Archives for 11 February 2016

Day tripper

It has just been arranged that I am to take a certain Beloved Other up to Edmonton on Valentine’s Day, where she will be visiting friends and relations; from which excursion I shall, unhappily, be returning by myself. In honour of the occasion, I hark back to a post I made four years ago, describing my last trip to Edmonton:

Procol Harum and G. K. C.

It begins:

Thus, if one asked an ordinary intelligent man, on the spur of the moment, ‘Why do you prefer civilization to savagery?’ he would look wildly round at object after object, and would only be able to answer vaguely, ‘Why, there is that bookcase… and the coals in the coal-scuttle… and pianos… and policemen.’ The whole case for civilization is that the case for it is complex. It has done so many things. But that very multiplicity of proof which ought to make reply overwhelming makes reply impossible.

—G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

My Muse is actually an imp, or perhaps a pooka, and cannot read a passage such as this without taking it as a challenge. I shall accordingly give my reason for preferring civilization, in the form of an example; and I hope to show that the example I give would be utterly impossible except in a state of civilization, and indeed, inconceivable in any civilization but our own. Mr. Chesterton would doubtless be glad to hear that my example does at least include a piano.

Read the rest.