"Voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone ..." William Wordsworth

22 August 2020


In the present and the quite recent past we see a debris of effects of which we do not know the causes. The fire is choked with its own ashes, the fountain is sealed with its own ice; the original purpose of the thing does not pierce through. The only way to deal with it is to go back and ask what the thing in question — a throne or a theory or a vote — was primarily supposed to be. Nine times out of ten the only way of really building the future is to imagine yourself in some much ruder society in the remote past. You may call this reactionary and barbaric if you choose, just as you can call it reactionary and barbaric to take a bath. Taking a bath certainly involves the removal of many civilized externals and an invitation to the nakedness of savages. But it is the only way to get clean.

G.K. Chesterton

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