The Question as to Why We Have to Live Out the Agony of Our Epoch and its Fundamental Un-Answerability: A Reading of the Preface to the 1967 Edition of Klossowski’s’ Original 1947 Sade My Neighbor (pages 117-138)

Rajesh Sampath

ABSTRACT: This paper excavates certain impulses that are buried in Pierre Klossowski’s 1968 edition of his original 1947 work, Sade My Neighbor. We argue that the self-suffocating nature of our historical present reveals the problem of an epochal threshold: in which twenty-first century democracy itself is threatened with death and violence in delusional neofascist attempts at national self-preservation. This speaks to a deeper enigma of time, epochal shifts, and the mystery of historical time; but it does so in a manner that escapes classical problems in the philosophy of history. Rather, by returning to Klossowski’s late 1940s and late 1960s contexts while reoccupying the New Testament question of Jesus’s foresakeness on the Cross, we unravel a series of paradoxes and aporias that attempt to deepen metaphysical problems of time, death, and the sovereign autonomy of human freedom and existence. Ultimately the paper concludes by offering certain speculative philosophical constructions on why today’s self-cannibalization of democracy has its roots in unresolved tensions that span these two poles: a.) the primordial secret of early Christian proclamation of Jesus’s death and b.) the post-Christian Sadean experiment of a philosophical revolution that was doomed to implode when the valorization of pain, suffering, and death fails to fill the vacuum left behind by atheism.

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