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Related: Marquis de Sade - Sadean literature - Sadean cinema


Of or relating to Marquis De Sade or his writings.

Sadean Philosophy

Important concepts in Sadean philosophy

(1) NATURE – The early eighteenth century developed an idealistic and prescriptive notion of Nature as a state in which mankind once dwelt in perfect innocence, with abundant food, no private property, and no fear of violence. According to the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who strongly urged men and women “to get back to Nature,” it is society that has created all our problems. – In Nature there is no private property according to Rousseau; everything was shared. Consequently, if we go back to this Edenic state, violence will disappear. – Rousseau’s concept of nature is still sustained in popular culture today: e.g. “It’s better in the Bahamas” (travel ads); holistic medicine; natural food movement; New Age etc. – Sade agreed wholeheartedly with Rousseau that living in a natural state is preferable to enduring the violence and poverty and repression of living in society. – The big difference between them: Sade did not view Nature as an idyllic state but rather as a violent jungle where every organism must fight to the death for survival. – The Sadean version of going back to Nature involves getting in touch with our basic needs and then defying all social taboos in order to satisfy them.

(2) SOCIETY – For Sade, as for Rousseau, society is basically bad because its laws, customs, and dictates serve to prevent us from returning to Nature. – Sade taught that if one rejects society, one selfishly decides to maximize pleasure through the satisfaction of needs (eating, sleeping, having sex) regardless of whatever prohibitions have been socially imposed on us: e.g. the incest taboo. – 1789: outbreak of the French Revolution in which French society, especially in Paris, dismantled itself and endeavored to recreate itself in accordance with the laws of “Reason” and “Nature”. Sade wrote his Philosophy in the Bedroom during this tumultuous period, and its defiant tone reflects the impact of “Libertine” thought on the radical agendas of the day. – Les libertins: best translated in English as “Intellectual Freedom-Fighters”: a group of thinkers among whom Sade is now the most famous, but it’s important to realize that Sade was not the only man in society who was thinking “bad thoughts” in an organized anti-social way. – Les libertins used “Nature” (which was ironically a cultural construct!) as their ultimate point of reference in judging human sexual and social behaviour. – Les libertins espoused a combination of primitive anarchism and unapologetic atheism, urging their fellow revolutionaries to agree with them that humanity has to destroy everything in order to recreate the social “order” on the model of Nature

(3) GOD – As a libertine philosopher, Sade removed God from the political structure. In the old regime of France, God was conceived as the top of the social pyramid. Immediately below him was the King, who presided over the Nobility and the Clergy, and beneath them were the Bourgeoisie (middle class) and the Peasants. From the old viewpoint, to attack God was tantamount to attacking the whole society. – If God didn’t link us all together, what did? Well, Nature did of course; but more specifically the sexual impulse drove us – often violently – into each other’s clutches. – Sade therefore focused his philosophical attention on violent sexuality as the most effective context in which to stage a revolt against God (or the “false” outmoded concept of God) through the defiance of the Church and all its teachings, especially Christian sexual morality.

(4) CRIME – committing of sexual crimes such as rape, sodomy, incest, orgiastic sacrifices, etc. was advocated by Sade in his writings not as an end in itself (though from an individual’s viewpoint the gratification of perverse pleasures was certainly a justifiable end) but as a means to furthering his political agenda, which was to collapse the social pyramid into an anti-social, individualistic “anything goes” state of Nature. – accordingly, his erotic writings alternate long descriptions of violent fornication with long passages of philosophical debate and dialogue among the libertines. The erotic activities of the libertines become illustrations of Sade’s revolutionary political/social philosophy. – hence his obsession with the most transgressive/criminal sexual acts: e.g. sodomy, which hedonistically defies the Church’s rule that the only permissible form of intercourse is procreative and vaginal. – The finale of Philosophy in the Bedroom: Eugenie organizes a “scene” in which her mother is raped and sodomized by a syphilitic valet. Her mother’s pudenda are then sewn up in order to “contain” the infection within her body. This violent criminal act is presented to the reader as an illustration of the Libertines’ philosophy. --http://www.uwo.ca/pridelib/clc023/note42.htm, accessed Feb 2004

see also: Sadean Philosophies, Giovanni Pistachio, http://home.clara.net/raydav/paradisecinema_sadephilos.html, [Jan 2005]

Sadean on Jahsonic.com, Feb 2004

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