“The fish forgets the sea”

Religion has had to provide that longest and strangest telescope — the telescope through which we could see the star upon which we dwelt. For the mind and eyes of the average man this world is as lost as Eden and as sunken as Atlantis. There runs a strange law through the length of human history—that men are continually tending to undervalue their environment, to undervalue their happiness, to undervalue themselves. The great sin of mankind, the sin typified by the fall of Adam, is the tendency, not towards pride, but towards this weird and horrible humility. This is the great fall, the fall by which the fish forgets the sea, the ox forgets the meadow, the clerk forgets the city, every man forgets his environment and, in the fullest and most literal sense, forgets himself. This is the real fall of Adam, and it is a spiritual fall. It is a strange thing that many truly spiritual men, such as General Gordon, have actually spent some hours in speculating upon the precise location of the Garden of Eden. Most probably we are in Eden still. It is only our eyes that have changed.

— The Defendant (1901).

Published in: on May 21, 2014 at 11:58 am  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Truly beautiful!

  2. Hi, love your site! I’m a translator doing some research work on Chesterton for a project of mine, and I was wondering if you could help me find a particular text of his you have cited and which I’m having some trouble getting hold of. If it’s not too much trouble, please send me an e-mail and I’ll tell you more. If you’re not up for it it’s no prob, great site anyways, keep up the good work!

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  4. […] Thanks to this post by Guymax at The World Knot, and this quote posted on The Hebdomadal Chesterton, I’ve been rethinking the balance between human […]

  5. […] Thanks to this post by Guymax at The World Knot, and this quote posted on The Hebdomadal Chesterton, I’ve been rethinking the balance between human […]


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