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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In Defence of Baby Worship


"The two facts which attract almost any normal person to children are, first, that they are very serious, and secondly, that they are in consequence very happy.  They are jolly with the completeness which is possible only in the absence of humor.  The most unfathomable schools and sages have never attained to the gravity which dwells in the eyes of a baby of three months old.  It is the gravity of astonishment at the universe, and astonishment at the universe is not mysticism, but a transcendent common-sense.  The fascination of children lies in this: that with each of them all things are remade, and the universe is put again upon its trial...

But the influence of children goes further than its first trifling effect of remaking heaven and earth.  It forces us actually to remodel our conduct in accordance with this revolutionary theory of the marvelousness of all things.  We do (even when we are perfectly simple or ignorant) we do actually treat talking in children as marvelous, walking in children as marvelous, common intelligence in children as marvelous.  The cynical philosopher fancies he has a victory in this matter- that he can laugh when he shows that the words or antics of the child are common enough.  The fact is that this is precisely where baby-worship is so profoundly right.  Any words and any antics in a lump of clay are wonderful, the child's words and antics are wonderful, and it is only fair to say that the  philosopher's words and antics are equally wonderful."

-by G.K. Chesterton, excerpts from his article, "A Defense of Baby Worship"

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