Category Archives: Cioran

It’s when I finished studying it, at the point where I stopped believing in philosophy, that I began to read Nietzsche. Well, I realised that he wasn’t a philosopher, but was more: a temperament. So, I read him, but never systematically, now and then. But I really don’t read him anymore. I consider his letters his most authentic work, because in them he’s truthful, while in his other work he’s prisoner to his vision. In his letters one sees that he’s just a poor fellow, that he’s ill, exactly the opposite of everything he claimed. […] His work is an unspeakable megalomania. When one reads the letters he wrote at the same time, one sees that he’s lamentable, it’s very touching, like a character out of Chekhov.

— Cioran (via here)

Of all things one feels, nothing gives the impression of being at the very heart of truth so much as fits of unaccountable despair; compared to these, everything seems frivolous, debased, lacking in substance and interest.

— Cioran (via here)

Cioran quotes

… we belong to a clinical age when only cases count.

The pessimist has to invent new reasons to exist every day: he is a victim of the ‘meaning’ of life.

What distinguishes us from our predecessors is our offhandedness with regard to Mystery. We have even renamed it: thus was born the Absurd …

Death reaches so far, requires so much room, that I no longer know where to die.

How can a man be a philosopher? How can he have the effrontery to contend with time, with beauty, with God, and the rest? The mind swells and hops, shamelessly. Metaphysics, poetry – a flea’s impertinences …

Sure of themselves, the English are boring; thus they pay for the centuries of liberty during which they could live without recourse to cunning, to the sly smile, to expedients. Easy to understand why, diametrically opposite, it is the Jews’ privilege to be the most wide awake of peoples.

In other times, the philosopher who did not write but thought incurred no scorn thereby; ever since we began prostrating ourselves before the effective, the work has become the absolute of vulgarity; those who produce none are regarded as failures. But such failures would have been the sages of another age; they will redeem ours by having left no traces.

Boredom is a larval anxiety; depression, a dreamy hatred.

Sooner or later, each desire must encounter its lassitude: its truth …

Awareness of time: assault on time …

Erect I make a resolution; prone I revoke it.

Our disgusts? – Detours of the disgust with ourselves.

If just once you were depressed for no reason, you have been so all your life without knowing it.

Becoming: an agony without an ending.

The older I grow, the less I enjoy performing my little Hamlet.

Don Quixote represents a civilisation’s youth: he made up events; – and we don’t know how to escape those besetting us.

You cannot protect your solitude if you cannot make yourself odious.

I live only because it is in my power to die when I choose to: without the idea of suicide, I’d have killed myself right away.

Adrft in the Vague, I cling to each wisp of affliction as to a drowning man’s plank.

Without God, everything is nothingness; and God? Supreme nothingness.

The desire to die was my one and only concern; to it I have sacrificed everything, even death.

Nature has created individuals only to relieve Suffering, to help it spread and scatter at their expense.

If History had a goal, how lamentable would be the fate of those of us who have accomplished nothing! But in the universal purposelessness, we stand proud, ineffectual streetwalkers, riffraff well-pleased with having been right.

To hope is to contradict the future.

What a pity that to reach God we must pass through faith!

Our embrassment in the presence of a ridiculous man derives from the fact that we cannot imagine him on his deathbed.

Only optimists commit suicide, the optimists who can no longer be … optimists. The others, having no reason to live, why should they have any to die?

The Old Testament knew how to imtimidate Heaven, how to shake a fist at whatever was on high: prayer was a quarrel between the creature and its creator. Came the Gospels to make nice: Christianity’s unforgiveable error.

Even when we believe we have dislodged God from our soul, He still lingers: we realise that He finds it tedious there, but we no longer have sufficient faith to entertain Him …

On the frontiers of the self: ‘What I have suffered, what I am suffering, no one will ever know, not even I’.

Events – tumours of time.

Man secretes disaster.

The secret of my adaptation to life? – I’ve changed despairs the way I’ve changed shirts.

Each day is a Rubicon in which I aspire to be drowned.

The last resort to those stricken by fate is the idea of fate.

Not knowing humiliation, you are ignorant of what it is to arrive at the last stage of yourself.

The more we frequent men, the blacker our thoughts; and when, to clarify them, we return to our solitude, we find there the shadow they have cast.

— from Cioran, All Gall is Divided

(via here)


I’ve invented nothing. I’ve simply been the secretary of my sensations.

— Cioran