Monday, June 29, 2015

A Person and A Story

The only two things that can satisfy the soul are a person and a story; and even a story must be about a person. There are indeed very voluptuous appetites and enjoyments in mere abstractions like mathematics, logic, or chess. But these mere pleasures of the mind are like mere pleasures of the body. That is, they are mere pleasures, though they may be gigantic pleasures; they can never by a mere increase of themselves amount to happiness. A man just about to be hanged may enjoy his breakfast; especially if it be his favourite breakfast; and in the same way he may enjoy an argument with the chaplain about heresy, especially if it is his favourite heresy. But whether he can enjoy either of them does not depend on either of them; it depends upon his spiritual attitude towards a subsequent event. And that event is really interesting to the soul; because it is the end of a story and (as some hold) the end of a person.

G. K. Chesterton, "The Priest of Spring", A Miscellany of Men.

1 comment:

  1. Enbrethiliel2:32 AM


    I am the worst Chesterton fan in the world to have thought, after the first sentence, that this was by C.S. Lewis!

    His point about a story and a person reminds me of Pope Benedict's description of Christianity as a meaningful encounter with a Person.


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