Agonizomai: Postmodernism Previsited

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Postmodernism Previsited

"What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert - himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt - the Divine Reason. . . . The new skeptic is so humble that he doubts if he can even learn. . . . There is a real humility typical of our time; but it so happens that it's practically a more poisonous humility than the wildest prostrations of the ascetic. . . . The old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which makes him stop working altogether. . . . We are on the road to producing a race of man too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table".

G.K. Chesterton (1908)


Blogger Derek Ashton said...

Preach on, Mr. Chesterton. Great quote!

Tony, do you know where this came from?

Grace & peace,

3:40 pm  
Blogger agonizomai said...


Though I've never read this particular work (I stuck with his "Othodoxy") I believe it comes from "The Suicide of Thought", Chapter 3.



4:20 pm  
Blogger agonizomai said...


I must be confused. Unless Chesterton used the same phrase twice. One inquiry gave me the above citation and another tells me it comes from "Orthodoxy" [Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Co., 1957], pp. 31-32.

I have read "Orthodoxy" and probably did find the citation there, but my memory fails me. When I read it it was from an online source (probably CCEL) and I didn't save a copy.

Sorry about the confusion.



5:52 pm  
Blogger The Blainemonster said...

That's an outstanding observation by G.K., and well put!

11:53 am  

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