Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Sense and Simplicity

This is an interesting Catholic, literary blog I just found --- And Sometimes Tea. It's going directly into my rather un-minimalistic -- possibly even cluttered? Google Reader subscription.

These two posts:

You Can't Take it With You
and
A Review of Rod Dreher's Crunchy Cons
are both good reading, and only two of many.

They inspired me to hunt up this quote from GK Chesterton's Heretics, on Sandals and Simplicity -- one my teenagers and I have discussed in the past. It expresses some of my own reservations about Crunchy Cons when I read it a year or so ago:


A man approaches, wearing sandals and simple raiment, a raw tomato held firmly in his right hand, and says, "The affections of family and country alike are hindrances to the fuller development of human love;" but the plain thinker will only answer him, with a wonder not untinged with admiration, "What a great deal of trouble you must have taken in order to feel like that." High living will reject the tomato. Plain thinking will equally decisively reject the idea of the invariable sinfulness of war. High living will convince us that nothing is more materialistic than to despise a pleasure as purely material. And plain thinking will convince us that nothing is more materialistic than to reserve our horror chiefly for material wounds.

The only simplicity that matters is the simplicity of the heart. If that be gone, it can be brought back by no turnips or cellular clothing; but only by tears and terror and the fires that are not quenched. If that remain, it matters very little if a few Early Victorian armchairs remain along with it. Let us put a complex entree into a simple old gentleman; let us not put a simple entree into a complex old gentleman. So long as human society will leave my spiritual inside alone, I will allow it, with a comparative submission, to work its wild will with my physical interior. I will submit to cigars. I will meekly embrace a bottle of Burgundy. I will humble myself to a hansom cab. If only by this means I may preserve to myself the virginity of the spirit, which enjoys with astonishment and fear. I do not say that these are the only methods of preserving it. I incline to the belief that there are others. But I will have nothing to do with simplicity which lacks the fear, the astonishment, and the joy alike. I will have nothing to do with the devilish vision of a child who is too simple to like toys.

2 comments:

Faith said...

Wow, thanks for discovering another blog for me! I have read Red's comments on Mark Shea's blog. But I never followed through to her blog. Wonderful stuff!

So glad you're back.

Red Cardigan said...

I truly appreciate your kindness in linking to my blog, and the wonderful Chesterton quote, which I'm going to have to remember the next time I blog about simplicity! Your blog is lovely--I think the pictures of your visit to Ireland are absolutely breathtaking!

God bless,

Red