Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chesterton's Dragons

Brad Carroway
"Smaug the Magnificent"
“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

- G.K. Chesteron
I admire the English writer G.K. Chesterton's intellect and curiosity. Today, he's best known for his proverbs, but I appreciate his generalism no less. As his Wikipedia entry details, "[Chesterton's] prolific and diverse output included philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures, and debates, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics, and fiction, including fantasy and detective fiction." (And I thought I had a catholic disposition!)

Chesterton was independent-minded enough to turn his incisive critique to any subject, including those he held dear, and thoughtful enough to engage in courteous debate with his antagonists (a trait today's intellectual leaders typically lack or deny).

Still, he wasn't perfect; some of his writing is flavored with antisemitism and, by many accounts, his strengthening religious convictions dulled his later criticism. Chesterton was right about the value of fairy tales, but too many brave knights ride off in search of dragons to slay, unmindful of the beasts within.

Image credit: ripped from Fine Art America

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