Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Normally, I don't do this - post in the middle of my other business. But I was looking for something and (as usual) found something else.

In this case, I found a very STUNNING passage in what I think is a very important essay of GKC. It's not the usual GKC - or perhaps I ought to say it is the essential GKC. It is mysterious, and yet fully natural, quite practical and gloriously theoretic... in the old Greek sense which derives from a root which means "to see"...

It is the sort of thing which underlies so much of his fiction - but also his non-fiction, and the sort of thing that one might expect to find used as a plot device... alas, it is too Catholic, or something... it will take a LOT of meditation to grasp this one. But I think I ought to let you read it, and ponder it for yourself...

Often when riding with three or four strangers on the top of an omnibus I have felt a wild impulse to throw the driver off his seat, to seize his whip, to drive the omnibus far out into the country, and tip them all out into a field, and say, "We may never meet again in this world; come, let us understand each other." I do not affirm that the experiment would succeed, but I think the impulse to do it is at the root of all the tradition of the poetry of wrecks and islands.
[GKC ILN Oct 24 1908 CW28:205]
Here is revealed the "man behind the curtain" - the backstage mechanisms, the "source code" (as we techs call it) which underlies GKC's Manalive and other works. For example:
The best way that a man could test his readiness to encounter the common variety of mankind would be to climb down a chimney into any house at random, and get on as well as possible with the people inside. And that is essentially what each one of us did on the day that he was born.
[GKC Heretics CW1:142]
Now, let us go and do likewise.... I do not mean (I beg you!) to go abusing bus drivers or airline pilots, or to go invade a random home in the style of Santa Claus - but by understanding this scheme, and THEN by synthesizing this device into new fiction. It suggests so many fertile fields for our work.

And speaking of work... see you later.


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