Platitudes Undone

G.K. Chesterton responds to Holbrook Jackson’s little book, Platitudes in the Making by scribbling anecdotal notes in between the lines thereof ––

JACKSON: Be contented, when you have got all you want.
CHESTERTON: Till then, be happy.

JACKSON: Don’t think – do.
CHESTERTON: Do think! Do!

JACKSON: A lie is that which you do not believe.
CHESTERTON: This is a lie: so perhaps you don’t believe it.

JACKSON: As soon as an idea is accepted it is time to reject it.
CHESTERTON: No: it is time to build another idea on it. You are always rejecting: and you build nothing.

JACKSON: Truth and falsehood in the abstract do not exist.
CHESTERTON: Then nothing else does.

JACKSON: Truth is one’s conception of things.
CHESTERTON: The Big Blunder. All thought is an attempt to discover if one’s own conception is true or not.

JACKSON: No two men have exactly the same religion: a church, like society is a compromise.
CHESTERTON: The same religion has the two men. The sun shines on the Evil and the Good. But the sun does not compromise.

JACKSON: Only the rich preach content to the poor.
CHESTERTON: When they are not preaching Socialism.

JACKSON: In a beautiful city an art gallery would be superfluous. In an ugly one it is a narcotic.
CHESTERTON: In a real one it is an art gallery.

JACKSON: Theology and religion are not the same thing. When the churches are controlled by the theologians religious people stay away.
CHESTERTON: Theology is simply that part of religion that requires brains.

JACKSON: Desire to please God is never disinterested.
CHESTERTON: Well, I should hope not!

JACKSON: We are more inclined to regret our virtues than our vices; but only the very honest will admit this.
CHESTERTON: I don’t regret any virtues except those that I have lost.

JACKSON: Every custom was once an eccentricity; every idea was once an absurdity.
CHESTERTON: No, no, no. Some ideas are always absurdities. This is one of them.

JACKSON: No opinion matters finally; except your own.
CHESTERTON: Said the man who thought he was a rabbit.

JACKSON: The future will look upon man as we look upon the ichthyosaurus – as an extinct monster.
CHESTERTON: The ‘future’ won’t look upon anything. No eyes.

~Quoted in Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton, by Joseph Pearce.

Note: Holbrook Jackson was a British journalist, writer and publisher. He was a joint editor of the New Age, editor of T.P.’s Weekly and a biographer of both G.B. Shaw and William Morris.

George Holbrook Jackson in 1913.

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