Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Joining the Universe in the Middle

Scene: the kitchen table, interior, night. Some kids are sitting around the table playing "dungeons and dragons". A younger boy named Elliot comes up and stands anxiously by the table.

Elliot: Hey, guys, can I play now? You said I could play.

Big kid: No way - you can't just join a universe in the middle.

[From "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial"]

Well, of course you can join a universe in the middle. We all do, on the day we're born:
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]
And, speaking of being born, that may be the solution to a rather unfortunate problem I have heard about recently.

The problem is: certain people find Chesterton's The Everlasting Man difficult to read. They pick it up and open it and try to read it, and they get lost.

Here is the solution:
Begin with the chapter called "The God in the Cave". I strongly suggest that you (1) dim any unnecessary lights, and light a candle or two if you have them; also (2) have a beverage handy. Chesterton would not approve of hot chocolate, but you may; he'd go for some wine, as long as it was "country wine" and not some esoteric varietal. But of course the beverage is not necessary.

But if you have had problems, please do try starting with this chapter. It is the Christmas Story, told in a completely different manner. Not modern-different, not scholar-different, not antiChrist-different. It's as if you went into your attic and found a box you had never seen before, full of old ornaments which looked strangely familiar, and reminded you of your childhood, and people whom you have not seen for a long time... and there they are... It's everything you already know, but told as if you were hearing it for the first time.

Note: If you HAVE tried this and find that chapter difficult, please call our 800 number (it should be scrolling across the top of your screen) and let us know. Your copy may be defective. We'll rush our special GKC-service trucks to your home, crammed full of all kinds of good things to eat and drink... they've never failed yet. Call today!

The fine print: This approach to reading Chesterton's The Everlasting Man has been approved by the President of the American Chesterton Society. If you do not have a copy, click here for more information.

(This message does not appear in fine print due to technical limits beyond our control. Yes, yes - I know I said it was fine print, but that's what it is, not how it's printed. Oy.)


At 11 June, 2006 20:56, Blogger Candlestring said...

Fine print, har har. Yes, it is fine, the whole post was fine. Not fine in a "well, fine then" sort of way, but fine as in a fine wine or a fine cigar or perhaps even the fine line.

Thank you for the tip. I will try it. But first, I have other Chesterton to read, and I have owned Pearce's book on GK for a year now and haven't even cracked the cellophane on it yet. Everlasting Man will have to wait, I'm afraid.


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