By Charles S. Klabunde

When did the madness begin again … the concept of mass liquidation of human beings? We know that it existed before. But what precise date in the modern era did it start, when human beings no longer had an intrinsic value of their own? How did we permit such a horrific concept to take root in our collective consciousness … these mass modern liquidators? When did this most singular unique horror of the twentieth century become our reality, this underlying terror of the twentieth century?

What triggers the ordinary human being born an innocent baby of flesh and blood from a human womb, to become a monster? When do the idealists transform into cold-blooded killers and how do we in mass follow such madmen? What intrinsic nature in our collective makeup drives us to collaborate with such monsters? Is it true that evil does lie at the threshold of our consciousness as Martin Buber states in his book on Good and Evil? Is Paul Tillich right in his treatise of The Courage To Be … that the courage to be part of mass movement far outweighs the courage to be ones self … to stand up to the horror of it all? That once the concept of a self-righteous idealism becomes a living reality, that no matter how horrific this idealism becomes these idealized concepts take on a life of their own, and we as a mass become subservient to this living identity … become part of its living identity. Are we thus slaves to our own collective madness? Do we become the pure evil that we so profess not to be? Is this tragic metaphor of our lost identity … the fallen angels of mass murderers, a phenomenon unique to our collective souls … if so, then evil has again triumphed over good, and we have truly become the lost ones.

There are tears which pierce through the earth and rise as stars in other skies. I wonder who has wept our stars. E.M. Cioran, “Tears and Saints”


Men are so quick to blame the gods:
They say that we devise their misery.
But they themselves – in their depravity
Design grief greater than the griefs
That fate assigns.

Homer’s The Odyssey

The faces of mass murderers show no trace of the madness that lies within. Seeing them in their military uniforms give no clue to the cruelty that lies beneath. Only the carnage that they leave behind reveals the terror and insanity that is their true hallmark … the state of the revolutionary mind, which, when all is said and done, is a vengeance of genocide on all who opposed them.

The pain of realizing that these heartless men and women are part of our communal humanity makes it all the more unbearable. The twentieth century was the first century that was able to document the truth of this very dark side of human behavior. It can no longer be hidden behind fanciful statements, the great lies that justify such hideous acts of barbarism. Maybe, just maybe, with the ability to capture and document the terror of it all, these holocausts that continue to occur throughout human history, we may be able to shame those who are responsible for such inhumane acts, to stop these great evils. But I am not optimistic. This communal sin that evolves out of these hideous acts lies deep within. And as long as we are, this behavior will always be part of us.

Etching Plates

Cover Page

I. The Invisible Barrier: Searching for a way out of the invisible barriers that encompass our existential souls where the consciousness of evil lays at the threshold of our being.

II. The Mirrored Images: The ultimate act of confrontation occurs with the mirrored images of our inner soul which finds the desire and the will to kill that lies hidden within us.

III. The Communal Rage: The entwining of our communal rage that blends the evil which fortifies the great lies that justifies our hate and cruelty for others.

IV. Obsessive Idealism: The metamorphosis of the mind where obsessive idealism forms into total inhuman insanity where the conception of the final solution to purify the revolution begins.

V. Ideology of Madness: The transformation of all truths into the great lie, the true fanatical ideology of madness. Here the propaganda of insanity forms the acceptance of the need to annihilate all opposition to the great cause.

VI. The True Believers: The true believers, fanatics composed of the death squads, the killing machines of pure evil, labeled as the heroes of the revolution, exposed for what they are – the ghouls of death, the grand delusions of madmen, the devourers of human flesh.


When we peer into our existential selves, it is not the silence that is so disturbing. It is that vast void of empty nothingness. In this world without boundaries only the touch of pain will give it life. This is where the terror begins.

To relieve the terror, the pain of this nothingness of supreme silence, we must act, and hate being the primal rage of our basic instincts, we acknowledge this world with the desperation of drowning men. We rebel with hate. For hate is better than nothing. It gives us recognition. Thus, pleasure is drawn from hate. But hate has no limits, life achieves no purpose, and ultimately, we become existentially alone, and the true rebellion begins.

Uncontrollable rage becomes our vengeance to this silence and for this aloneness. God in his divine silence remains silent. This silence, the rejection of our being, turns our rage to hatred in its totality, and that total hate of God is the Mark of Cain. It is the absolute rebellion against the silence of the Supreme Being. With this hate, we seal our souls in murder, greed, cruelty and cynicism. They become our gift to the human dilemma. For the human dilemma is to despise God in his silence, because without his word the search for meaning becomes meaninglessness. It is nothing. Without meaning, life must then be purposeless and thus be annihilated. That is the true vengeance of man against God. The right to commit genocide, to annihilate all life becomes our betrayal to God’s silent betrayal. To kill all mankind is to avenge God’s silence. If God cannot feel our pain and speak, then we, the man-god, must make him feel our pain with the cries of our victims. Otherwise, we are nothing -- and the madness begins again.

The nihilism of Modern man’s mentality was born from the hubris delusions of a 19th century madman, the Marquis de Sade. For Sade, and other nihilists who followed, focused their revenge on life. They sought the absolute freedom and this had to be done with absolute rebellion. This rebellion was against all creation. And it was founded on hatred. Sade expounds that murder is an attribute of the Divinity. We die because God wills it in silence. If God kills and repudiates man, then mankind, who had become divine through the act of man’s transcendence to earth as a man-god at the end of the 18th century through the metaphysical rebellion of the French revolution, has the right to become like God. And in this God-like transformation he, the man-god, can kill with retribution. With this new ascendance there is nothing to stop man from killing and repudiating his fellow man, for now he is in the image of this hated God of incomprehensible death.

In the nihilist philosophy, God was conceived as a criminal divinity. And if he is a criminal divinity, his laws and justice are without merit. Man-god, if he were to be absolutely free and God-like, must discard morality. With Sade the rebellion was to free us from any limits of freedom. Divine justice must cease to exist. The divinity of man must be guided only by his passions, and morality, if it is to exist, is willed and exists without the benefit of God’s Commandments. At the core of unleashed passions lay the need for total freedom … the freedom of all the basic instincts. These instincts, raw, malevolent and full of rage, cannot be hindered by pity, for true freedom cannot and must not be restrained by compassion.

Under these concepts of total freedom, Sade and his followers justified cruelty, theft, murder and cynicism as the only real power. They demanded that they be tolerated under the new dispensation. Sade also knew that “he who kills must pay with his own life.” Therefore, the license to destroy is the struggle to dominate or be destroyed. As Sade and his heirs apparent saw it, the laws of the world are nothing more than the laws of force, and this is the absolute will to power over others. For Sade this meant that man’s true emancipation is consummated in the absolute freedom in debauchery, cruelty and murder. Unlimited freedom in their eyes implies the negation of pity. Pity must be totally eradicated. The sadistic ideals of Sade’s society were codified in the natural wickedness of mankind. He fantasized the construction of citadels of force and hatred, calculating mathematically the amount of freedom he intended to destroy in his victims. In the end he concludes that the maximum enjoyment of these desperate depraved desires coincide with the maximum pleasure of their destruction. This implies that the maximum pleasure must derive its pleasure from the power a creative solitary uniqueness of cruelty, and all power must be unique and solitary. Murder must be repeated. In their turn the masters of terror will tear each other to pieces. The consequences of such insanity are the consequence of absolute nihilism of the world. To complete this task of a total apocalypse there was the need or the creation of a complete totalitarianism society with universal crime, master and slaves and an aristocracy of absolute cynicism. As Sade contemplates his attack on creation he states, “I abhor nature…” In his delusions of madness he dreams of technicians who can pulverize the universe. “We could perhaps attack the sun, deprive the universe of it, or use it to set fire to the world …”

Marquis de Sade was a sadistic deviant committed to the asylum for the insane. His revolutionary dreams lived only in his delusions. But his hatred for life and his acts of unimaginable violence were uncannily prophetic. He totally understood the evil of his madness. Kill God, remove his probations and you kill humanity. With God and his probations removed from the equation of all human thought, mythology dies and so does human history. If God is only imaginary, then all human myth is imaginary. And when we destroy the myth of our identity then we must see ourselves as cold, naked and alone, a thinking predator without a conscience and thus without a destiny.

Nietzsche tried to look into this chasm. He concluded that if life is not guided by superior values, if chance is all there is, then complete freedom is a step into an appalling blindness. Therefore, if man is to accept nihilism, and God is dead, then man, if he is to accept life, must affirm himself with the affirmation of virtuous creation. He felt that if man is to transmute his origin of value this must be done by replacing critical values with creative values. And these values must respect what exist. He states, “If we can not make of God’s death a great renunciation and a perpetual victory over ourselves, we shall have to pay for that omission.” Man must be responsible for his own destiny and this destiny must be guided by virtue.

If Sade was the prophet of nihilistic self-destruction and despair, then Nietzsche was its conscience. Sade wanted no salvation. Nietzsche felt that man needed one if he was to remain human. Nietzsche knew that if God could not be man’s salvation then man must be his own salvation. Nietzsche knew that the approaching battle for man’s humanity was coming. “The time is approaching when we shall have to struggle for the domination of the world, and this struggle will be fought in the name of philosophical principles.” With these words Nietzsche announces the coming of the apocalypse of the 20th century

Nietzsche and Marx chose the assent of history to define man’s destiny. Sade’s followers wanted history to end. Both felt that our relevance to the past had no meaning. By doing this they negated the principles of both Greek and Judea/Christian religions as relevant factors in the origin of western civilization … the first as the principle of human behavior, the second, the myth of the Beyond as the consequences of human behavior. With them eliminated, neither the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven nor the principles of human behavior could be a guide for determining human evolution. The moral taboos of the Greek Gods and compassion and love of the Judea/Christian religions were no longer relevant for human destiny. Man could create his own destiny. A new set of moralities could be designed for the coming of a kingdom of heaven on earth. The man-god could create his own Paradise without the intervention of Divine thought, for he is now his own divinity.

Tragically, as we now see in retrospect, morality, when it is man- made, devours itself. As rivals for the creation of man-made paradise for the new man, opposing philosophies must reconstruct these creations from their own concepts. When the principles are based on the lust for power, they must either create their own apocalypse, rush to madness or suicide, or, with brute force, murder and destroy all others. Once locked into this spiraling madness, modern man excluded himself from all Divine consciousness. For he must, if he is a true nihilist, live by nihilistic rules. Nietzsche grounded his nihilism in virtue. Sade followers, the true prophets of total self-destruction, would not. Rebellion kills men. Revolutions destroy both men and principles. Almost all revolutions have been homicidal. Without Nietzsche’s virtue, nihilism of the 20th century became a living hell.

The man who transformed metaphysical rebellion to revolutionary reality was Hegel. He took Sade and Nietzsche’s metaphysical rebellion from the abstract to the concrete. He saw through the theory of the divine transcendence to the man-god, the concept of the universal human soul as virtuous and beautiful. He claimed that this theory was an atheistic adaptation of religious hypocrisy. For him, Rousseau’s origin of man was a lie. He also discerned the seeds of terror in man’s beginning. If man is to have a new beginning as theorized by the French Revolution it must, if it is to break from the hypocrisy of the past, create a new beginning through absolute terrorism. This must be done not by abstract reasoning but by concrete universal reason. From this point on all abstract theory of Revolutionary thought became a stream of historical events. The heritage of mankind for Hegel was nothing but the fight to the death of opposing forces. It was and always had been for a conquest of absolute power and universal imperialism.

Rules of action were replaced by action itself without rules. In the end, Hegel’s philosophy exalts destruction for its own sake. His rationale drove him to the point of being irrational. For him there was no reconciliation of the formal principles of virtue. Reconciliation as well as virtue must be destroyed. God is willed dead. The morality of principles in which the memory of God is preserved must be destroyed. Hatred for the hypocrisy of formal virtue will then be realized. The abandoned earth can now be delivered by naked force. Lies and violence can be adopted as legitimate forms of idealism in the same spirit as religious ideals were adopted to legitimatize grace. Sanction from above is replaced by the sanction of human terrorism. Terrorism becomes a legitimate form of political choice.

The conqueror will always be right. Life is now conceived in historical terms of the dialectics of master and slave. For Hegel, and those who will follow, there is no other real law. Although Hegel tried to repudiate terror as an active choice of human political behavior and only theorized it in achieving universal change, the threshold was crossed. His followers would bring theory into action. The origin of modern day politics was cemented to Hegel’s logic. His 20th century followers brought it to its appalling conclusion …


Rousseau’s concepts of the noble savage, which was the foundation of the French Revolution, was based on a romantic interpretation of human origin. Darwin’s observations leave little doubt to man’s true origins

Charles Darwin notes on Tierra del Fuego, “… pressed in winter by hunger, they kill and devour their old women before they kill their dogs: the boy being asked why answered, “Doggies catch otters, old women, no.” This boy described the manner in which they are killed by being held over smoke and thus choked: he imitated their screams as a joke, and described the parts of their bodies which are considered best to eat. Horrid as such a death by the hands of friends and relatives must be, the fears of the old women, when hunger begins to press, are more painful to think of; we were told that they then often run away into the mountains, but that they are pursued by the men and brought back to the slaughter-house of their own firesides…

Without God’s love, or the myths of God’s divine love, we are lost in the wilderness.


“Freedom is an ethical principle of demonic essence.”
E.M. Ciorian, Short History of Decay.

© 2001 Charles S. Klabunde