Chestertons Orthodoxie: Analyse der Argumente

Auf dem Server der University of Notre Dame habe ich eine interessante religionsphilosophische Analyse der Argumente von Chestertons “Orthodoxie” gefunden. Hier sind fünf Argumente zum schieren Wunder der Existenz.

P1. The world does not explain itself. It is at first glance astonishing, even in its regularities.

“Here is the peculiar perfection of tone and truth in the nursery tales. The man of science says, ‘Cut the stalk and the apple will fall’; but he says it calmly, as if the one idea really led up to the other. The witch in the fairytale says, `Blow the horn and the ogre’s castle will fall’; but she does not say it as if it were something in which the effect obviously arose out of the cause. Doubtless she has given the advice to many champions, and has seen many castles fall, but she does not lose either her wonder or her reason. She does not muddle her head until it imagines a necessary mental connection between a horn and a falling tower…. [The scientific men, on the other hand,] feel that because one incomprehensible thing constantly follows another incomprehensible thing the two together somehow make up a comprehensible thing” (pp. 56-57).

“This elementary wonder, however, is not a mere fancy derived from the fairy tales; on the contrary, all the fire of the fairy tales is derived from this. Just as we all like love tales because there is an instinct of sex, we all like astonishing tales because they touch the nerve of the ancient instinct of astonishment” (pp. 58-59).

P2. The world is like a work of art. It has a meaning.

“The strongest emotion was that life was as precious as it was puzzling. It was an ecstasy because it was an adventure; it was an adventure because it was an opportunity” (p. 60).

“This was my first conviction; made by the shock of my childish emotions meeting the modern creed in mid-career. I had always vaguely felt facts to be miracles in the sense that they are wonderful: now I began to think them miracles in the stricter sense that they were wilful” (p. 66).

P3. The world is beautiful and admirable in its design despite its defects.

“The goodness of the fairy tale was not affected by the fact that there might be more dragons than princesses; it was good to be in a fairy tale. The test of all happiness is gratitude; and I felt grateful, though I hardly knew to whom” (p. 60).

P4. The proper form of thanks for the world is some form of humility and restraint. (Doctrine of Conditional Joy.)

“The true citizen of fairlyland is obeying something he does not understand at all. In the fairy tale an incomprehensible happiness rests upon an incomprehensible condition. A box is opened, and all evils fly out. A word is forgotten, and cities perish. A lamp is lit, and love flies away. A flower is plucked, and human lives are forfeited. An apple is eaten, and the hope of God is gone” (p. 61).

“Such, it seemed, was the joy of man, either in elfland or on earth; the happiness depended on not doing something which you could at any moment do and which, very often, it was not obvious why you should not do. Now, the point here is that to me this did not seem unjust. If the miller’s third son said to the fairy, `Explain why I must not stand on my head in the fairy palace,’ the other might fairly reply `Well, if it comes to that, explain the fairy palace’ … And it seemed to me that existence was itself so very eccentric a legacy that I could not complain of not understanding the limitations of the vision when I did not understand the vision they limited. The frame was no stranger than the picture. The veto might well be as wild as the vision; it might be as startling as the sun, as elusive as the waters, as fantastic and terrible as the towering trees … For this reason (we may call it the fairy godmother philosophy) I never could join the young men of my time in feeling what they called the general sentiment of revolt” (p. 62).

P5. In some way all good is a remnant to be stored and held sacred out of some primordial ruin.

“Every man has forgotten who he is. One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God; but thou shalt not know thyself. We are all under the same mental calamity; we have all forgotten our names. We have all forgotten what we really are. All that we call common sense and rationality and practicality and positivism only means that for certain dead levels of our life we forget that we have forgotten. All that we call spirit and art and ecstacy only means that for one awful instant we remember that we forgot” (p. 59).