Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Qui dolorem ipsum...

When I was younger, I discovered a book that I was not expecting to find in my home's library. A book which I already knew what its contents were about even though I had not read it by that time. A book that was written during a time of huge changes; where civil rights and the new concept of republic had been forged.  A book that coined a new term, was condemned and is some sort of keystone of our sub-culture.

The story of how that book got into my house may be material for another post; this one is about the book's back cover containing the translator's interpretation of one portion of the author's writings. It's a sort of synopsis which guided, to some extent, my views on the relationship between responsibility and freedom. The text I read is in Spanish, but the writing it was inspired by is originally in French. I ventured to write a translation with my still artless English but I appended the original in Spanish as reference.

"Let no one accuse me of being an apologist of evil; let no one tell me I strive to inspire malevolence or quell the qualms of those who conduct themselves inappropriately. The sole purpose of all my efforts is to articulate thoughts that have plagued my mind since I have been a conscious being. That these thoughts may be in conflict with the thoughts of other people or most people, or everyone except me is not, I think, enough reason to suppress them. For those souls succeptibles to be "corrupted" by learning of my writings, so much the worse for them, I say. I address only to those people who are able to examine, with an objective eye, all that lies before them. Those people are incorruptible."

"Que nadie me acuse de ser el apologista del mal; que nadie me diga que busco inspirar la maldad o acallar los remordimientos de los que se conducen indebidamente. El único propósito de todos mis empeños es articular pensamientos que han atormentado mi conciencia desde que tuve uso de razón. Que dichos pensamientos pueden estar en conflicto con los pensamientos de otras personas, o la mayoría de las personas, o todas las personas excepto yo, no es, creo, razón suficiente para suprimirlos. En cuanto a aquellas almas suseptibles de ser "corrompidas" por enterarse de mis escritos, tanto peor para ellas, digo yo. Me dirijo únicamente a aquellos hombres que son capaces de examinar con una mirada objetiva todo cuanto está ante ellos. Dichos hombres son incorruptibles."

Donatien François Alphonse De Sade
Philosophy in the bedroom
Paris, France: 1795