Wednesday, March 18, 2020

G.K. Chesterton on Being Quarantined

From his novel Manalive: 
"When you’re really shipwrecked, you do really find what you want. When you’re really on a desert island, you never find it a desert. If we were really besieged in this garden, we’d find a hundred English birds and English berries that we never knew were here. If we were snowed up in this room, we’d be the better for reading scores of books in that bookcase that we don’t even know are there; we’d have talks with each other, good, terrible talks, that we shall go to the grave without guessing; we’d find materials for everything— christening, marriage, or funeral; yes, even for a coronation— if we didn’t decide to be a republic.”
...The good-humoured Rosamund was almost choking with laughter. “All is not gold that glitters,” she said, “and besides—”
“What a mistake that is!” cried Innocent Smith, leaping up in great excitement. “All is gold that glitters.... We can make anything a precious metal, as men could in the morning of the world. They didn’t choose gold because it was rare; your scientists can tell you twenty sorts of slime much rarer. They chose gold because it was bright—because it was a hard thing to find, but pretty when you’ve found it. You can’t fight with golden swords or eat golden biscuits; you can only look at it—and you can look at it out here.”
"....Leave off buying and selling, and start looking! Open your eyes, and you’ll wake up in the New Jerusalem."
Yes, I know there are massive downsides as well, but this offsets them just a bit. Maybe even more than that.