Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Morbid Modern Industrialism: G. K. Chesterton

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Title: The Everlasting Man
Author: G.K. Chesterton


But there is a deeper fallacy besides this obvious fact; that men need

not live for food merely because they cannot live without food The truth

is that the thing most present to the mind of man is not the economic

machinery necessary to his existence; but rather that existence itself;

the world which he sees when he wakes every morning and the nature of

his general position in it. There is something that is nearer to him

than livelihood, and that is life. For once that he remembers exactly

what work produces his wages and exactly what wages produce his meals,

he reflects ten times that it is a fine day or it is a queer world, or

wonders whether life is worth living, or wonders whether marriage is a

failure, or is pleased and puzzled with his own children, or remembers

his own youth, or in any such fashion vaguely reviews the mysterious lot

of man. This is true of the majority even of the wage-slaves of our

morbid modern industrialism, which by its hideousness and in-humanity

has really forced the economic issue to the front. It is immeasurably

more true of the multitude of peasants or hunters or fishers who make up

the real mass of mankind.


The human unity with which I deal here is not to be confounded with this

modern industrial monotony and herding, which is rather a congestion

than a communion. It is a thing to which human groups left to

themselves, and even human individuals left to themselves, have

everywhere tended by an instinct that may truly be called human. Like

all healthy human things, it has varied very much within the limits of a

general character; for that is characteristic of everything belonging to

that ancient land of liberty that lies before and around the servile

industrial town. Industrialism actually boasts that its products are all

of one pattern; that men in Jamaica or Japan can break the same seal and

drink the same bad whiskey, that a man at the North Pole and another at

the South might recognise the same optimistic level on the same dubious

tinned salmon. But wine, the gift of gods to men, can vary with every

valley and every vineyard, can turn into a hundred wines without any

wine once reminding us of whiskey; and cheeses can change from county to

county without forgetting the difference between chalk and cheese. When

I am speaking of this thing, therefore, I am speaking of something that

doubtless includes very wide differences; nevertheless I will here

maintain that it is one thing.


To read complete article, go to: http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks01/0100311.txt

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