Monday, November 21, 2011

Thinking Means Connecting Things

Apologist G.K. Chesterton once said that thinking means connecting things. Never were truer words spoken. To really understand what something is we must first understand what it is for and then how it connects or relates to other things.
Suppose I were to bring someone from the 17th century into a car class with the first lesson being on the fuel injection system. He may say, “Excuse me, but what is a car?” I’d respond, “It is a mode of transportation to get you from point A to point B.” The time traveler may think of a horse in this context and ask, “How would a car relate to a horse?” I could explain, among other things, that a car is a machine that is generally bigger, faster and can hold more people & cargo than a horse.  A better understanding of a car emerges when we can understand its purpose and how it connects or relates to other things.
This “knowing” and “relating” is key to understanding some basic facets of life and how they connect. The Catholic faith has always taught that the following are inexorably linked ………
God» Male» Female» Marriage» Sex» Children» Family» Community» Nation» World
I teach a course in troubleshooting in which a negative is always used to help confirm a positive and vice versa. If thinking means connecting things, the opposite of thinking (lack of thinking) MUST involve some kind of “disconnect”.
Let’s look at some lack-of-thinking that breaks (attacks?) the connections above:
• Marriage and sex have nothing to do with each other. If you want sex, just do it: This disconnect results in treating others as objects among many other societal ills, such as unwanted pregnancies, STD’s and an unknowable amount of emotional pain.
• Marriage and having children have nothing to do with each other. If you want a baby, find a partner somehow or go to a sperm bank:  This disconnect results in the break down of the family unit.
• Sex and children are not necessarily connected. The purpose of sex is pleasure, children are an optional byproduct. A pregnancy (side effect) can be terminated as a personal choice: This disconnect results in legalized murder.
• Male and Female? That doesn’t mean anything. Love is love regardless of what genders are involved: This disconnect results in an unintelligible definition of marriage.
In an age of internet surfing, texting and tweets we are getting good at looking at many different things very quickly, but in a shallow way. We are losing the ability to dig deeper to see how ideas link up. We lose the big picture. We lose the connections. Thinking is indeed connecting things.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton
English Writer
1874 - 1936


  1. This only works for things that are human in origin (with a tiny number of exceptions in the animal kingdom).

    It is also very bad practice as it leads to muddled thinking and is anthropocentric to a painful degree, e.g. What is a rainbow 'for'?

    You also seem to posit a crazy literal creation view (intentionally or otherwise). The Catholic Church accepts evolution so it would not go Male>>Female it would go asexual>>sexual and even that is only slightly true, and it certainly doesn't have a purpose just an effect(iveness).

    1. The connections of God, Male, Female, Marriage, etc. relate more to what is known as Theology of the Body than any sort of physical evolution. VERY briefly, we believe that God exist as a trinity and that the love between the Father & the Son eternally generates a 3rd person called the Holy Spirit. We also believe man was created in the image & likeness of God, so the connection becomes…….. Man exists as male & female and the love between the two generates a 3rd person called a child.

      If mans “love” is to be like Gods, it would be of free will, permanent, faithful & fruitful (like marriage should be).