Chesterton on Imagination, Reason, and Insanity

I’m re-reading Chesterton’s Orthodoxy (1908), and I was struck by this line of argument:

There is a notion adrift everywhere that imagination, especially mystical imagination, is dangerous to a man’s mental balance. . . . Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic; I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.

After giving some examples, Chesterton attempts an explanation for the phenomenon: Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements