Tuesday, 8 October 2013

BENTHAMISM.

-The other day, speaking, without prior purpose that way, of Bentham's theory of man and man's life, I chanced to call it a more beggarly one than Mahomet's. I am bound to say, now when it is once uttered, that such is my deliberate opinion. Not that one would mean offence against the man Jeremy Bentham, or those who respect and believe him. Bentham himself, and even the creed of Bentham, seems to me comparatively worthy of praise. It is a determinate being what all the world, in a cowardly half and half manner, was tending to be. Let us have the crisis; we shall either have death or the cure. I call this gross, steam engine utilitarianism an approach towards new faith. It was a laying down of cant; a saying to one's self—" Well, then, this world is a dead, iron machine, the god of it gravitation and selfish hunger; let us see what, by checking and balancing, and good adjustment of tooth and pinion, can be made of it." Benthamism has something complete, manful, in such fearless committal of itself to what it finds true; you may call it heroic, though a heroism with its eyes put out. It is the culminating point, and fearless ultimatum, of what lay in the half and half state, pervading man's whole existence in that eighteenth century. It seems to me, all deniers of Godhood, and all lip believers of it, are bound to be Benthamites, if they have courage and honesty. Benthamism is an eyeless heroism; the human species, like a hapless, blinded Samson, grinding in the Philistine mill, clasps convulsively the pillars of its mill ; brings huge ruin down, but ultimately deliverance withal.—Carlyle's Heroes.

Australasian Chronicle 15 January 1842, 

No comments: