Trevin Wax reports:-
In 1911, Holbrook Jackson, a disciple of Nietzsche, wrote a book called Platitudes in the Making. He sent a copy to G.K. Chesterton, who write, in a green pencil, a response to nearly all of Jackson’s pithy platitudes.
Here are some examples: with Jackson’s proposals in bold type, and Chesterton’s responses in italics:-
- As soon as an idea is accepted it is time to reject it. No: it is time to build another idea on it. You are always rejecting if you build nothing.
- Truth is one’s own conception of things. The Big Blunder. All thought is an attempt to discover if one’s own conception is true or not.
- No opinion matters finally: except your own. Said the man who thought he was a rabbit.
- Don’t think—do! Do think! Do!
- Every custom was once an eccentricity; every idea was once an absurdity. No, no, no. Some ideas were always absurdities. This is one of them.
- The future will look upon man as we look upon the ichthyosaurus—as an extinct monster. The “future” won’t look upon anything. No eyes.
- Doubt is the prerogative of the intellect; Faith, of the emotions. Nowadays the emotions have all the Doubt and the intellect all the Faith. The mind exists not to doubt but to decide.
- The great revolution of the future will be Nature’s revolt against man. I hope Man will not hesitate to shoot.
- When we love we are most like animals. When we love we are at our best. We are never like animals. And least of all in love.
- Love is protective only when it is free. Love is never free.
Trevin Wax asks: do we test the platitudes of our own day with anything like this kind of counter-cultural thought?
Slogans and sayings, new terms and shifts in language, ideas that gain a foothold and then spread throughout our society—all of them should be put to the test of deliberative and biblical evaluation.