Thomas Moore's new book, Writing in the Sand: Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels is available from publisher Hay House. Today, Moore speaks about the book at Hay House's I Can Do It! conference in San Diego. The blog Barque: Thomas Moore posts recent resources about the book.
Yesterday I returned from a two-week visit to England, where I taught with my wife at Schumacher College, visited Glastonbury, and then spent most of a week in London. I found many loyal readers on my journey. But the event that knocked me over was attending a play in London called Madame de Sade. It got terrible reviews, but I found it captivating from beginning to end. It stars Judi Dench as Sade's mother-in-law, who kept him in prison for many years. But the best lines were those of Madame de Sade, who defends her devotion to a man who remained loyal to his dark vision of humanity and saw the humanism and even the theological—today we'd say spiritual—dimension of the man and his work. We still need his penetrating viewpoint to see the sadism in our institutions—torture in the military is obvious, but not in education and other areas. I felt the play confirmed the point of view I set out with some trepidation many years ago in Dark Eros.
Mishima's play was translated in 1968. Were you familiar with his work when you wrote Dark Eros twenty years later? I like the idea of "a back stairway to Heaven" and wonder about its traffic given High Court Justice Sean Ryan's recent 2,600-page final report of Ireland's Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse. A hard look at educational sadism. Perhaps an invisible chorus nods when Dench's character says, “This wasn’t the way I meant to rear my daughter!”
No, I didn't know the play at all when I wrote Dark Eros. Then I just opened up Sade's books and tried to see through to its poetry. I believed Sade in an essay on fiction when he wrote that his intention was to explore the dark corners of the human heart. At the end of Madame de Sade there is a reference to Sade watching the decapitations in the fury of the French Revolution. If those executions were not Sadistic, nothing could be. Sade must also be smiling when the news today shows leaders justifying waterboarding.