The Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) is known for many things, not the least of which is his namesake, sadism; however as demented as he may appear, there is a stated method to his madness, much of which is laid out in his novel Justine:You are astonished by cruel tastes? What is the aim of the pleasure-seeking man? Is it not to arouse his senses in every way possible, and thereby to get the most pleasure from the final crisis? The most ridiculous in the world is doubtless to want to argue about people’s tastes, to challenge them, to blame men for them, or to punish them if they are not in conformity, either with the laws of the country in which one lives, or with social conventions. Indeed! Men will never understand that there are no tastes, however bizarre, however criminal they may supposed to be, that do not derive from the kind of make-up we are given by Nature! The imagination of Man is a faculty of the mind in which objects are conjured up and modified, and thoughts are formed via the organ of the senses. I am sure you have seen mirrors of differing shapes, some which reduce objects in size while others enlarge them; the latter make them look awful, the former lend them charm. Such is the human imagination. Now if we concede that the pleasures of the senses are always dependent on the imagination, always governed by the imagination, we cannot be surprised by the number of variations that the imagination can create for these pleasures, by the infinite multiplicity of tastes and different passions to which the different deviations of the imagination will give rise. Although lewd, these tastes should not startle us more than those of a simple nature.