have lost the appreciation of primary things, and therefore all sense of proportion about the world. People who prefer the mechanical pleasures, to such a miracle, are jaded and enslaved. They are preferring the very dregs of life to the first fountains of life. They are preferring the last, crooked, indirect, borrowed, repeated and exhausted things of our dying Capitalist civilisation, to the reality which is the only rejuvenation of all civilisation. It is they who are hugging the chains of their old slavery; it is the child who is ready for the new world.


Ang ganda, 'no?
Before I hibernate again to continue writing my assignments, here's a quote from GKC that perhaps we should take up as a challenge.... Let's prove it untrue! :-)

"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting;
it has been found difficult and left untried."

1 comment:

WillyJ said...

Wow. Thanks for this. I haven't read that essay yet although I am a fan of GK too. Thanks!