Thursday, September 27, 2007

Man is a Misshapen Monster

Yesterday the Wilfrid Laurier University student paper published a good article by Don Morgenson about the cult of progress and problems with university education.
“For some strange reason people must plant fruit trees in a graveyard. We seem to find life only among the dead. We have our feet set forward and our faces turned back. We can make the future luxuriant and gigantic only as long as we are thinking about the past.” So wrote G. K. Chesterton.

But how can this be so? We can all see that we are creatures born to look and move forward. Every morning we move forward – first into the shower, then to the coffee pot. We sit down to new, forward-looking, fortified and fiber-filled cereals. Our newspapers are filled with forward-looking features, our weather forecasts and news of pushing back medical frontiers.
click here to read the rest

The quote of Chesterton is actually a neutered paraphrase from What's Wrong With the World:
"For some strange reason man must always thus plant his fruit trees in a graveyard. Man can only find life among the dead. Man is a misshapen monster, with his feet set forward and his face turned back. He can make the future luxuriant and gigantic, so long as he is thinking about the past."
and the next line was left off:
"When he tries to think about the future itself, his mind diminishes to a pin point with imbecility, which some call Nirvana."

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