2008-01-28 • Volume 2 • Issue 4

A Sadean Eucharist

I closed the first part of this series with the diagnosis that our warped morality, our moral sense, has as its basis Judeo-Christianity. More specifically, in the Beatitudes which most seem to take as beautiful expression, a utopic vision even, where justice prevails, riding cavalier, next to the image of a loving god, on the white horse with the red cross. No, this image is not a farce, though the thought of it could very well evoke laughter.

Blessed are the poor… Blessed are the meek… How could we have been taken into the web? What force was strong enough to wrap us in a theological chokehold of, if it is permitted to say this, divine proportions? Surely not the priest, who is, like the village idiot, no more than an attraction worthy of passing attention, a good laugh even, so long as no one is looking, and no one is ever looking, not even in the house of god. Surely not the irresistible logic of the arguments, for there are none, and there is no logic capable of sustaining so light a purpose (light only in the sense that it floats, far above the heads of the ordinary man who nods in assent). So we must look inward and not attempt to fool ourselves by saying that we live by these merry sayings. We must look inward and ask ourselves what or whom compels us to assert what otherwise seems outright false as absolutely true.

And here the Christian, who never finds himself far away from these discussions for he is attracted to them, as if by an invisible force (The hand of god, perhaps? I do not feign myself so important.), is quick to say that god compels us. To the merry faces in the choir there is no better answer. Of course god compels us to believe these things. But we who are afflicted with the philosophical disease, with the rebellious mind, stare blankly at the wall, dumbfounded by the explanation. “So it is god,” we think, that compels us to believe in godliness. By what virtue? By the virtue of a soul, which amongst other things has inscribed within it a moral sense. The entire account, has, by this point, grown so fantastic so as to be hardly worthy of serious consideration. And if it were added that the entire thing, top to bottom, traced a strange logical circle, we should explode in a fit of laughter.

H. Biberstein in L’Oeuvre du Marquis de Sade, Guillaume Appolinaire, Bibliotheque des Curieux, Paris, 1912

But enough of that. The poor man is not the good man. The meek man is not the good man. It is only by a terribly colored lens that it could seem otherwise. It is only by some strange desire for a transcendental justice in which suffering here translates into happiness there (which is to say by a misplaced, naïve empathy) that poverty and meekness are made into positive values. To see our hypocrisy in this matter it takes no more than to see that these values are positive only as transcendental values. We do not reward the poor man here. We do not reward the meek man here. No, we, in a play of what can best be called religious trickery, reward him there, in a metaphysical wonderland that seems so, so far away. We can smell the internal inconsistency of our belief, and our actions speak to this effect. Why not reward the poor and the meek? They shall have their own reward. Ha!

I propose we build a religion around a different man. One much more human, much more, shall I say, down to earth with our values, someone who can understand us, who will listen to our exploits in the confessional and urge us on. Let us replace our Jesus (a wonderful character, yes, but a little outdated) with the Marquis de Sade. If ever there was a character more in touch with out unfettered individualism (and please, no matter what we may say in public, as if the public space was somehow privileged, we are, at heart, individualists of the supreme sort; we are a culture obsessed with the individual, with the original). It was him, and the time has come to repay our historic dues. From the Marquis we shall take our individualism, the bitter anti-Hegelian synthesis bought with a consuming power, a totalizing force of will. The Marquis will storm St. Peter’s, he will storm the Hagia Sophia. Shall we exchange Mark for Justine, the letters of Paul for Philosophy in the Bedroom? Why not?

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