“Between where you are now and where you’d like to be there’s a sort of barrier, or a chasm, and sometimes it’s a good idea to imagine that you’re already at the other side of that chasm, so that you can start on the unknown side.”
“…Beauty is subversive. Why? Because it is powerful. It’s powerful because it makes us dream. It makes us think. It makes us imagine a world that’s bigger than the one we know and one that’s worth taking a risk for. Even in a brutal world, beauty exists and its power leads us to hope, faith, and love.
“Debunkers misunderstand such stories as the soon-to-be-dead brother, the appearance of the fatal-car-accident victim, and the advancing fire—all of which happened under extreme circumstances—when they ask, with a sneer, why all psychics do not get rich on the stock market, or why robust psychic phenomena cannot be made to appear in the controlled laboratory.
Putting aside for the moment the fact that psychics sometimes do get rich, and that statistically significant but humble forms of psychic phenomena do in fact appear in laboratories, the answer to why robust events like those of Twain, the widowed wife, and the Stockholm fire do not appear in the lab is simple: There is no trauma, love, or loss there. No one is in danger or dying. Your neighborhood is not on fire. The professional debunker’s insistence, then, that the phenomena play by his rules and appear for all to see in a safe and sterile laboratory is little more than a mark of his own ignorance of the nature of the phenomena in question. To play by those rules is like trying to study the stars at midday. It is like going to the North Pole to study those legendary beasts called zebras. No doubt just anecdotes.”
“The person who is really in revolt is the optimist, who generally lives and dies in a desperate and suicidal effort to persuade other people how good they are.”
– G.K. Chesterton
my small boat
This was said is such a succinct manner! How did the act of being positive transform into such a giant play and drama. How did the act of noticing and being grateful become a way to target the insecure and to charge them all money while handing them a way to build their houses of bricks, made of straw, to cover the pit? A pit that only requires some simple tools to be able to be looked at and to be corrected?
I like reading Chesterton, though I cannot say I follow his religious convictions. He does have a lot to say about faith, and the creation of all sorts of false idols to prop up one’s floundering insides. I find him full of humor and intelligent wit.
“The belief that humanity makes moral progress depends upon a wilful ignorance of history. It also depends upon a wilful ignorance of oneself – a refusal to recognise the extent to which selfishness and calculation reside in the heart even of our most generous emotions, awaiting their chance. Those who invest their hopes in the moral improvement of humankind are therefore in a precarious position: at any moment the veil of illusion might be swept away, revealing the bare truth of the human condition. Either they defend themselves against this possibility with artful intellectual ploys, or they give way, in the moment of truth, to a paroxysm of disappointment and misanthropy. Both of these do violence to our nature. The first condemns us to the life of unreason; the second to the life of contempt. Human beings may not be as good as the shallow optimists pretend; but nor are they as bad as the prophets and curmudgeons have painted them.
In order to see human beings as they are, therefore, and to school oneself in the art of loving them, it is necessary to apply a dose of pessimism to all one’s plans and aspirations. I don’t go along with Schopenhauer’s comprehensive gloom, or with the philosophy of renunciation that he derived from it. I have no doubt that St Paul was right to recommend faith, hope and love (agape) as the virtues which order life to the greater good. But I have no doubt too that hope, detached from faith and untempered by the evidence of history, is a dangerous asset, and one that threatens not only those who embrace it, but all those within range of their illusions….” (see remainder of this most excellent article here)