Re: Violence – Let’s be intellectually honest, for a change… shall we?

Fernando Botero - Abu Ghraib

Fernando Botero – Abu Ghraib

Re: Violence – Let’s be intellectually honest, for a change… shall we?

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” ~ Saint Paul (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

Until we realize the abuse which occurred (and is still occurring) at Abu Ghraib (and many other dungeons as well) was not the result of “a fews bad apples” but was in fact a celebration of sexual violence, torture, and murder – at the ontological level – we will never be free of the evils our “government” is perpetrating upon us, and upon the world.

The Abu Ghraib Prison Photos: http://www.antiwar.com/news/?articleid=2444

VIDEO – Joshua Casteel: “To Love One’s Enemies” - http://youtu.be/rM98TuV-RB0

“The Marquis de Sade produced graphic celebrations of sexual violence, incest, torture, and murder during a period that encompassed the end of the ancient regime, the French Revolution, and the reign of Napoleon. His most notorious works are a series of novels in which wealthy, powerful “libertines” systematically rape, torture, and kill an assortment of victims—primarily women and adolescents of both sexes—while articulating elaborate philosophical justifications for this behavior. Rejecting the existence of a Supreme Being, Sade posits a lawless and destructive Nature as the only rational guide to behavior; sexual cruelty and the will to power, being natural human impulses, should be fostered rather than discouraged. His reputation inspired the nineteenth-century psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing to attach the author’s name to the concept of sadism, sexual gratification through the infliction of pain on others.”

See: Marquis de Sade: http://www.enotes.com/marquis-de-sade-essays/sade-marquis-de

We, as a society, have a choice:

We can continue to “live” as we are now, which is to act according to our postmodern intellectual and moral guiding lights: Sade, Nietzsche, and Foucault… or we can act according to our traditional intellectual and moral guiding lights: God, Natural Law, and Dr. M.L. King.

The choice is ours.

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Concerning the dramatic contrast between the ethical theories of Dr. King and Frederick Nietzsche, the late Boston University professor Roger Shattuck has said,

“A succinct and unflinching answer to Nietzsche arose out of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s resolve to protect the civil rights struggle from the forces of radical black violence. In ‘Where Do We Go from Here?’—his 1967 Presidential address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference—King picks out as one of the great errors in history the interpretation of power and love as polar opposites and the association of power with violence. King cut to the core of the matter with a no-nonsense simplification:

‘It was this misinterpretation that caused Nietzsche, who was a philosopher of the will to power, to reject the Christian concept of love. It was this same misinterpretation which induced Christian theologians to reject the Nietzschean philosophy of the will to power in the name of the Christian idea of love. Now, we’ve got to get this thing right. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice.’ (A Testament of Hope, p. 247)

King was not just playing games with the words love and power. He was reaching back to a series of his own earlier readings (above all, in Paul Tillich) and writings and to his experience as intellectual and tactical leader of the civil rights movement. ‘To get this thing right’ meant to King an appeal to a long-mediated and carefully defined philosophic position: the philosophy of non-violence . . . These two prophets, Nietzsche and King, confront us with a continuing struggle between power and justice that no thinking person can responsibly turn away from” (Roger Shattuck, Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography; p. 303).

Marquis de Sade – Our Postmodern Intellectual and Moral Guiding Light

Marquis de Sade

To read the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) is disorienting, intimidating, exciting, frightening and ultimately exhilirating. “The opposite of his readers,” wrote Octavio Paz, “Sade has an iron will…” Meaning, Sade is not only something you read, it’s something you withstand and endure, a battle of wills with the reader squaring off against the divine Marquis. If you can’t read Sade to the end, you lose — and somehow even if you do, you still lose. It’s like playing chicken with a bulldozer: if you run away, you’re a coward, but if you don’t, you’re a fool — a dead fool at that.

Marquis de Sade Electronic Library: http://supervert.com/elibrary/marquis_de_sade/

Forbidden Knowledge

An interview with Roger Shattuck

By Richard Abowitz

You argue against banning books like Marquis de Sade’s or Camus’ The Stranger, and you call instead for better critics to interpret and present those books. You suggest the problem is not the art, but the critics who are interpreting it.

Exactly. I do not favor the Marquis de Sade, but I’m not for banning him. What I’m against is the rehabilitation of the Marquis de Sade as a cultural hero, a great philosopher or a major writer who should be taught even to undergraduates. This to me is just an incapacity to judge what literature is or to understand what the capacities of education are. Yes, a good number of people can read this and it will not have much effect on them. But it is a traumatic experience for some people, which I compare in the book to watching an operation for the first time, or going into combat. To read a book so hideously cruel as the Marquis de Sade is going to have a deleterious effect on some individuals. And we should worry about that.

Do you think this is because of the limits of de Sade’s talent, or is there something in the extreme transgressive writing de Sade does that weakens its aesthetic value? Can a major writer or philosopher hold the positions that de Sade holds?

Well, that’s a pretty subtle question. I would hope that the kind of monstrosity, violence and cruel sexuality that de Sade preaches would by itself disqualify a person as a writer.

But I don’t think these are automatically mutually exclusive. So far, I don’t think any great writer, not just with style but with a moral vision—that’s a part I think of the greatness of a writer—has undertaken to occupy the same ground as the Marquis de Sade.

Forbidden Knowledge – An interview with Roger Shattuck: http://www.gadflyonline.com/archive/May98/archive-shattuck.html

Marquis de Sade

Fernando Botero - Abu Ghraib

Fernando Botero – Abu Ghraib

INTRODUCTION

The Marquis de Sade produced graphic celebrations of sexual violence, incest, torture, and murder during a period that encompassed the end of the ancient regime, the French Revolution, and the reign of Napoleon. His most notorious works are a series of novels in which wealthy, powerful “libertines” systematically rape, torture, and kill an assortment of victims—primarily women and adolescents of both sexes—while articulating elaborate philosophical justifications for this behavior. Rejecting the existence of a Supreme Being, Sade posits a lawless and destructive Nature as the only rational guide to behavior; sexual cruelty and the will to power, being natural human impulses, should be fostered rather than discouraged. His reputation inspired the nineteenth-century psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing to attach the author’s name to the concept of sadism, sexual gratification through the infliction of pain on others.

See: Marquis de Sade: http://www.enotes.com/marquis-de-sade-essays/sade-marquis-de

Fernando Botero - Abu Ghraib

Fernando Botero – Abu Ghraib

Unworking the Sadean Communion

Jacob Friedman

Critical Theory and Social Justice, Occidental College, 2010

Abstract: Marquis de Sade’s Philosophy in the Bedroom engages the question of limits—physical, mental, and moral—through libertine philosophy and the orgy. Sade’s controversial exploration of human nature, generally marginalized in both philosophy and the academy, deserves a re-examination for its ontological utility. I read Philosophy in the Bedroom as an attempt at being-in-community as defined by Jean-Luc Nancy in his book, The Inoperative Community. Nancy’s radical conceptualization of community is contrary to common notions of the social “community.” He argues that true community is something that occurs in the disruption of the everyday social and political projects, and it is in this sense that I read Philosophy in the Bedroom as an attempt at Nancean community. For Nancy, community is an experience that presents to us the reality of our finitude by a process of mutual exposure to one another at our limits. I argue that Sade makes an attempt to reach these limits and generate community, and al- though he does not succeed, he points us in the right direction. I apply a critical Nancean lens to Sade’s text in order to understand its reasons for failure and to rescue his philosophy from its limited context.

Keywords: Marquis de Sade, Jean-Luc Nancy, community, orgy, limits, being-in-community

See: Unworking the Sadean Communion: http://tinyurl.com/a2l7d53

Ontological and Moral Faith

According to Tillich, we respond to the two faces of the holy with these two types of faith: ontological faith and moral faith. Ontological faith finds itself enchanted by the fascinating face of the holy, by the moments in which the numinous shines through existing beings19 and the unconditional endorsement of being-as-it-is that this signifies.

That plain, finite reality is found adequate to serve as a receptacle for the transcendent beauty of the divine is deeply reassuring. Ontological faith gravitates toward sacramental and mystical types of piety. In sacra- mental religions, ultimate reality is expected to be encountered through concrete things, persons, and events – this particular jar of water, piece of bread, tree, or building. The experience of being grasped and stilled in the presence of something that strikes one as being charged with mystery and power is key here. The Catholic Mass is such an event. Here, after the consecration of the elements, the bread and wine are transubstantiated into God who becomes physically present in this space. Awareness of this has influenced the architecture of worship spaces in the Catholic Church – flying buttresses were invented in the Middle Ages in order to accommodate these divine visitations.

Moral faith, on the other hand, is attuned to the terrifying side of the holy, picking up on how, in the presence of the infinite, all finite reality falls short of what it ought to be.

Sensing that the holy in its purity stands over against us, measuring us and our world by standards of perfect justice and love that far exceed our best achievements, the ears of faith hear a relentless moral demand to make the world a more fit receptacle for God.

Aware of their shortcomings, those with moral faith occupy themselves with constructing a way of life that is just and compassionate. Only then will we be found fit for the presence of the divine. Moral faith gravitates toward law-generating, activist, and utopian expressions of piety.20

A helpful way to think about these two types is by posing the simple question: How is it that the holy enters the world? Is it through the portals of those things that are beautiful – natural phenomena like waterfalls and shooting stars, noble thoughts, elegant poetry, and great works of art – which due to their grandeur and magnificence inspire in us a sense of awe? Or is it through moral action, the sacrificial and sustained efforts of people to act lovingly and with justice toward others? The word “holy” is commonly used in both senses. We say of Yosemite Valley, “This is a holy place”; we say of Mother Theresa, “She lived a holy life.” Ontological and moral faiths are two ways we ascribe meaning to the finite world – it is through its abundant beauty, on one hand, and through its approximations of justice, on the other, that a point of contact is made between it and the infinite reality that transcends it. If the finite world is to have meaning for us, it must have some points of contact with the infinite.

In short, with ontological faith, one anticipates encountering God in the beautiful; with moral faith, one anticipates encountering God in the good. And while these two types of faith tend to pull in different directions, Tillich insists that each one is in need of the counterbalancing effect of the other. For religious faith to thrive, it must strike a balance between the moral and the ontological. Because God is both beautiful and good, at least as evoked in the experience of the holy, the human response of faith must take account of both. But also, in very practical terms, a desire for beauty that is cut free from moral goodness can descend to the worst sorts of cruelty, as can be seen in the eras of Caligula and Nero, Lorenzo de Medici, Louis IX, Ivan the Terrible and, more recently, Saddam Hussein – regimes characterized by the erection of lavish palaces and the patronage of art, yet surrounded by a vast and impoverished under-class. The subversive fiction of the Marquis de Sade, Nietzsche’s assertion that aesthetics, not ethics, is the only human achievement that will ultimately justify our existence,21 Antonin Artaud’s “theater of cruelty,” modern aesthetic hedonism of the sort that “worships pure experience without restraint of any kind,”22 and the proliferation of sex and violence with all the ramped up special effects that characterize current Hollywood cinema (think of a movie like Natural Born Killers) are all instances of the worship of beauty untethered from any moral faith.

The opposite danger is a moral faith that dismisses any trust in the sacramental capacities of being. An ardently secular humanism that abandons the religious symbols and myths that originally gave rise to it runs the risk of losing its way and depleting its passion for justice. “I think that history has shown – and it is my personal experience, too,” Tillich told a group of students in 1963, “that only the vision of the holy itself, of that ground of our own being on which we depend, can make us take the moral law with ultimate seriousness.”23 For moral faith to endure it must be sustained by ontological faith, by symbols with transcendent power that testify to the goodness of being.

These two concepts – moral and ontological types of faith – are in operation within Western culture, and are amply expressed through popular culture outside of the sphere of religion2. In fact, they are often used as rostrums from which the culture criticizes organized religion. Religion1 critics often resort to their own moral faith when they disparage religion2 adherents for being hypocrites who do not practice what they preach, or reach into their own ontological faith when they dismiss religion2 adherents for always harping on about sin and guilt and thereby failing to live their lives more abundantly. To charge anyone else with “Puritanism” is to confess to one’s own ontological faith.

See: http://wxy.seu.edu.cn/humanities/sociology/htmledit/uploadfile/system/20100512/20100512222423445.pdf

VIDEO – Natural Born Killers: http://youtu.be/4_67t6I_beg

As the late Professor of Literature at Boston University Roger Shattuck has pointed out, in his book Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography, Foucault embraced the moral nihilism of the Marquis de Sade; from whom we get the terms: sadistic and sadism.

What, then, is Foucault’s great and lasting philosophical accomplishment? To tell us that abusing others physically and sexually—and then killing them—is to live the authentic philosophical life.

Shattuck tells us that “Michel Foucault presents as fundamental for the emergence of the modern era out of seventeenth century classicism the fact that Sade revealed to us the truth about man’s relation to nature. Foucault plants his declarations at crucial junctures in his two major works of 1961 and 1966. These four passages reveal the usually obscured center of his ethos:

‘Sadism . . . is a massive cultural fact that appeared precisely at the end of the eighteenth century and that constitutes one of the greatest conversions of the occidental imagination . . . madness of desire, the insane delight of love and death in the limitless presumptions of appetite.’ (Madness and Civilization, 210)

‘Through Sade and Goya, the Western world received the possibility of transcending its reason in violence . . .’ (Madness and Civilization, 285)

‘After Sade, violence, life and death, desire, and sexuality will extend, below the level of representation, an immense expanse of darkness, which we are now attempting to recover . . . in our discourse, in our freedom, in our thought.’ (The Order of Things, 211)

‘Among the mutations that have affected the knowledge of things . . . only one, which began a century and a half ago . . . has allowed the figure of man to appear.’ (The Order of Things, 386)

The last quotation from the final page of The Order of Things does not allude to Sade by name. But, in association with the other passages and in context, there can be little doubt that the great cultural ‘mutation’ welcomed by Foucault refers directly to Sade’s moral philosophy and to its practice in actual life.” (Forbidden Knowledge, 246-247)

Foucault and the Folly of the Narcissistic Self: http://ajmacdonaldjr.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/foucault-and-the-folly-of-the-narcissistic-self/

We can continue living in a hell on earth, allowing Satan and his minion to control, manipulate, and abuse us… or good people can unite and kick Satan to the curb, throw him under the bus, and make Dr. King’s dream a reality for all peoples.

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Without justice what are kingdoms but great bands of robbers?” ~ St Augustine (circa 400 AD)

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” ~ US President John F. Kennedy

“Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.” ~ Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

IT’S TIME TO MAKE DR. KING’S DREAM A REALITY!

VIDEO – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – Radical Revolution of Values: http://youtu.be/hQFE1wgx714

See: https://www.facebook.com/makethedreamareality

Fernando Botero - Abu Ghraib

Fernando Botero – Abu Ghraib

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About ajmacdonaldjr

writer, author, blogger
This entry was posted in Charity, Crime, Culture, Drug War Violence, Ethics, Government, history, Law, Literary Theory, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Religion, Society, Symbolism, Terrorism, Violence, War and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Re: Violence – Let’s be intellectually honest, for a change… shall we?

  1. Pingback: Marquis De Sade: The Genius of Passion by Ronald Hayman | Rafferty's Rules

  2. Pingback: Re: Violence – Let’s be intellectually honest, for a change… shall we? | ChristianBookBarn.com

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