Friday, November 30, 2012

Chestertonian Leadership and Thinking

"G.K. Chesterton is nothing if not paradoxical. That is because truth is paradoxical, and Chesterton is a teller of the truth. Truth is often the opposite of what we expect; it seems to contain contradictions; it is sometimes too big to be seen.

We encounter the paradoxical nature of truth when we consider the principles of leadership. A leader must be humble, not proud, yet he must be confident. He must be a servant, yet he must lead, not follow. He must be willing to take risks, but he must not be imprudent. He must demonstrate courage, and courage is a paradox. It is, says Chesterton, a strong willingness to live accompanied by a readiness to die.

My new book, The Complete Thinker, not only presents Chesterton as a model thinker, but also a model leader; one who is humble, yet confident, and who inspires confidence. He is one of the premiere defenders of the faith in the modern world, and it should be noted that the Latin word for faith also provides the root for the word confidence (fides). It is faith that gives us confidence. But Chesterton, as a great Catholic thinker, always connects faith and reason, which have been separated in the modern world.

But it is not only the separation of faith and reason that has destroyed thinking, it is the separation of everything from everything else. Chesterton says the world is one wild divorce court. What Chesterton does is, he puts things back together. “Thinking,” he says, “means connecting things.” Thus, I try to get the reader to see with Chesterton's eyes and to think his thoughts with him as he approaches everything: the universe, old and new, east and west, law and lawyers, health and medicine, politics and patriotism, buying and selling, life and death. Chesterton is very much the counterbalance to the specialization and narrowness that weighs down the modern mind.

Whenever I write about Chesterton (which is whenever I write), I try to present not only his common sense, but his joy and hope. Just as Chesterton has unfortunately been neglected as a writer, hope has been neglected as a virtue. The world today needs both."

--Dale Ahlquist (The the current authority of all things Chestertonian)

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