Copyright 2001 Maitresse Francoise
Krafft-Ebing made masochism the complementarity and opposite of sadism. He likened all masochistic relations to a pathology.
To keep the issue clear, I shall refer to the Master who plays the role imposed on him by the victim in Masochian eroticism as a DOMINANT MASOCHIST.
The SADIST, on the other hand, does real harm as there is no mutual consent, only rape.
The adjective “sadistic” has nothing to do with our games. The word is attributed to Sade by accident. Sade is a philosopher with a “Sadian” vision of the world. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, on the other hand, is more spiritually inclined; he is heir to the great mystical experiences. Sade is a criminal in his imagination only. His “crimes” are perpetrated on paper dolls, as Sade has no intention of going through with what he writes.
Masoch however wants to realise his fantasies. He constantly sought to live out what he described in VENUS IN FURS, poisoning Wanda’s life. She left him with the words, “Free! Delivered from ten years of torment!... To belong to myself again!... to never again wear furs, never hold a whip!... and never hear the word Greek again!...
Like a heavy suit of armour I wore for many long years that had held me in, prevented me from moving naturally and almost mutilated me...”
So it is Masoch and not Sade who belongs to the realm of our sexuality, which we could call SM after Sacher-Masoch. All of us, dominant and submissive alike, draw on Masoch’s rationale and sexuality.
The masochist’s mysticism strives for a different state of consciousness. He uses his “torturer”.
“In another way, the masochistic hero seems educated and shaped by the authoritarian woman, yet on a deeper level it is he who shapes and distorts her and whispers the harsh words she says to him. The victim speaks unsparingly through his torturer.”cf Deleuze
In his submission, the masochist seeks the enjoyment and omnipotence of the child. In the bubble of its mother’s womb, the foetus is protected. The sounds it hears are filtered through the liquid environment, all impacts are dampened, it is caressed by uterine contractions, it floats and moves with ease in its own world. Then, suddenly, the contractions start squashing it, the water disappears, the oxygen becomes rarer and it has to force its way to the abyss. The foetus enters a world of sound and fury, blood and tears. It is struck and pricked, it coughs and chokes. The child appears. From now on, he or she is alone as the cord, the last link with mother, is cut. What remains of that fusion and bliss is the blood, piss and shit of the mother. The child is washed...
In the maternal cocoon, this merged love is ideal. Men, and more particularly masochists, will spend the rest of their lives looking in vain for that lost ideal. Their Paradise is the enclosure of the womb. Happiness is the return to the foetal state. The masochist strives to restore part of that intra-uterine contentment through bondage.
The scatology lover is soiled in reminiscence of his last link with his mother and early childhood.
Many masochists seeking satisfaction on the Net use Masoch’s language.
Playful submission or recreational slavery are part of the Masochian universe as long as the relation is contractual. The same words come under sadism if the relation is not freely consented. Submission means social slavery if the relationship is not governed by a “contract”.
Submission, when not at the masochist’s request, is “moral”. In other words, it is experienced insidiously. Unlike recreational masochism, moral submissiveness inhibits the individual, with the same consequences as slavery. However, the words “slavery” and “submission” are both used in playful relationships for the cerebral pleasure of the words.
So it is particularly stupid to refer to someone as a non-masochistic submissive. Being a willing submissive means being a masochist. Being submitted against one’s will means being the victim of power, sadism or even criminality. Masochists are masochists through pleasure from pain, humiliation or obedience.
On page 67 of his interpretation of Sacher-Masoch, Deleuze reiterates the masochistic contract in four points. However he points out a lack in Reik’s view of the contract and adds: “The masochistic contract does not only express the need for the victim’s consent, but also the persuasiveness and the educational and legal skill with which the victim trains his torturer.” cf Deleuze
This rules out the possibility of domination under an influence. This essential condition, which Deleuze stresses, banishes submission under influence to the non-contractual realm. Initiatory “submissive” relationships are often perpetrated by frustrated, narcissistic and impotent little masters. These sadists project themselves through their victims to satisfy their own feminine state, which is a source of hate or even destruction for them.
The masochist distorts the human being. In the quest for his god, he invests the other with absolute power over himself. But the other is human and therefore on his own level. The other can never become Other (God).
The pagan mystical relationship is less dangerous than the mystical relationship with a God outside the world. Sexual, recreational masochism ends with the trance or when the masochist realises that the other is not perfection. It is Masoch’s fate to be disappointed, says Deleuze, and the same outcome awaits all masochists. They have to be very indulgent to content themselves with a “human” relationship.
In recreational masochism, the trance can vanish as the partners tire. In a loving relationship, the sexual act can conclude a session.
In masochism, there is always the desire to belong and to give of oneself in order to merge with the other as if the masochist were just a living wound.
Masoch has been edged out as he is a thousand times more subversive than Sade. Sade attacks power, religion and the tyranny of Man in all its forms. Yet he keeps the image of the Father, even a sadistic one, in the inverted form of his atheism – killing God the Father. Sade therefore remains dependent on religious patriarchy.
By creating profane prostitution (the dirty whore in the mire), Man built the foundations of our patriarchal civilisation. This allows him to live comfortably with “mummy”, whom he absorbs through procreation, and to exorcise his desire in the mire - the whore that he immediately rejects as she is dirty and forbidden. By making the sacred prostitute a dirty whore, Man keeps “honest” women away from prostitution. The image of the prostituted, sexual Mother is unbearable for the Man of our civilisation – the Father.
Masoch raises the same problems: “Desire is suffering, possession is healing”.
Masoch wants to kill the Father, with man reborn from the Mother alone. In his fantasies, Masoch transfers paternal functions onto the three images of the Mother: the good Mother, the courtesan Mother (the prostitute) and the punishing Mother.
He asks the woman to prostitute herself, but not as a guilty whore in a patriarchal civilisation. He wants the function of prostitution to be carried out by an honest woman and a good Mother: “Finding within one’s own honest and good wife the kinds of pleasure that one usually has to seek from libertines is a wonderful thing.”
In the partly biographical Venus in Furs, Masoch is more subversive than Sade because he describes what really exists – the feminine transformation of the Father. He is in a mystical trance and in everyday life at the same time.
Sade is in a fictional place. The scenes, however meticulously described, take place in an unreal location.
In Sade, explaining every scene of pleasure as so many battlefields that make up a macroscopic view is a far-reaching philosophical perspective. They cannot be tales of ordinary madness. Masoch’s vision is microscopic, in a cell that could be the mystical cell. In Masoch, the universe is generally limited to a two-sided relationship that holds and condenses the space of desire, giving an ecstatic outpouring like that of a mystic.
Masoch’s finest novels include La pêcheuse
d'âmes, Mardona and Mother of God.
“That is your idea,” said Dragomira, “and at first glance it seems to be the case; the earth seems like a magnificent great altar from which sweet perfumes are all that rise to heaven. But when we look closely, we soon discover that we bring our own thoughts, feelings and fantasies to nature to make it more poetic, and that the entire universe is one huge sacrificial stone on which creatures suffer and shed blood for the glory of God. (...) I used to view the future as a wonderful country; (...) It is as if the sun were going out, as if the earth and my heart were numbed by eternal ice. (....) Existence is a kind of purifying purgatory; it is not happiness but rather perpetual martyrdom.” Sacher Masoch
Masoch describes his characters as if in a dream: “She was stripped of her feminine exterior and had turned into a handsome, slender young man. She was wearing high-heeled boots...” Masoch makes his characters elusive. Dragomira has a “cold, cruel laugh like a demon." In Masoch, love is inseparable from death, as if after love death was the only way of avoiding unhappiness. In La Pêcheuse d'Ame, God is death. “I am ready to become your wife. Then, when we have been happy, we shall appease God and die together…” Sacher-Masoch, ‘La Pêcheuse d'âmes’.
Masoch is influenced by several of the heretical trends of his time. In Mother of God, the writer uses a biblical framework. Mardona crucifies the man she loves and by obtaining his consent, she atones for Eve’s fault. Sabatil, a Christ-like figure, frees himself from the law of the Father. The fantastical kills are extremely cruel, but there is always the notion of contract and freedom:
“How do you think you can escape eternal damnation?”
“By repentance and penitence.”
“Are you determined to submit yourself to my sentence? Will you accept the penitence I inflict?”
“I therefore pronounce my judgement on you (...) to snatch your soul from the might of Satan. I condemn you to be crucified. ...I am not forcing you,” she says gently. “Just one word from and I shall give you back your freedom. Will you bear the punishment I inflict, yes or no?”
She lent towards him tenderly.
“I will bear everything you command, Mardona, but you will forgive me?”
“I forgive you already,” she replied with goodness.
Sacher Masoch, Mother of God.
Masoch recognises “Cain’s terrible mark of knowledge of” on people’s faces. “Cain is a relationship with death and initial violence. He is fratricide (..). He defines a relationship to history, to the totalities that he tears apart. But at the same time, he founds history as a split.”
“Jesus is the death-meaning, the submissive death that the mother crucifies.”
“As implacable rivals, man and woman forget their native hostility in an instant of dizziness and illusion, only to separate again for a fiercer combat.”
(man (...) is born stupid, fierce and enslaved)
“And I felt the same curse that comes with property... Born out of violence and trickery, it causes reprisals and leads to endless discord and infamy.”
“I have glimpsed the truth,” cried the wanderer. “I have understood that true happiness lies in knowledge and that it is better to give up everything than to struggle for pleasure.”
L'ouvrage de référence
est la présentation de Sacher Masoch suivit de la Vénus
à la fourrure ed de Minuit Par Gilles Deleuze.
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à la rubrique : LIBRAIRIES Erotiques