I wouldn't be surprised if you rated Orwell or Ibsen’s
'thought' higher than Chesterton’s and hence even
higher than Eliot !

I am reminded of a verse by swinburne (quoted from
memory) : 

'...what is, we do not see, and what is not, we always
Fiddle, we call it diddle, and Diddle, dee ...'

I am pretty sure Eliot would never have meant that one
shouldn’t have political ideas or anything of that
sort.  It is indeed difficult for someone who isn’t
able to grasp what a ‘great mind’ means to look at the
*propositional* content of a passage as that quote on
Henry James.  And I am sure Carroll would find Yeats
much worse than an ‘idiote’, even a barbarian, if he
reads a passage as : 

‘The playboy (of the western world) shocked a good 
people, because it was a self-improving,
self-educating audience, and 
means a perverted and commonplace audience.  If you
set out to educate 
yourself, you are compelled to have an ideal, a model
of what you would 
and if you are not a man of genius, your model will be
commonplace and 
prevent the natural impulses of the mind, its natural
hope, admiration, always half unconscious, almost

--- Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Vishvesh Obla wrote:
> > 'we corrupt our feelings with ideas; we produce
> the public, 
> > the political, the emotional the political, 
> > evading sensation and thought.... Mr. Chesterton's
> brain
> > swarms with ideas; I see no evidence that it
> thinks.’
> Aristotle (following spontaneous Greek assumptions)
> defined the human
> person as a _politike_, one who lives in cities or,
> more precisely, one
> who takes part in the public (shared) life of the
> the Polis. One who did
> not share in that public life was a private person
> or _idiotes_, one who
> was not fully human, was "not all there" as it were.
> We become fully
> human through our participation in that public life.
> Even some 2000
> years later, Jefferson speculating idly in a letter
> to John Adams on
> what 'heaven' should be like, proposed an endless
> Continental Congress:
> i.e., for Jefferson as for Aristotle, one became
> wholly human, one
> exercised one's human faculties, through the public
> process of
> persuading and being persuaded. (See for interesting
> discussion of all
> of this Hannah Arendt's _The Human Condition_ and
> _On Revolution_.)
> James Madison in Federalist No. 10 offers a
> fascinating and complex
> simile or ratio. As air is to fire so freedom is to
> 'faction,' and just
> as we would not eliminate air (which is necessary
> for animal life) in
> order to control the destructive forces of fire, so
> we must not
> eliminate freedom (which is necessary to political
> life) to control the
> rages of faction. That is, political life is not
> merely (or at all) a
> _means_ to an end, it is an end in itself. Why?
> Because outside
> politics, we cannot be fully human. (I'm not a
> particular admirer of
> Chesterton, but in this respect at least his thought
> was definitely
> superior to the thought of Eliot.)
> (Of course the Athenians would not have regarded
> mere passive voting, or
> campaigning, for this or that candidate real
> politics. But that is
> another story.)
> To go back to Athens. In _Antigone_ there is a
> really fascinating
> exchange between Creon and his son Haemon, which
> climaxes in Haemon's
> declaration that "It is no city where one man
> rules." (Quoted from
> memory, the Grene translation I believe.) Haemon
> doesn't say, "It's a
> _bad_ city or a _corrupt_ city where one man rules;
> he says that it is
> no city at _all_ where one man rules. Why? Because
> in a tyranny there is
> no public life, no glorious participation in the
> public life, but _that_
> is what cities are for: to provide a public space in
> which the citizens
> can exercise their crucial human quality of
> persuading and being
> persuaded. A _polis_ that does not provide for this,
> then, is no _polis_
> at all. 
> Eliot's "avoiding sensation and thought" is simply
> bizarre, one more
> implication that "real humanity" is not for the
> great unwashed, but only
> for "sensitive" souls like TSE.
> Carrol

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