66 Best GK Chesterton Quotes

66 Best GK Chesterton Quotes

by / Comments Off / 117 View / Dec 12, 2014

Gilbert Keith “GK” Chesterton was a writer, poet, journalist, and art critic from Kensington, London. He is most known for his fictional character, Father Brown, who was a priest/detective. He is highly regarded, even today, as a man of “colossal genius”. He died on June 14, 1936 at the age of 62.

“A beetle may or may not be inferior to a man — the matter awaits demonstration; but if he were inferior by ten thousand fathoms, the fact remains that there is probably a beetle view of
things of which a man is entirely ignorant. If he wishes to conceive that point of view, he will scarcely reach it by persistently revelling in the fact that he is not a beetle.”

“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”

“A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.”

“A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.”

“A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame and money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.”

“A mystic is a man who separates heaven and earth even if he enjoys them both.”

“All slang is metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry.”

“Among the rich you will never find a really generous man even by accident. They may give their money away, but they will never give themselves away; they are egotistic, secretive, dry as
old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it.”

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.”

“An enormous amount of modern ingenuity is expended on finding defences for the indefensible conduct of the powerful. As I have said above, these defences generally exhibit themselves most
emphatically in the form of appeals to physical science. And of all the forms in which science, or pseudo-science, has come to the rescue of the rich and stupid, there is none so singular as
the singular invention of the theory of races.”

“An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.”

“At any innocent tea-table we may easily hear a man say, “Life is not worth living.” We regard it as we regard the statement that it is a fine day; nobody thinks that it can possibly have
any serious effect on the man or on the world. And yet if that utterance were really believed, the world would stand on its head.”

“Briefly, you can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.”

“Busy editors cannot be expected to put on their posters, “Mr. Wilkinson Still Safe,” or “Mr. Jones, of Worthing, Not Dead Yet.” They cannot announce the happiness of mankind at all. They
cannot describe all the forks that are not stolen, or all the marriages that are not judiciously dissolved. Hence the complex picture they give of life is of necessity fallacious; they can
only represent what is unusual.”

“Customs are generally unselfish. Habits are nearly always selfish.”

“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.”

“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”

“Every one of the great revolutionists, from Isaiah to Shelley, have been optimists. They have been indignant, not about the badness of existence, but about the slowness of men in realizing
its goodness.”

“Fairyland is nothing but the sunny country of common sense.”

“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”

“Happiness is a mystery like religion, and should never be rationalised.”

“He is only a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of the Conservative.”

“I cannot understand the people who take literature seriously; but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this book.”

“I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.”

“I know of men who believe in themselves more colossally than Napoleon or Caesar. I know where flames the fixed star of certainty and success. I can guide you to the thrones of the Super-
men. The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums.”

“I say that a man must be certain of his morality for the simple reason that he has to suffer for it.”

“If there were not God, there would be no atheists.”

“Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance.”

“In our time the blasphemies are threadbare. Pessimism is now patently, as it always was essentially, more commonplace than piety. Profanity is now more than an affectation — it is a
convention. The curse against God is Exercise I in the primer of minor poetry.”

“It is always the secure who are humble.”

“It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong.”

“It is not only possible to say a great deal in praise of play; it is really possible to say the highest things in praise of it. It might reasonably be maintained that the true object of all
human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground. ”

“It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.”

“I’ve searched all the parks in all the cities — and found no statues of Committees.”

“Ivory may not be so white as snow, but the whole Arctic continent does not make ivory black.”

“Journalism largely consists of saying ‘Lord Jones is Dead’ to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive.”

“Materialists and madmen never have doubts.”

“Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.”

“Men spoke much in my boyhood about restricted or ruined men of genius: and it was common to say that many a man was a Great Might-Have-Been. To me it’s a more solid and startling fact that
any man in the street is a Great Might-Not-Have-Been.”

“Misers get up early in the morning; and burglars, I am informed, get up the night before.”

“Not only is suicide a sin, it is the sin. It is the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take an interest in existence; the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life. The man who
kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men. As far as he is concerned he wipes out the world.”

“Religious and philosophical beliefs are, indeed, as dangerous as fire, and nothing can take from them that beauty of danger. But there is only one way of really guarding ourselves against
the excessive danger of them, and that is to be steeped in philosophy and soaked in religion.”

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.”

“The cause which is blocking all progress today is the subtle scepticism which whispers in a million ears that things are not good enough to be worth improving. If the world is good we are
revolutionaries, if the world is evil we must be conservatives. These essays, futile as they are considered as serious literature, are yet ethically sincere, since they seek to remind men
that things must be loved first and improved afterwards.”

“The center of every man’s existence is a dream. Death, disease, insanity, are merely material accidents, like a toothache or a twisted ankle. That these brutal forces always besiege and
often capture the citadel does not prove that they are the citadel.”

“The center of every man’s existence is a dream.”

“The most unfathomable schools and sages have never attained to the gravity which dwells in the eyes of a baby of three months old. It is the gravity of astonishment at the universe, and
astonishment at the universe is not mysticism, but a transcendent common-sense.”

“The one stream of poetry which is continually flowing is slang.”

“The only thing that has kept the race of men from the mad extremes of the convent and the pirate-galley, the night-club and the lethal chamber, has been mysticism — the belief that logic is
misleading, and that things are not what they seem.”

“The rich are the scum of the earth in every country.”

“The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.”

“The simplification of anything is always sensational.”

“The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the
mistakes from being corrected.”

“The word ‘heresy’ not only means no longer being wrong; it practically means being clear-headed and courageous. The word ‘orthodoxy’ not only no longer means being right; it practically
means being wrong”

“There is a certain poetic value, and that a genuine one, in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this dazed and dramatic

“There is a great man who makes every man feel small. But the real great man is the man who makes every man feel great.”

“There is only one thing that it requires real courage to say, and that is a truism.”

“There is something to be said for every error; but, whatever may be said for it, the most important thing to be said about it is that it is erroneous.”

“We all know that the ‘divine glory of the ego’ is socially a great nuisance; we all do actually value our friends for modesty, freshness, and simplicity of heart. Whatever may be the
reason, we all do warmly respect humility — in other people.”

“We ought to see far enough into a hypocrite to see even his sincerity.”

“Whatever the word “great” means, Dickens was what it means.”

“When a politician is in opposition he is an expert on the means to some end; and when he is in office he is an expert on the obstacles to it.”

“When learned men begin to use their reason, then I generally discover that they haven’t got any.”

“When people impute special vices to the Christian Church, they seem entirely to forget that the world (which is the only other thing there is) has these vices much more. The Church has been
cruel; but the world has been much more cruel. The Church has plotted; but the world has plotted much more. The Church has been superstitious; but it has never been so superstitious as the
world is when left to itself.”

“When we look upon lives so human and yet so small, we feel as if we ourselves were enlarged to an embarrassing bigness of stature. We feel the same kind of obligation to these creatures
that a deity might feel if he had created something that he could not understand.”

“Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.”