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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Marquis de Sade Revisited

Donatien Alphonse François de Sade

The drawing of the Marquis de Sade shows the intensity of madness, not intelligence. He rubs his hand and it stands out like a hand of glory, does it not? A hand of glory that persists in our imaginations, magick, magick limb!

I was reading The Maverick Philosopher:
Callicles as Precursor of De Sade
At Gorgias 492, tr. Helmbold, the divine Plato puts the following words into the mouth of Callicles:

A man who is going to live a full life must allow his desires to
become as mighty as may be and never repress them. When his
passions have come to full maturity, he must be able to serve them
through his courage and intelligence and gratify every fleeting
desire as it comes into his heart.

[. . .]

The truth, which you claim to pursue, Socrates, is really this:
luxury, license, and liberty, when they have the upper hand, are
really virtue, and happiness as well; everything else is a set of
fine terms, man-made conventions, warped against nature, a pack of
stuff and nonsense!

Now let us consider what the decidedly undivine Marquis de Sade has Mme. Delbene say in Julliette or Vice Amply Rewarded:

. . . I am going to dismiss this equally absurd and childish obligation which enjoins us not to do unto others that which unto us we would not have done. It is the precise contrary Nature recommends, since Nature's single precept is to enjoy oneself, at the expense of no matter whom...

To me, de Sade is the story of the wastrel French aristocracy before the Revolution, not philosophy. Only the wealthy would have the time and money to expend in endless debauchery, and only the perversely wealthy would seek to maintain a social inequality which allowed them to imprison the majority of the population in powerless squalor - the better position from which to abuse them.

The story repeats.

The film Spotlight which retold the Boston Globe's exposure of the Bishop of Boston's cover-up of abuse was all about predatory power and position, was it not? And the rising gap between the rich and the not-rich will lead us into a future of even newer perversions concocted by our new technologies and philosophies, will it not?

The post ends:
The natural man, in the grip of his lusts, is a natural sophist: what can be done is eo ipso permissible to do. Reason in a philosopher without God easily becomes unhinged.

And we have been here recently. Eo Ipso - by that very fact - that is, by the very fact that something may be done implies necessarily that it is permissible to do that something. Not that it should be done, but it may be done without crime. (I am not clear on the concept "natural man", but I believe it is a topic much delved into by those heavy with the grey-matter.)

The very fact that one may abuse or rape, that one may wage wars based on funky ideologies, that one may cut down rain forests or pollute the waterways for profit... the fact that these things are possible have made them become legitimate pursuits in our present society over the past century or longer.

We are the heedless aristocrats.
It reminds me of the film The Aristocrats: an insane repetition of scatology......


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