7 Pages


ByAlan Jacobs

To Gradgrind's Benthamite arguments Sleary has no response except to continue the circus's performances, and merely to say, as he does more than once, 'People mutht be amuthed', which is not an argument but a kind of imperative declaration: Sleary politely refuses to enter the dialectical arena where Gradgrind brandishes his Benthamite weaponry, but instead contents himself with doing something else and proclaiming that he is doing something else. Sleary, then, is an evangelist of play, a notion requiring reflection. Sleary's formulation, love 'hath ith own way of calculating or not calculating', is better, acknowledging as it does that whereas love can be freely and indiscriminately bestowed it also possesses its own 'calculating' logic of exchange and reciprocity that, however inaccessible to Cartesian or utilitarian schemes of rationality, is a logic nonetheless. This is the point of Pascal's much-abused phrase 'the heart has its reasons which the reason cannot know', and it is Sleary's point, too.