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The dangers of intentional manipulation according to g k chesterton

Their society, the American Chesterton Society, has an annual conference, usually at the University of St. Originally, there was a lively newsletter, the inspiration for another newsletter from St. Since 1989, I have contributed a monthly column called naturally, Schall on Chesterton, to this newsletter.

I remain a great admirer of the British journalist G. Chesterton, one of the wisest men I know.

"Speak the Truth in Love" — Ephesians 4:15

I have been more than struck by the sanity and insight, even foresight, that he displayed ever since he began writing early in the 1900's. Though he died in 1936, he remains one of the most quoted writers in the English language even today. He seems to have been a man whom everyone loved, yet also a man who had an uncanny knack of seeing reality, of putting things just right.

He wrote more things than most of us could ever read, all of which are interesting, amusing, profound.

Some forty of these and later essays are collected in Schall on Chesterton Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 2000266 pp. Here, I will include Series I thirty-five Chesterton columns by way of introduction both to Chesterton and the way I look on him. I find him to be one of my own greatest teachers. After these two columns' sections, I want to include four longer essays, 1 "G.

Journalist," that, in a shortened form, appeared in the Chesterton Review from Canada itself one of the best on-going efforts to account for Chesterton ; 2 "Orthodoxy: On the Autobiography of G. Some other essays appearing in other journals or books will be also listed.

The 35 columns Series I are: Chesterton -- Journalist"; 37 "Orthodoxy: Collected Works Ignatius Press. I November, 199714-15. Anyone who has read Chesterton as long as I have will have no difficulty in imagining the potential humor implicit in this apparently earnest question. Chesterton will examine just what might follow if the status of being an "intellectual" is to be decided by intellectuals' own sense of their belonging together.

He will, of course, hint that anyone who even asks this question about sticking together will, ipso facto, in his own very question indicate that he does not understand what intellect might be. Briefly, the cry "we intellectuals have to stick together" means "we intellectuals do not understand intellect.

William Jennings Bryan's attempt to deal with Darwinists. Chesterton hints that if indeed the American Fundamentalists succeed in ridding our academic institutions of Darwinism, by that very fact alone, Darwinism's major premise will be defeated, since, to recall another famous Chesterton quip, "the survival of the fittest means the survival of those who have survived. But this is not all, what is even worse is that the major objection to Darwin comes not from religion, which can manage to finesse it a bit, but from science itself.

  • It does not say that it is an illusion;
  • I rejoiced that Belloc and Chesterton wrote essays with such humor and insight;
  • Thus, finding ourselves rather difficult suddenly to change, we will probably have to deal with our recurrent sins -- "for the soul and its sins are in every sense a problem of eternity;
  • First, make sure the person knows the truth about homosexuality and homosexual acts see CCC, 2357-2359;
  • Thomas's proof for God's existence, the one from order, about why things do reach their ends;
  • What guidelines should I put on my children dating?

The theory as it was originally proposed is full of flaws. So the fundamentalists, in Chesterton's view, do not need to overthrow the Darwinian professors but just look up their critics in science itself. Chesterton's way of putting the problem is this: Thus, Chesterton did not understand why Wells, an academic, would feel so much in need of calling academics to the barricades when the theologians had no need of refuting a theory that was well on its way to refutation by the very people who brought it up in the first place.

Chesterton does point out, however, that academics are always quite selective about which fellow academics they call to support them. He noted that one of the most famous poets, or academics, of Wells' time was an Italian by the name of Gabriel D'Annunzio, who also just happened to have lead a notorious bombing raid on the City of Fiume in a dispute about Italian possession of the area. Chesterton wondered why Wells, on the basis of his own principles, did not call other academics to the barricades to defend D'Annunzio.

Could it be, Chesterton wondered, that academics were very selective in what causes they embraced and only called for help for the ones they themselves advocated?

Now, while Chesterton had great fun with Bryan and the Fundamentalists, with Wells and the Darwinists, he took just a brief moment to explain why it was not a good idea -- the implicit assumption of Wells -- for all academics to stick together. If we have a world in which all academics are busy sticking together, we can be pretty sure we live in an ideological world in which there is very little intellectual activity and very much coercion and peer pressure.

Clearly, it would seem obvious that to be an intellectual, so-called, would presuppose some clarity on what the intellect was. Only if we did not quite understand that purpose, could we propose for it a purpose -- that is, to gather together all intellectuals under some cause or other -- that was alien to the very nature of intellect.

What then is this "purpose of intellect? We do not in fact go around hawking and harping the notion that we are great just because we have intellects as a power given to us by nature. Everyone has such a power, and it does no good to hype that fact against those creatures that do not. The only person who might understand what it means to have an intellect is one who has one. We are concerned rather with what the intellect, when it acts, does.

The dangers of intentional manipulation according to g k chesterton

And what it does is come to conclusions. It is the instrument of making dogmas, as Chesterton said elsewhere. An intellect that refuses to come to a conclusion is one that refuses to be an intellect. We are aware that in this multicultural, relativist world, one of the off-shoots of this theory is that no conclusions are conclusions, but only variable opinions, restricted to time and place.

This is but another way of saying that the modern world is against intellect. What we care about, even if we are relativist multiculturalists, is not whether we have an intellect, but whether what our intellect concludes to is true.

We passionately care about that, or we at least should. Obviously, the picture of a rabid multiculturalist holding the truth of a multiculturalism in which nothing is true but this theory that maintains nothing is true is amusing.

They worship the intellect like an idol; and all the more because it is to them an unknown god. Paul in Athens, speaking to the descendants of the original, and worthy, intellectuals. The fact is that we do not "worship" intellect as such.

  • The "horror" that Chesterton already saw in 1931 is today a part of our very culture;
  • What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth; and in the semblance of a gardener God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but of the dawn;
  • It is something that bears the character of gift and sacrifice done for us, in our behalf;
  • But, if the couple has not asked for and received this permission, you should not go to the wedding.

We might thank God that we exist and exist as beings with the dangers of intentional manipulation according to g k chesterton. Lord knows, we did not give ourselves our own intellects, let alone give to ourselves our very being what we are.

What the intellect is, is not the product of our own making. But once we realize that it is given as part, the defining part, of what we are, we begin to realize that it has a purpose or function that we are responsible for using and using properly. This being the case, Chesterton concludes, when people group themselves together, it is because of agreement or disagreement about what they hold to be true.

The fact that they are "intellectuals" as such means nothing. The intellectuals' "corporate enthusiasm will be for those with whom they agree, and not those with whom they differ. The fact that academics are "intellectuals" does not, by itself, prevent them from holding the silliest of things, the logic of which will simply not hold up. The purpose of the intellect is to know.

The purpose of the intellect is to know whether what we know is true or not, whether it does or does not conform with reality, a reality that our intellect did not itself make. The purpose of human fellowship is to join together in those things that we know, in our own minds, are true.

The purpose of intellectual dispute is calmly to examine things held to be true and to resolve, by means of principle, essentially that of contradiction, what whether what we hold is or is not true. The only title any human being, intellectual or otherwise, has for respect, once we know the respect due to each simply for what he is, is whether what we hold is true.

A kingdom divided against itself cannot hold.

  • The Catholic University of America Press, 2000 , 266 pp;
  • As He has taught His disciples, some demons cannot be driven out except in this way cf Mk 9;
  • The fact that academics are "intellectuals" does not, by itself, prevent them from holding the silliest of things, the logic of which will simply not hold up;
  • It is also very helpful to pray with our parents, especially our fathers;
  • If I have committed adultery, should I tell my spouse?
  • Chesterton was aware of all of this in 1924 when he reminded us of "the purpose of intellect.

That is, intellectuals as a group can and have conspired against the truth. Chesterton was aware of all of this in 1924 when he reminded us of "the purpose of intellect. The occasion for these reflections was a very nice book review of my Idylls and Rambles: Mary's College, in Maryland. Cotter remarked, with much eloquence, that "the personal essay is a most creative form of human expression when it comes to reaching out to the reader. It is natural, authentic, and unique, and it cannot be easily faked, like a poem or a story.

When read aloud, an essay touches our emotions directly and makes us think more clearly. I rejoiced that Belloc and Chesterton wrote essays with such humor and insight. I even cited Stevenson and Hazlett as favorite essayists. Now, I know that some people prefer poetry or the novel or the solid book to the short essay.

There is absolutely no reason why we cannot enjoy every form that comes along, if it is good. I knew that the early essay in French was an "effort", an "attempt" or a "try" at explaining or accounting for something. Its genius is that it is open to every topic and mood, whimsical or solemn. Just as I was about to begin my essay on Buddhism hold your breathhowever, I thumbed backward to the Chesterton column of February 16, 1929.

Its title was, I could hardly believe it, "On the Essay"! I, being only fourteen months old when it was written, had never seen this essay before; it was like discovering gold in your own backyard. I the dangers of intentional manipulation according to g k chesterton maybe Professor Cotter might like a copy of it, so I xeroxed it. I figured I knew exactly what Chesterton would say in his essay. Then I read Chesterton's essay "On the Essay" only to discover that he did not at all say what I assumed he would say.

He did say, much to my consolation, that he himself indulged in the essay all his life and loved it as a form of writing. Chesterton began his essay, however, with this quite upsetting sentence for someone, like me, prepared to exalt the essay at all costs: Here I had been thinking that the essay could save the world and I discover the Devil as its author! It has been my experience, as devoted readers of the Midwest Chesterton News well know by now, however, that whenever Chesterton talks about evil, I had better pay attention; something momentous is about to happen.

The plot thickens when Chesterton remarked that the essay came into English letters from the French via Francis Bacon.

Chesterton added, "I can only believe it. I always thought he Bacon was the villain of English history. So what's up with the essay, the form of literature Schall likes most? Chesterton admitted that "I take my greatest literary pleasure in reading them essays ; after such really serious necessities of the intellect as detective stories and tracts written by madmen.

We readers of Father Brown know about Chesterton and detective stories; we readers of Orthodoxy know of Chesterton and madmen; we readers if a hundred of his books know about Chesterton and essays.