This chapter had me from the very beginning:
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 hte real laziness is the cause of the apparent bustle. … There would be less bustle if there were more activity, if people were simply walking about. Our world would be more silent if it were more strenuous. And this which is true of the apparent physical bustle is true also of the apparent bustle of the intellect.
Chesterton wrote this 100 years ago, but he might have written it yesterday. I have noticed, especially of late, how often my own busyness translates into sitting in front of a screen. Granted, my little kids keep me hopping. But…there’s an awful lot of hustle and bustle in the non-movement of my life. It makes me reflect on how we are made, as humans, for movement, for activity.
Later in the same paragraph (ah, the old-fashioned page-long paragraph!), Chesterton writes:
It is a good exercise to try for once in a way to express any opinion one holds in words of one syllable.
To this I would add that you could also try explaining it to a six-year-old. Funny how doing that boils things down. I’ve found myself understanding something more profoundly after explaining it to my six-year-old.
Throughout this chapter, Chesterton explores what it is that calls to us from orthodoxy, what it is that we find romantic and irresistible. Not everyone finds it so, of course, but when you follow his logic, you find it there.
[A]ll modern philosophies are chains which connect and fetter; Christianity is a sword which separates and sets free. […]
By insisting specially on the transcendence of God we get wonder, curiosity, moral and political adventure, righteous indignation–Christendom. Insisting that God is inside man, man is always inside himself. By insisting that God transcends man, man has transcended himself.
I find myself smiling at the thought of Christianity as something exciting, something adventurous, something romantic and appealing. There was a time in my life when it didn’t seem so at all, and I see, in the faces of certain people in my life, the same reluctance and boredom I once experienced.
Well, first, I changed, I think. I budged a bit, opened a bit, found myself curiouser and curiouser.
This chapter was a particular delight to read, but is hard for me to summarize. What did you think of it? What was your impression? What are your thoughts?