In "The Dagger with Wings" by G. K. Chesterton, Mr Aylmer was talking to Father Brown, trying to convince him by mesmerism

Don’t you feel in your heart that these contradictions do not really contradict: that there is a cosmos that contains them all? The soul goes round upon a wheel of stars and all things return; perhaps Strake and I have striven in many shapes, beast against beast and bird against bird, and perhaps we shall strive for ever. But since we seek and need each other, even that eternal hatred is an eternal love. Good and evil go round in a wheel that is one thing and not many. Do you not realize in your heart, do you not believe behind all your beliefs, that there is but one reality and we are its shadows; and that all things are but aspects of one thing: a centre where men melt into Man and Man into God?”

Does "all things return" mean turn repeatedly on this wheel? And does "men melt into Man" mean "they melt to "humans" as I found that "Man" equal "humans". If so, it's supposed that men are humans already?! Or he means they melt into One man?!

1 Answer 1


What the man appears to be saying is that Mr. Aylmer and Mr. Strake may have been reborn or reincarnated, after having been other types of creatures in earlier lives (birds or other animals or both) and that they may have tried to kill each other in these previous lives. In other words, their struggle returns each time they are reborn. This appears to be how their souls returned, as if on a wheel.

It is not entirely clear what else would return according to this rather informally formulated theory. It is possible that the man is mixing various concepts, such as the above-mentioned reincarnation of the soul, time as a cyclical phenomenon (see the wheel of time), and good and evil being somehow interconnected and dependent on each other, like yin and yang in ancient Chinese philosophy.

When, in the last sentence, he says that "men melt[s] into Man and Man into God" he means that individual people somehow come together in the larger concept of Humanity and that this concept eventually becomes one with the concept of God.


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