QUESTION: Over recent months I have seen, in four separate and unrelated journals, Chesterton’s “Some things are too big to be seen.” Did he say it? Do you know where he said it?
ANSWER: This is a paradox Chesterton returned to a number of times:
“Men can always be blind to a thing so long as it is big enough.” “The Story of the Vow,” The Superstition of Divorce
“A thing can be hid by being big.” Illustrated London News, 7 December, 1907
“An outline can focus what often seems formless and sprawling through being too large to be seen.” Cobbett, 57
“‘Perhaps the weapon was too big to be noticed,’ said the priest with an odd little giggle.” – Father Brown: “The Three Tools of Death”
“A thing can sometimes be too close to be seen.” Father Brown: “The Song of the Flying Fish”
“Mr. Pond, do tell us what you mean by a man being too tall to be seen.” “A Tall Story,” The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond
There are undoubtedly many more instances.