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50 Quotes from Marquis de Sade


Marquis de Sade

Nobleman, revolutionary politician, philosopher, writer, Frenchman, libertine, who spent a crazy amount of his life in prison, but who still found the time to impart these 50 sentences of wisdom (as well as his books).

1. “My manner of thinking, so you say, cannot be approved. Do you suppose I care? A poor fool indeed is he who adopts a manner of thinking for others!”

2. “Either kill me or take me as I am, because I’ll be damned if I ever change.”

3. “Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated.”

4. “Wolves which batten upon lambs, lambs consumed by wolves, the strong who immolate the weak, the weak victims of the strong: there you have Nature, there you have her intentions, there you have her scheme: a perpetual action and reaction, a host of vices, a host of virtues, in one word, a perfect equilibrium resulting from the equality of good and evil on earth.”

5. “For mortal men there is but one hell, and that is the folly and wickedness and spite of his fellows; but once his life is over, there’s an end to it: his annihilation is final and entire, of him nothing survives.”

6. “One must feel sorry for those who have strange tastes, but never insult them. Their wrong is Nature’s too; they are no more responsible for having come into the world with tendencies unlike ours than are we for being born bandy-legged or well- proportioned.”

7. “Truth titillates the imagination far less than fiction.”

8. “Get it into your head once and for all, my simple and very fainthearted fellow, that what fools call humaneness is nothing but a weakness born of fear and egoism; that this chimerical virtue, enslaving only weak men, is unknown to those whose character is formed by stoicism, courage, and philosophy.”

9. “It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure.”

10. “Social order at the expense of liberty is hardly a bargain.”

11. “In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice.”

12. “It is not my mode of thought that has caused my misfortunes, but the mode of thought of others.”

13. “No lover, if he be of good faith, and sincere, will deny he would prefer to see his mistress dead than unfaithful.”

14. “One is never so dangerous when one has no shame, than when one has grown too old to blush.”

15. “There is no God, Nature sufficeth unto herself; in no wise hath she need of an author.”

16. “The primary and most beautiful of Nature’s qualities is motion, which agitates her at all times, but this motion is simply a perpetual consequence of crimes, she conserves it by means of crimes only.”

17. “Never lose sight of the fact that all human felicity lies in man’s imagination, and that he cannot think to attain it unless he heeds all his caprices. The most fortunate of persons is he who has the most means to satisfy his vagaries.”

18. “Your body is the church where Nature asks to be reverenced.”

19. “Hope is the most sensitive part of a poor wretch’s soul; whoever raises it only to torment him is behaving like the executioners in Hell who, they say, incessantly renew old wounds and concentrate their attention on that area of it that is already lacerated.”

20. “Lust’s passion will be served; it demands, it militates, it tyrannizes.”

21. ““Destruction, hence, like creation, is one of Nature’s mandates.”

22. “Evil is a moral entity and not a created one, an eternal and not a perishable entity: it existed before the world; it constituted the monstrous, the execrable being who was also to fashion such a hideous world. It will hence exist after the creatures which people this world.”

23. “Miserable creatures, thrown for a moment on the surface of this little pile of mud, is it decreed that one half of the flock should be the persecutor of the other? Is it for you, mankind, to pronounce on what is good and what is evil?”

24. “We are no guiltier in following the primative impulses that govern us than is the Nile for her floods or the sea for her waves.”

25. “What does one want when one is engaged in the sexual act? That everything around you give you its utter attention, think only of you, care only for you…every man wants to be a tyrant when he fornicates.”

26. “All universal moral principles are idle fancies.”

27. “I don’t know what the heart is, not I: I only use the word to denote the mind’s frailties.”

28. “Are wars anything but the means whereby a nation is nourished, whereby it is strengthened, whereby it is buttressed?”

29. “It is only by enlarging the scope of one’s tastes and one’s fantasies, by sacrificing everything to pleasure, that that unfortunate individual called man, thrown despite himself into this sad world, can succeed in gathering a few roses . . .”

30. “True happiness lies in the senses, and virtue gratifies none of them.”

31. “My passions, concentrated on a single point, resemble the rays of a sun assembled by a magnifying glass: they immediately set fire to whatever object they find in their way.”

32. “Religions are the cradles of despotism.”

33. “Nature has endowed each of us with a capacity for kindly feelings: let us not squander them on others.”

34. “Anything beyond the limits and grasp of the human mind is either illusion or futility; and because your god having to be one or the other of the two, in the first instance I should be mad to believe in him, and in the second a fool.”

35. “I’ve been to Hell. You’ve only read about it.”

36. “Are not laws dangerous which inhibit the passions? Compare the centuries of anarchy with those of the strongest legalism in any country you like and you will see that it is only when the laws are silent that the greatest actions appear.”

37. “Were he supreme, were he mighty, were he just, were he good, this God you tell me about, would it be through enigmas and buffooneries he would wish to teach me to serve and know him?”

38. “I assumed that everything must yield to me, that the entire universe had to flatter my whims, and that I had the right to satisfy them at will.”

39. “If God permits virtue to be persecuted on earth, it is not for us to question his intentions. It may be that his rewards are held over for another life, for is it not true as written in Holy Scripture that the Lord chastenenth only the righteous! And after all, is not virtue it’s own reward?”

40. “The impossibility of outraging nature is the greatest anguish man can know.”

41. “One has always had too much when one has had enough.”

42. “The past encourages me, the present electrifies me, and I have little fear for the future; and my hope is that the rest of my life shall by far surpass the extravagances of my youth.”

43. “The reasoning man who rejects the superstitions of simpletons necessarily becomes their enemy; he must expect as much and be prepared to laugh at the consequences.”

44. “When we die, we die. No more. Once the spider-thread of life is severed, the human body is but a mass of corrupting vegetable matter. A feast for worms. That is all. Tell me, what is more ridiculous than the notion of an immortal soul; than the belief that when a man is dead, he remains alive, that when his life grinds to a halt, his soul — or whatever you call it — takes flight?”

45. “To enlighten mankind and improve its morals is the only lesson which we offer in this story. In reading it, may the world discover how great is the peril which follows the footsteps of those who will stop at nothing to satisfy their desires.”

46. “I suggest somewhere that anyone who wishes to write and has no aptitude for it would be better off making shoes for ladies and boots for men.”

47. “A little less vice is virtuousness in a very vicious heart.”

48. “Now let us consider theft. From the standpoint of the wealthy, this is, of course, an horrendous crime. But, laying partiality aside, let us ask ourselves as republicans: shall we, upholding the principle that all men are equal, brand as wrong an act whose effect is to accomplish a more equal distribution of wealth? Theft furthers economic equilibrium: one never hears of the rich stealing from the poor, thereby aggravating the economic imbalance; only of the poor stealing from the rich, thereby correcting it. What possibly be wrong with that?”

49. “It is only by sacrificing everything to sensual pleasure that this being known as Man, cast into the world in spite of himself, may succeed in sowing a few roses on the thorns of life.”

50. “I should like to find a crime with perpetual repercussions, which would continue even after I had ceased to act, so there would not be a single instant of my life, not even when I was asleep, when I would not be causing some sort of disorder, a disorder so extensive as to involve general corruption, or so absolute a disturbance that its effect would be prolonged even when my life had ceased.”

You can download some free books by the Marquis de Sade, here.


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