December 20, 2004

Marquis de Sade: nature rules, okay

PortraitsdeSade1.jpgI have to admit being suprised that the Marquis de Sade worked within, and accepted, the mechanistic French materialist precursors to physicalism.

So how you go from a deterministic world of physical particles in motion to the passions ruling the body, perversions, violence, and the subjugation and humiliation of women of de Sade's philosophy in the bedroom?

There is no morality in the mechanistic world, and no freedom, as human beings cannot act otherwise to their nature. Or the body unfree and freedom is the imagination?

Are we not ruled by the dark forces of nature? Or is it a case of being ruled by our desires? It is our desires that lead to sexual violence and mutilation. Is it a case of getting back to Nature giving free rein to sexual violence and lust?

Is that not a Christian way of understanding sexual desire, violence and human nature? On this account, the free reign of lust means without any moral inhibitions.That means exalting evil as virtue.

Presumably de Sade would have to hold that we are governed by our nature (and Nature). As there is little we can do about it, therefore we should simply enjoy life to the full, whatever his intrinsic nature dictates, as to do otherwise is to deny our nature. We can only exhibit and enjoy to the full our natural desires when we are freed from all moral and social restraints. So Nature determines that I enjoy myself, no matter at whose expense.

Since moral conscience is a reflection of prejudices and codes inculcated by training and upbringing, then the conscience needs to be destroyed.Freedom, then, is the absence of external obstacles.

So those who deny their darker desires and natures and try to be moral and virtuous are the ones most likely to behave badly, while the people who are socially condemned as immoral because they give free expresion to their dark desires who often display true virtue. The former live their lives within a rigid moralism and behavioral codes and have a supercilious social pretense. These paragons of society -- the priests and moral straightners -- act behind the facade of their pious sanctity to perform the cruelest, most despicable acts, sexual and otherwise.

That is de Sade is it not? Justine, suffers for her virtue, while her sister Juliette profits through debauchery. Justine is punished for her virtues - chastity, piety, charity, compassion, prudence, the refusal to do evil, and the love of goodness and truth.

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at December 20, 2004 08:54 PM | TrackBack
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