I mention 62 as it is a notable number: not because it is one more than the standard number of keys on a pipe organ, but it was GKC's age when he died. Ahem. It is not the number, but the quality, the truly Chestertonian - and yes, scholastic - tone of argumentation - the courtesy, the care to distinguo (I distinguish) and the more important care to be humble and to be respectful - this is an amazing achievement.
There were several points I felt inclined to respond to, but I think it better to give some additional tools - that is, let Chesterton have more of a say. Certainly, it appears that we could have a very spirited study of WWWTW - if that is desired , but let us reserve comment for that in another posting. The topics of Woman (writ large as Fr. Jaki liked to put it) and of Man - and of Education - are very important ones for us, and deserve our careful study and our honest discussion.
But for today, the feast of St. Bernard (1090-1153), the great Doctor of Clairvaux, I shall merely give a few excerpts froj Chesterton to assist the discussion. One non-Chestertonian thing I must point out - the question of the "ideal university" was raised - I strongly urge you to read Newman's The Idea of a University - which deserves a blogg or two to itself. (Yes, I meant BLOGG, not posting. It is exceedingly rich and a very important and powerful book.) I say it is non-Chestertonian only because it was written before he was born - but it is most Chestertonian in its import - or perhaps I ought to say GKC is most Newmanian. Someday perhaps someone will give us a study of the link between them.
Now, let us just consider a handful of quotes to aid (or stimulate) the discussion:
It is obvious that this cool and careless quality which is essential to the collective affection of males involves disadvantages and dangers. It leads to spitting; it leads to coarse speech; it must lead to these things so long as it is honorable; comradeship must be in some degree ugly. The moment beauty is mentioned in male friendship, the nostrils are stopped with the smell of abominable things. Friendship must be physically dirty if it is to be morally clean. It must be in its shirt sleeves. The chaos of habits that always goes with males when left entirely to themselves has only one honorable cure; and that is the strict discipline of a monastery. Anyone who has seen our unhappy young idealists in East End Settlements losing their collars in the wash and living on tinned salmon will fully understand why it was decided by the wisdom of St. Bernard or St. Benedict, that if men were to live without women, they must not live without rules. Something of the same sort of artificial exactitude, of course, is obtained in an army; and an army also has to be in many ways monastic; only that it has celibacy without chastity. But these things do not apply to normal married men. These have a quite sufficient restraint on their instinctive anarchy in the savage common-sense of the other sex. There is only one very timid sort of man that is not afraid of women.
[GKC WWWTW CW4:96]
What exactly is liberty? First and foremost, surely, it is the power of a thing to be itself.
[GKC "The Yellow Bird" in The Poet and the Lunatics]
To return to the Cyclostyle. I like the Cyclostyle ink; it is so inky. I do not think there is anyone who takes quite such a fierce pleasure in things being themselves as I do. The startling wetness of water excites and intoxicates me: the fieriness of fire, the steeliness of steel, the unutterable muddiness of mud. It is just the same with people.... When we call a man "manly" or a woman "womanly" we touch the deepest philosophy.
[GKC letter to Frances Blogg July 8 1899 quoted in Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton 108-9]
It is not in any such spirit of facile and reckless reassurance that we should approach the really difficult problem of the delicate virtues and the deep dangers of our two historic seats of learning. A good son does not easily admit that his sick mother is dying; but neither does a good son cheerily assert that she is "all right." There are many good arguments for leaving the two historic Universities exactly as they are. There are many good arguments for smashing them or altering them entirely. But in either case the plain truth told by the Bishop of Birmingham remains. If these Universities were destroyed, they would not be destroyed as Universities. If they are preserved, they will not be preserved as Universities. They will be preserved strictly and literally as playgrounds; places valued for their hours of leisure more than for their hours of work. I do not say that this is unreasonable; as a matter of private temperament I find it attractive. It is not only possible to say a great deal in praise of play; it is really possible to say the highest things in praise of it. It might reasonably be maintained that the true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground. To be at last in such secure innocence that one can juggle with the universe and the stars, to be so good that one can treat everything as a joke - that may be, perhaps, the real end and final holiday of human souls. When we are really holy we may regard the Universe as a lark; so perhaps it is not essentially wrong to regard the University as a lark. But the plain and present fact is that our upper classes do regard the University as a lark, and do not regard it as a University.
[GKC ILN Aug 17 1907 CW27:532-3]
...the differences between a man and a woman are at the best so obstinate and exasperating that they practically cannot be got over unless there is an atmosphere of exaggerated tenderness and mutual interest. To put the matter in one metaphor, the sexes are two stubborn pieces of iron; if they are to be welded together, it must be while they are red-hot. Every woman has to find out that her husband is a selfish beast, because every man is a selfish beast by the standard of a woman. But let her find out the beast while they are both still in the story of "Beauty and the Beast". Every man has to find out that his wife is cross - that is to say, sensitive to the point of madness: for every woman is mad by the masculine standard. But let him find out that she is mad while her madness is more worth considering than anyone else's sanity.
This is not a digression. The whole value of the normal relations of man and woman lies in the fact that they first begin really to criticise each other when they first begin really to admire each other. And a good thing, too. I say, with a full sense of the responsibility of the statement, that it is better that the sexes should misunderstand each other until they marry. It is better that they should not have the knowledge until they have the reverence and the charity. We want no premature and puppyish "knowing all about girls". We do not want the highest mysteries of a Divine distinction to be understood before they are desired, and handled before they are understood. That which Mr. Shaw calls the Life Force, but for which Christianity has more philosophical terms, has created this early division of tastes and habits for that romantic purpose, which is also the most practical of all purposes. Those whom God has sundered, shall no man join.
[GKC "Two Stubborn Pieces of Iron" in The Common Man 142-3]