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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Imposter

Two gripping thoughts on Hypocrisy by G.K. Chesterton (1874 - 1936):

"LET it never be forgotten that a hypocrite is a very unhappy man; he is a man who has devoted himself to a most delicate and arduous intellectual art in which he may achieve masterpieces which he must keep secret, fight thrilling battles and win hair-breadth victories for which he cannot have a whisper of praise. A really accomplished impostor is the most wretched of geniuses: he is a Napoleon on a desert island." ("Browning.")

"We ought to see far enough into a hypocrite to see even his sincerity. We ought to be interested in that darkest and most real part of a manin which dwell not the vices that he does not display, but the virtuesthat he cannot. And the more we approach the problems of human history with this keen and piercing charity, the smaller and smaller space we shall allow to pure hypocrisy of any kind. The hypocrites shall not deceive us into thinking them saints; but neither shall they deceive us into thinking them hypocrites. And an increasing number of cases will crowd into our field of inquiry, cases in which there is really no question of hypocrisy at all, cases in which people were so ingenuous that they seemed absurd, and so absurd that they seemed disingenuous." ("H. G. Wells and the Giants." Heretics)

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