Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Triangle of Truisms

J.M.J. + O.B.T. + M.G.R.*

The book, The Superstition of Divorce from 1920 contains many timeless expressions of Chestertonian common sense. The “triangle” appears twice on page 66 and page 80. The fact that Christianity is build upon truisms that relate creation back to the Three-in-Oneness of the Triune God is worth pondering. It is casting out into the deep.

Page 66

All these are truisms but they are also truths, and truths that will return; for the present tangle of semi-official substitutes is not only a stop-gap, but one that is not big enough to stop the gap.

If people cannot mind their own business, it cannot possibly be made economical to pay them to mind each other’s business; and still less to mind each other’s babies.

It is simply throwing away a natural force and then paying for an artificial force; as if a man were to water a plant with a hose while holding up an umbrella to protect it from the rain.

The whole really rests on a plutocratic illusion of an infinite supply of servants.

When we offer any other system as a “career for women,” we are really proposing that an infinite number of them should become servants, of a plutocratic or bureaucratic sort.

Ultimately, we are arguing that a woman should not be a mother to her own baby, but a nursemaid to somebody else’s baby. But it will not work, even on paper.

We cannot all live by taking in each other’s washing, especially in the form of pinafores. In the last resort, the only people who either can or will give individual care, to each of the individual children, are their individual parents.

The expression as applied to those dealing with changing crowds of children is a graceful and legitimate flourish of speech.

This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilisations which disregard it.

Most modern reformers are merely bottomless sceptics, and have no basis on which to rebuild; and it is well that such reformers should realise that there is something they cannot reform.

You can put down the mighty from their seat; you can turn the world upside down, and there is much to be said for the view that it may then be the right way up.

But you cannot create a world in which the baby carries the mother.

You cannot create a world in which the mother has not authority
over the baby.

Page 80

From its first days in the forest this human group had to fight against wild monsters; and so it is now fighting against these wild machines. It only managed to survive then, and it will only manage to survive now, by a strong internal sanctity; a tacit oath or dedication deeper than that of the city or the tribe.

But though this silent promise was always present, it took at a certain turning point of our history a special form which I shall try to sketch in the next chapter. That turning point was the creation of Christendom by the religion which created it.

Nothing will destroy the sacred triangle; and even the Christian faith, the most amazing revolution that ever took place in the mind, served only in a sense to turn that triangle upside down.

It held up a mystical mirror in which the order of the three things was reversed; and added a holy family of child, mother and father to the human family of father, mother and child.


“This short book was written in 1920, and in it Chesterton, with his usual wit and incisive logic, presents a series of articles defending marriage and indicating the weaknesses in divorce. He did this 16 year before the first Christian denomination in the world allowed its members to divorce. Till then Christendom was unanimous in standing against it. Chesterton saw clearly the trends of this time, and delivered this defense.”

— Wandering

Sincerely yours in Jesus and Mary,
Mike Rizzio

Imitate Mary
Become like Jesus
Live for the Triune God

Seek the Light of Our Lord Jesus Christ
See you on the High Ground!

* - J.M.J. + O.B.T. + M.G.R. stands for:
Jesus, Mary and Joseph;
O Beata Trinitas;
St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael

No comments: