Quoting Chesterton: Nothing Better

Some days, I feel there's nothing better to do than quote G.K. Chesterton.

"In fact, the mere abstract rationality of this problem is very wrongly discussed. For instance, it is always considered ludicrous and a signal for a burst of laughter if the spiritualists say that a seance has been spoiled by the presence of a skeptic, or that an attitude of faith is necessary to encourage the psychic communications. But there is nothing at all unreasonable or unlikely about the idea that doubt might discourage and faith encourage spiritual communications, if there are any. The suggestion does not make spiritualism in abstract logic any more improbable. All that it does make it is more difficult.

There is nothing foolish or fantastic about the supposition that a dispassionate person acts as a deterrent to passionate truths. Only it happens to make it much harder for any dispassionate person to find out what is true. There are a thousand practical parallels. An impartial psychologist studying the problem of human nature could, no doubt, learn a great deal from a man and woman making love to each other in his presence. None the less, it is unfortunately the fact that no man and woman would make love to each other in the presence of an impartial psychologist. Students of physiology and surgery might learn something from a man suddenly stabbing another man on a platform in a lecture-theater. But no man would stab another man on a platform in a lecture-theater. A schoolmaster would learn much if the boys would be boys in his presence; but they never are boys in his presence. An educationalist studying infancy might make important discoveries if he could hear the things said by a baby when absolutely alone and at his ease with his mother. But it is quite obvious that the mere entrance of a great ugly educationalist (they are an ugly lot) would set the child screaming with terror."

Interesting stuff, at least to me.

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