As I was going through my list of "significant books," I decided to post about The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton next. Ha! That was a month ago. In preparation for the intended entry, I decided to browse through the book again to refresh my memory. That turned into a full-blown re-reading along with copying passages & taking notes. Whoops.

The book has a pretty wide spectrum of topics, but it all comes back to a central point. Anthropology, history, art, religion, mythology, tradition - it all points to Christ. And no person seems to be able to convey this with as much common sense, humor & wit than Chesterton.

Humans seem to have some trace of supernatural in them. At the very least, the supernatural has always had a mesmeric hold over us. We seem always to point to the sky. Humans are strange, unprecedented creatures. As Chesterton puts it:

"There may be a broken trail of stones and bones faintly suggesting the development of the human body. There is nothing even faintly suggesting the human mind." -Chapter I (The Man in the Cave)
Somehow, we're so like animals, yet so unlike them. How did we come to be so different? Was it millions of years of evolution? Chesterton drily suggests that no matter how long a cow grazes on the hillside, it will never build its own cow-shed; no matter how long a sheep is in a pasture, it will never develop ancestor-worshiping practices. The phenomenon is not justified or explained any more by a million years than it is by a day. The fact still remains that it is an incomprehensible phenomenon. And where did our unnatural tendencies come if not from an unnatural (or supernatural) being?
"The simplest truth about man is that he is a very strange being; almost in the sense of being a stranger on the earth. In all sobriety, he has much more of the external appearance of one bringing alien habits from another land than of a mere growth of this one. He has an unfair advantage and an unfair disadvantage. He cannot sleep in his own skin; he cannot trust his own instincts. He is at once a creator moving miraculous hands and fingers and a kind of cripple. He is wrapped in artificial bandages called clothes; he is propped up on artificial crutches called furniture. His mind has the same doubtful liberties and the same wild limitations. Alone among the animals, he is shaken with the beautiful madness called laughter...It is not natural to see man as a natural product."
Oh, I shouldn't start quoting or I won't be able to stop! I might as well just tell you to drop what you're doing and read The Everlasting Man right this moment. Seriously, just read the first chapter - The Man in the Cave. It contains enough profound wisdom to fill 50 books. I would be content to simply read it over and over again. Even the short paragraph of the metaphor of man and mirror overstimulates my brain with amazement.

And yet that's only the beginning of the first half of the book - "On the Creature Called Man." The second half is "On the Man Called Christ."

It looks like this is going to be more than one entry...

...I can't resist just one more quote!
"Behind all these things is the fact that beauty and terror are very real things and related to a real spiritual world; and to touch them at all, even in doubt or fancy, is to stir the deep things of the soul."

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