Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Be an Uncompromising Fanatic- Wisdom From G.K. Chesterton

For Our Titanic purposes of faith and revolution, what we need is not the cold acceptance of the world as a compromise, but some way in which we can heartily hate and heartily love it. We do not want joy and anger to neutralize each other and produce a surly contentment; we want a fiercer delight and a fiercer discontent. We have to feel the universe at once as an ogre's castle, to be stormed, and yet as our own cottage, to which we can return at evening.

No one doubts that an ordinary man can get on with this world: but we demand not strength enough to get on with it, but with strength enough to get it on. Can he hate it enough to change it, and yet love it enough to think it is worth changing? Can he look up at its colossal good without once feeling acquiescence? Can he look up at colossal evil without once feeling despair? Can he, in short, be at once not only a pessimist and optimist, but a fanatical pessimist and a fanatical optimist? Is he enough of a pagan to die for the world, and enough of a Christian to die to it? In this combination, I maintain, is the rational optimist who fails, the irrational optimist who succeeds. He is ready to smash the whole universe for the sake of itself.

Excerpt from chapter V of Chesterton's Orthodoxy


Abu Daoud said...

Quick question: was this in his Anglican days or after his entry into full communion with Rome?

Sarah Scott said...

I believe that this was before-- it was first published in 1908.

Sarah Scott said...

Sorry-- I meant before he became Catholic.