....That publisher who thought that men would get on if they believe in themselves, those seekers after the Superman who are always looking for him in the looking-glass, the writers who talk about impressing their personalities instead of creating life for the world, all these people have really only an inch between them and this awful emptiness. Then when this kindly world all round the man has been blackened out like a lie; when friends fade into ghosts, and the foundations of the world fail; then when the man, believing in nothing and in no man, is alone in his own nightmare, then the great individualistic motto shall be written over him in avenging irony. The stars will be only dots in the blackness of his own brain; his mother's face will be only a sketch from his own insane pencil on the walls of his cell. But over his cell shall be written, with dreadful truth, 'He believes in himself.'"
As I read this, I was overwhelmed with the realization that not only do I see this to be extremely prevalent in my contemporaries but especially so in myself. Certainly God created us as unique individuals, each with his own set of talents and dispositions, but Chesterton here is addressing a core issue in our humanity, the intense gravitational pull of Self and the tendency to believe that when all else fades away I still have my independence. And it seems that independence isn't the only thing we hold so tightly to; no, that's only a fraction of it. Rather it's our seeming need to be significant, to contribute something, to be special, or as Chesterton puts it to be the 'Superman.'
There was only one Superman, and he was the most humble servant of all.