Sadean Philosophies, Essay
by Giovanni Pistachio.
This is a not so short essay about the philosophies of the Marquis De Sade that made it into the 1977 British adaptation of his novel Justine, Cruel Passion. And what relevance that they may have to life today.
There is a constant battle in the film between what nature desires people to do and what the church tries to command them to do, as there is in the novel. Justine blames herself for other peoples desire of her, blames their desire for her on her own virtue and beauty. She believes that with all the misfortunes that befall her, it is such a struggle against vice that she is constantly confronted by, that her struggle to hold onto her virtue may be futile. That she shall succumb to vice, whether hers or someone else’s one day soon.
Justine’s vice ridden elder sister, Juliette, throughout the film raises the argument of nature against Religion. Where the traits of our personalities or peccadillo’s, are given to us by nature, and that what the church would rather have Justine, Juliette and every one else do, is against this nature. The Sadean belief that a person should follow the path that their nature dictates, whether that be so called “vice or virtue”, rather than an emotionless, (except in relation to god) celibate, detached, devout life of one who follows the rules of the church, and lives the life of a follower of god. All of which are contradictory to the values and desires believed given to us by nature.
“Frenchmen, only strike the initial blows; your state education will then see to the rest. Get promptly to the task of training the youth, it must be amongst your important concerns; above all, build their education upon a sound ethical basis, the ethical basis that was so neglected in your religious education. Rather than fatigue your children’s young organs with deific stupidities, replace them with excellent social principles; instead of teaching them futile prayers which, by the time they are sixteen, the will glory in having forgotten, let them be instructed in their duties toward society; train them to cherish the virtues you scarcely ever mentioned in former things and which, without your religious fables, are sufficient for their individual happiness; make them sense that this happiness consists in rendering others as fortunate as we desire to be ourselves. If you repose these truths upon Christian chimeras, as you so foolishly used to do, scarcely will your pupils have detected the absurd futility of its foundations than they will overthrow the entire edifice, and they will become bandits for the simple reason they believe the religion they have toppled forbids them to be bandits. On the other hand, if you make them sense the necessity of virtue, uniquely because their happiness depends upon it, egoism will turn them into honest people, and this law which dictates their behaviour to men will always be the surest, the soundest of all. Let there then be the most scrupulous care taken to avoid mixing religious fantasies into this state education. Never lose sight of the fact that it is free men we wish to form, not the wretched worshipers of a god. Let a simple philosopher introduce these new pupils to the inscrutable but wonderful sublimities of nature; let him proves to them that awareness of a god, often highly dangerous to men, never contributed to their happiness, and that they will not be happier for acknowledging as a cause of what they do not understand, something they will understand even less; that it is far less essential to inquire into the workings of nature than to enjoy her and obey her laws; that these laws are as wise as they are simple; that they are written in the hearts of all men; and that it is but necessary to interrogate that heart to discern its impulse. If they wish absolutely that you speak to them of a creator, answer that things always having been what now they are, never having had a beginning and never going to have an end, it thus becomes as useless as impossible for man to be able to trace things back to an imaginary origin which would explain nothing and do not a jot of good. Tell them that men are incapable of obtaining true notions of a being who does not make his influence felt on one of our senses.”
Marquis De Sade: –
Philosophy In The Bedroom, “Yet another effort, Frenchmen if you would become republicans”: RELIGION
Juliette has had no misfortunes befall her while she has trodden the path of vice, embraced libertinage with open arms, and followed her belief that debauchery leads to felicity. Whereas Justine holding tightly to her virtue has led her to nothing but torments including murder, rape theft, unhappiness and death. Justine has had it pounded into her head by the church that this virtue in a woman is contained within a thin membrane of skin inside the woman’s vagina. An even more absurd idea today than De Sade thought it to be in his.
Bonny, the head of the quartet of criminals in the film relates the belief to Justine that the impoverished would show the wealthy more kindness, if the wealthy would show them more coin. And so another Sadean philosophy makes it into the film, the idea that, for what reason should a poor person not steal from a rich person, as this law and idea is of benefit to no one but the rich. It is of no benefit whatsoever to the poor. And what kindness are the poor shown for their heartfelt consideration of the coffers of the wealthy classes?
“God forbid that I should here wish to assail the pledge to respect property the nation has just given; but will I be permitted some remarks upon the injustice of this pledge? What is the spirit of the vow taken by all a nation’s individuals? Is it not to maintain a perfect equality amongst citizens, to subject them all equally to the law protecting the possessions of all? Well, I ask you now whether that law is truly just, which orders a man who has nothing to respect another who has everything? What are the elements of the social contract? Does it not consist in one’s yielding a little of his freedom and his wealth in order to assure and sustain the preservation of each?
Upon those foundations all the laws repose; they justify the punishments inflicted upon him who abuses his liberty; in the same way, they authorize the imposition of conditions; these latter prevent a citizen from protesting when these things are demanded of him, because he knows that by means of what he gives, the rest of what he has is safeguarded for him; but, once again, by what right will he who has nothing be enchained by an agreement which protects only him who has everything?”
Marquis De Sade: –
Philosophy In The Bedroom, “Yet another effort, Frenchmen if you would become republicans”: MANNERS
These quotes are included at such length for the process of education, equality and rational thinking. You may ask what relevance do they have to your life today? Well in today’s world where these things are often ignored. Take for example a holidaying United Kingdom up in arms at the fact that Frenchmen, who are out in anger, mad at the soaring price of fuel in their country, deciding to block the roads have disrupted their holidays. And the contrast of Scotland having a “Dump the Pump Day”, which was an almost totally useless exercise where all people did was fill their cars with more fuel the day before, and still pay the same high price for it. What effect did dump the pump day have on anybody I ask you?
Or the example of a government obsessed with email and the Internet. Trying to give everyone access to these facilities when they should be putting both their time and money into trying to fill out the chasms which exist in the UK’s education system, between the upper classes and the working classes. Instead of trying to fob people off with the half arsed education facility that is the Internet. And trying to make people believe that because their government has fought to give them access to this technology, that the lives of all UK residents are more equal. While of course the working classes still live in crumbling, walls blackened with damp, and health diminishing, sometimes-inhabitable housing. Or that their children will still be sent to a school, and crammed 30 or more to a class, where teachers have little time or encouragement to give to pupils that may not be as quick on the uptake as some others.
Even more frightening is the fact that that great pacifier in the corner of your lounge will keep you sitting in front of it even more when they give you Internet and email access through it. Trying to convince you to sit in front of it for longer. Do your shopping from it, and book your holiday from it, that your pitifully low paid job, where you are given what they think is a good minimum wage level, struggles to pay for. Creating an environment where less and less normal, healthy human beings are conned into leaving their houses less and less. Not stepping across their door, not participating in anything resembling a community, and most importantly of all (for your Government) not making any protest whatsoever about anything in your country, like education, health, housing, minimum wage, winter fuel, or god forbid equality. And certainly not the soaring prices of consumable’s that give you no value for money whatsoever. Mobile phones that the industry will try to get you to replace every four months or so. Stereo, CD, DVD and Video equipment that works perfectly well but within a few years they will bring out a new item and you are expected to replace all your tapes, CD’s, LP’s with mini-disks or MP3 players, or your year old DVD player with a recordable DVD player. Which again will be replaced in five or ten year’s time. And who reimburses you for all these tapes, LP’s, Videos, DVD’s, CD’s and laser discs? No one! And who profits? Not you that is for sure. The sound you get from a CD is almost perfect, so why replace it? If it aint broke why fix it? Whereas the technology industry’s motto seems to, be if it works replace it. Who profits? Multinational manufacturing organizations, which most of the population of the world does not work for. Tell them you want a refund on all your CD’s tapes, LP’s and videos, before you convert to their DVD or recordable DVD, MP3 players, or mini-disk systems. Don’t give them your hard-earned minimum wage so freely friends. Do not let them replace the education system of your children with the Internet. Or the chasm between the lives and lifestyles of the upper classes and the working classes will become wider than it already is. Education is the weapon of the working classes to help them fight for a better life for themselves and for their children, use it! What’s it all about? It’s all about control, they wan’t to control, and we don’t have the freedom if they do!
If you think I am being a little paranoid, explore other people who think that all these things are possible, and not far off.
George Orwells’ “1984”, where the mottoes of the controlling power are “Slavery is Freedom and War is Peace” and where reading a book that they decide is not allowed is a punishable offense.
Aldous Huxleys’ “Brave New World” where a government sanctioned gram of dope is better than using a swear word, or getting angry, and where, if something is not working you are told it is better to replace it than get it fixed.
Ray Bradburys’ ” Fahrenheit 451″, where the firemen go around the country setting fire to collections of books that people are hiding, as reading is illegal, because heaven forbid that you should be allowed to read something that has not been propagandized into you by your government.
Even a viewing of the film adaptations of these books will give a good idea of the things talked about above, but it would always be recommended by Paradise Cinema, to read the book also.
By Giovanni Pistachio. Giovanni can be contacted through: –
© Owned Giovanni Pistachio.