Marquis_de_Sade

Sapsuckers
Salved
Sadie’s
Sockets
on
Hawkin’s Day!

“Of all the writers and thinkers of the 18th century, Sade was among the few to gaze, without flinching, into the worst of human nature, in particular the capacity of inflicting want, pain and destruction upon others” -Geoffrey Roche

I take exception to two elements of the academic Roche’s statement.

In the first instance, it is the idea Sade had any equal as a French philosopher during his age. As much as I might appreciate Montaigne:

“The women are right in their way of breaking the rules, because men made them without asking women”

Or Voltaire:

“The history of the great events of this world are scarcely more than a history of crime”

Sade exceeds both; in his unvarnished, unflinching depiction of European cultural mentality and straightforward determination to unmask this necrotic social phenomena for what it is. The second instance I take exception to, is the descriptive term “human nature.” What Sade explored as a philosopher is NOT ‘human nature‘ but the underpinnings of a social and cultural mentality more specific to Europeans and their several progeny via colonialism. I am not aware of a more endemic ethnocentric bias than that of European based culture and that culture’s academics. That Europeans somehow believe their mentality and ability to perceive ‘human nature’ is in some sense exclusive is not the point of the essay on Sade; but this prejudice is helpful to understand how Sade fits in the  ‘pantheon’ of Western philosophy.

In short, Sade was the result of a convergence of circumstance; his father was a diplomat, as well, a debauched-orgy-engaged nobleman in the court of Louis XV. The younger Sade was educated in his early years by his uncle, a debauched-orgy-engaged abbot and then young Sade, a disciplinary problem, was turned over to the Jesuits to be educated further. Let’s put this into a bit of perspective:

^ From this (above) to Lycée Louis-le-Grand run by these people:

In other words; from the governing institution of France in all of its decadent, orgiastic splendor, to education at the institution responsible for producing a ruling class of people resulting in persons like Sade’s ‘uncle abbot’ who’d introduced him to orgies as a six year old. Immersed in sex already, the Jesuits introduced Sade to extreme violence with flogging for purpose of discipline. By the time de Sade was an adolescent, he’d been immersed in sex and violence, for years.

What makes de Sade interesting is not the cruelty he inspired people to explore more or less openly in subsequent generations, but the institutional cruelty he explored, fearlessly, and the institutional cruelty he consequently described, honestly. ‘Institutional’ is the key term here. He beat Linda Blair (‘The Exorcist’) by two hundred years with introducing the crucifix into sex acts in media, perhaps the most accurate metaphor for the institution of Christian civilization, ever.

De Sade was imprisoned for much of his life for that peculiar crime of exposing his culture’s hypocrisy. He openly practiced what is only allowed to be practiced behind closed doors; making him France’s greatest philosopher .. insofar as those speaking to the facts honestly.

*

Perverts of Western Philosophy

The Satires