Everyone Acts According to His Philosophy

G.K. Chesterton on education (HT: Ryan Boomershine):

Every education teaches a philosophy; if not by dogma then by suggestion, by implication, by atmosphere. Every part of that education has a connection with every other part. If it does not all combine to convey some general view of life, it is not an education at all.

Everyone also has a reason for doing something. Everything we call random, even everything I call random, must have come from some movement of the heart. Do we trust ourselves to leave these things hidden and unquestioned, to crop up only when they result in something unexpected?

No, who knows how subtly Satan will attempt to infiltrate our minds with things that dishonour God? Far better to address it than to think we’re being “practical” to avoid thinking about it. It’s not practical if our purpose is to glorify God in our hearts as well as our deeds, for how can anyone know what is practical without knowing purpose?

Unless the only driving force – though not a force – is going with the flow. But that, too, is a philosophy: perhaps a simple-to-articulate philosophy, but a philosophy all the same. No. It cannot be avoided. You may avoid purpose, but you cannot avoid acting by a philosophy, even if for a moment what you follow is the philosophy that your desires are king. Life is not an Apple Jacks commercial: you don’t “just do”.

Without interpretation, even interpretation of a moment’s quick glance and a leap of intuition, application is haphazard: you don’t know what you’re doing, but you think you do. You think it’s obvious, because that’s the way you’ve always done it. Then you fall into a pit and flounder about. What then? Even if you don’t, you’re doing good purely by accident, as far as you’re concerned. Is that a way to live?


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