Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Marquis de Sade, born Donatien Alphonse François de Sade

French Aristocrat, Revolutionary Politician, Philosopher and Writer famous for his Libertine Sexuality and Lifestyle

"Social order at the expense of liberty is hardly a bargain."

"All, all is theft, all is unceasing and rigorous competition in nature; the desire to make off with the substance of others is the foremost -- the most legitimate -- passion nature has bred into us and, without doubt, the most agreeable one."

"Destruction, hence, like creation, is one of Nature's mandates."

"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."

"Nature, who for the perfect maintenance of the laws of her general equilibrium, has sometimes need of vices and sometimes of virtues, inspires now this impulse, now that one, in accordance with what she requires."

"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"

"Every principle is a judgment, every judgment the outcome of experience, and experience is only acquired by the exercise of the senses; whence it follows that religious principles bear upon nothing whatever and are not in the slightest innate."

"How delightful are the pleasures of the imagination! In those delectable moments, the whole world is ours; not a single creature resists us, we devastate the world, we repopulate it with new objects which, in turn, we immolate. "

"In libertinage, nothing is frightful, because everything libertinage suggests is also a natural inspiration; the most extraordinary, the most bizarre acts, those which most arrantly seem to conflict with every law, every human institution."

"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."

"So long as the laws remain such as they are today, employ some discretion: loud opinion forces us to do so; but in privacy and silence let us compensate ourselves for that cruel chastity we are obliged to display in public."

"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."

"Religions are the cradles of despotism."

"Prejudice is the sole author of infamies: how many acts are so qualified by an opinion forged out of naught but prejudice!"

"To judge from the notions expounded by theologians, one must conclude that God created most men simply with a view to crowding hell."

"Those laws, being forged for universal application, are in perpetual conflict with personal interest, just as personal interest is always in contradiction with the general interest. Good for society, our laws are very bad for the individuals whereof."

"All universal moral principles are idle fancies. "

"What is more immoral than war? "

"Man's natural character is to imitate; that of the sensitive man is to resemble as closely as possible the person whom he loves. It is only by imitating the vices of others that I have earned my misfortunes."

"Happiness lies neither in vice nor in virtue; but in the manner we appreciate the one and the other, and the choice we make pursuant to our individual organization."

"Every principle is a judgment, every judgment the outcome of experience, and experience is only acquired by the exercise of the senses; whence it follows that religious principles bear upon nothing whatever and are not in the slightest innate. Ignorance and fear, you will repeat to them, ignorance and fear -- those are the twin bases of every religion."

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

"Ah, Eug‚nie, have done with virtues! Among the sacrifices that can be made to those counterfeit divinities, is there one worth an instant of the pleasures one tastes in outraging them?"

"Any enjoyment is weakened when shared."

"Any punishment that does not correct, that can merely rouse rebellion in whoever has to endure it, is a piece of gratuitous infamy which makes those who impose it more guilty in the eyes of humanity, good sense and reason, nay a hundred times more guilty than the victim on whom the punishment is inflicted."

"All creatures are born isolated and have no need of one another."

"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."

"Are wars anything but the means whereby a nation is nourished, whereby it is strengthened, whereby it is buttressed?"

"Are your convictions so fragile that mine cannot stand in opposition to them? Is your God so illusory that the presence of my Devil reveals his insufficiency?"

"Before you were born, you were nothing more than an indistinguishable lump of unformed matter. After death, you simply will return to that nebulous state. You are going to become the raw material out of which new beings will be fashioned. Will there be pain in this natural process? No! Pleasure? No! Now, is there anything frightening in this? Certainly not! And yet, people sacrifice pleasure on earth in the hope that pain will be avoided in an after-life. The fools don't realize that, after death, pain and pleasure cannot exist: there is only the sensationless state of cosmic anonymity: therefore, the rule of life should be... to enjoy oneself!"

"At all times, in every century, every age, there has been such a connection between despotism and religion that it is infinitely apparent and demonstrated a thousand times over, that in destroying one, the other must be undermined, for the simple reason that the first will always put the law into the service of the second."

"Beauty belongs to the sphere of the simple, the ordinary, whilst ugliness is something extraordinary, and there is no question but that every ardent imagination prefers in lubricity, the extraordinary to the commonplace"

"Behold, my love, behold all that I simultaneously do: scandal, seduction, bad example, incest, adultery, sodomy! Oh, Satan! one and unique God of my soul, inspire thou in me something yet more, present further perversions to my smoking heart, and then shalt thou see how I shall plunge myself into them all!"

"Can we become other than what we are?"

"Between understanding and faith immediate connections must subsist."

"Certain souls may seem harsh to others, but it is just a way, beknownst only to them, of caring and feeling more deeply."

"Certain souls seem hard because they are capable of strong feelings, and they sometimes go to rather extreme lengths their apparent unconcern and cruelty are but ways, known only to themselves, of feeling more strongly than others."

"Chimerical and empty being, your name alone has caused more blood to flow on the face of the earth than any political war ever will. Return to the nothingness from which the mad hope and ridiculous fright of men dared call you forth to their misfortune. You only appeared as a torment for the human race. What crimes would have been spared the world, if they had choked the first imbecile who thought of speaking of you."

"Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated."

"Consider the problem from the point of view of evil, evil being almost always pleasure's true and major charm considered thus, the crime must appear greater when perpetrated upon a being of your identical sort than when inflicted upon one which is not, and this once established, the delight automatically doubles."

"Crime is the soul of lust. What would pleasure be if it were not accompanied by crime It is not the object of debauchery that excites us, rather the idea of evil."

"Do not breed. Nothing gives less pleasure than childbearing. Pregnancies are damaging to health, spoil the figure, wither the charms, and it's the cloud of uncertainty forever hanging over these events that darkens a husband's mood."

"Crime is to the passions what nervous fluid is to life: it sustains them, it supplies their strength."

"Dread not infanticide; the crime is imaginary: we are always mistress of what we carry in our womb, and we do no more harm in destroying this kind of matter than in evacuating another, by medicines, when we feel the need."

"Either kill me or take me as I am, because I'll be damned if I ever change."

"Fear not lest precautions and protective contrivances diminish your pleasure: mystery only adds thereto."

"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."

"For although we may fully respect our social conventions...it may unfortunately happen that , through the perversity of others we encounter only the thorns of life, whilst the wicked gather nothing but roses."

"Friends are like women: when put to the test, the goods often prove defective."

"Fuck! Is one expected to be a gentleman when one is stiff?"