An Interpretation of Sade’s work by David Coward

If pity is weakness, love is pride, and illusion, for desire is the effect of sensual stimulation. Individuals can love each other only in the sense that they love raspberries. Sex is an appetite and an end in itself. Procreation is not a priority of Nature. If it were, women would not live past the child-bearing age. Moreover, if all the seeds that are planted were to grow, far too many molecules would be removed from Nature’s reprocessing requirements. Nature thus assumes a level of wastage and Sade was able to argue that lesbianism and homosexuality are crimes only in a social sense, as indeed incest, prostitution, and perversion of all kinds. They are natural phenomenon and have physical causes and a prior cosmic justification.

No one is accountable for his drives and all are free to follow them: Sade’s goal is freedom without responsibility. Yet the philosophy of anarchic individualism is flawed. Sade’s model for human nature was a solitary, natural man who is defined solely in terms of pathological drives. It did not occur to him that human beings are social animals and that the concern for others is no less natural that love of self.

[I would like to imagine that Sade was a reluctant misanthrope. He tried to justify his goal of freedom without responsibility and his solitude by telling himself that nobody cared much about him, so why should he bother so much about them? And all the more he was spurned to do the things he did. –written 10th.March 2006, transcribed 30th.October 2009)

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