3/16/14

"The desire to know what is"

"THE present importance of the Book of Job cannot be expressed adequately even by saying that it is the most interesting of ancient books. We may almost say of the Book of Job that it is the most interesting of modern books. In truth, of course, neither of the two phrases covers the matter, because fundamental human religion and fundamental human irreligion are both at once old and new; philosophy is either eternal or it is not philosophy. The modern habit of saying, "This is my opinion, but I may be wrong," is entirely irrational. If I say that it may be wrong I say that is not my opinion. The modern habit of saying "Every man has a different philosophy; this is my philosophy and its suits me"; the habit of saying this is mere weak-mindedness. A cosmic philosophy is not constructed to fit a man; a cosmic philosophy is constructed to fit a cosmos. A man can no more possess a private religion than he can possess a private sun and moon. The first of the intellectual beauties of the Book of Job is that it is all concerned with this desire to know the actuality; the desire to know what is, and not merely what seems."

~G.K. Chesterton: Introduction to The Book of Job.



When the Morning Stars Sang Together,
by William Blake (from the Butts set).
Pen and black ink, gray wash, and watercolour,
over traces of graphite; June 1805.

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