The 120 Days of Sodom and Other Writings - Study Guide Nature as Destructive Principle Summary & Analysis

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Pierre Klossowski's essay "Nature as Destructive Principle" focuses on Sade's apparent atheism and his ideas about man's relationship to nature and to God. He argues that the libertine requires the existence of God in order to have something against which he can perform acts of sacrilege. Likewise, although the libertine has no respect for his neighbor, he still needs him in the same way he needs God, as an object of his evil actions.

According to Klossowski, God, in the eyes of the Sadean libertine, is an aggressor toward man, having created him in a world where he must struggle and suffer. This gives the libertine all the leverage he needs to commit similar evils upon his neighbor. Nature fills a similar role to God, Klossowski argues, according to Sade. Nature endows us with a sense of cruelty toward others, which...

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This section contains 380 words
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