Monday, May 04, 2009


After Mere Christianity, I read Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton. (buy it here)

It's the sort of book that makes sometimes makes you laugh, and sometimes makes you raise one eyebrow and scrunch up your face in thought. I like that kind of book.

Chapter 4: The Ethics of Elfland...ooh, what a fun way to think about everything. I love it. It's kind of about the deep universal truths of fairy tales.

"The only words that ever satisfied me as describing Nature are the terms used in the fairy books, "charm," "spell," "enchantment." They express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery. A tree grows fruit because it is a magic tree. Water runs downhill because it is bewitched.

And this reminded me of Dad:

"It is a good exercise to try for once in a way to express any opinion one holds in words of one syllable. If you say "The social utility of the inteterminate sentence is recognized by all criminologists as a part of our sociological evolution towards a more humane and scientific view of punishment," you can go on talking like that for hours with hardly a movement of the grey matter inside your skull. But if you begin "I wish Jones to go to gaol (jail) and Brown to say when Joes shall come out," you will discover, with a thrill of horror, that you are obliged to think."

I love that last phrase--" will discover, with a thrill of horror, that you are obliged to think."

That's how I felt reading these books.


linda jean said...

I've only read bits of that book, but maybe i should pick it up again...

jmlo said...

This book will be on my next list...I do not think I know anyone else who has read it. :)