Emile M. Cioran

Emile M. Cioran

Emil Cioran (8 April 1911 – 20 June 1995) was a Romanian philosopher and essayist, who published works in both Romanian and French. His work has been noted for its pervasive philosophical pessimism, and frequently engaged with issues of suffering, decay, and nihilism. 

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Society is not a disease, it is a disaster. What a stupid miracle that one can live in it.

Intelligence flourishes only in the ages when belief withers.

To exist is a habit I do not despair of acquiring.

Jealousy - that jumble of secret worship and ostensible aversion.

Truths begin by a conflict with the police - and end by calling them in.

A distant enemy is always preferable to one at the gate.

A sudden silence in the middle of a conversation suddenly brings us back to essentials: it reveals how dearly we must pay for the invention of speech.

What surrounds us we endure better for giving it a name - and moving on.

Life is possible only by the deficiencies of our imagination and memory.

What pride to discover that nothing belongs to you - what a revelation.

The obsession with suicide is characteristic of the man who can neither live nor die and whose attention never swerves from this double impossibility.

What would be left of our tragedies if an insect were to present us his?

Anyone can escape into sleep we are all geniuses when we dream the butcher's the poet's equal there.

Progress is the injustice each generation commits with regard to its predecessors.

In every man sleeps a prophet and when he wakes there is a little more evil in the world.

Philosophers write for professors, thinkers for writers.

We would not be interested in human beings if we did not have the hope of someday meeting someone worse off than ourselves.

Man starts over again everyday in spite of all he knows against all he knows.

I'm simply an accident. Why take it all so seriously?

Ambition is a drug that makes its addicts potential madmen.

I foresee the day when we shall read nothing but telegrams and prayers.

We interest others by the misfortune we spread around us.

So long as man is protected by madness - he functions - and flourishes.

My mission is to kill time and time's to kill me in its turn. How comfortable one is among murderers.

We are afraid of the enormity of the possible.

We define only out of despair we must have a formula... to give a facade to the void.

We inhabit a language rather than a country.

We die in proportion to the words we fling around us.

The more we try to rest ourselves from our Egos the deeper we sink into it.

The fact that life has no meaning is a reason to live - moreover the only one.

Woes and wonders of Power that tonic hell synthesis of poison and panacea.

To venture upon an undertaking of any kind even the most insignificant is to sacrifice to envy.

Tolerance - the function of an extinguished ardor - tolerance cannot seduce the young.

No one recovers from the disease of being born a deadly wound if there ever was one.

We understand God by everything in ourselves that is fragmentary incomplete and inopportune.

Nothing is so wearing as the possession or abuse of liberty.

To act is to anchor in an imminent future so imminent it becomes almost tangible, to act is to feel you are consubstantial with that future.

It is because we are all imposters that we endure each other.

Our works whatever they may be derive from our incapacity to kill or to kill ourselves.

God - a disease we imagine we are cured of because no one dies of it nowadays.

Music is the refuge of souls ulcerated by happiness.

There is no means of proving it is preferable to be than not to be.

If we could see ourselves as others see us we would vanish on the spot.

Ennui is the echo in us of time tearing itself apart.

The task of the solitary man is to be even more solitary.

Crime in full glory consolidates authority by the sacred fear it inspires.

One does not inhabit a country, one inhabits a language. That is our country our fatherland - and no other.

By all evidence we are in the world to do nothing.

For you who no longer posses it freedom is everything for us who do it is merely an illusion.

When we cannot be delivered from ourselves we delight in devouring ourselves.

Glory - once achieved what is it worth?

The limit of every pain is an even greater pain.

Imaginary pains are by far the most real we suffer since we feel a constant need for them and invent them because there is no way of doing without them.

Sperm is a bandit in its pure state.

Chaos is rejecting all you have learned chaos is being yourself.

Great persecutors are recruited among martyrs whose heads haven't been cut off.

Every thought derives from a thwarted sensation.

A marvel that has nothing to offer democracy is at once a nation's paradise and its tomb.

Each concession we make is accompanied by an inner diminution of which we are not immediately conscious.

What does the future that half of time matter to the man who is infatuated with eternity?

Write books only if you are going to say in them the things you would never dare confide to anyone.

Criticism is a misconception: we must read not to understand others but to understand ourselves.

The mind is the result of the torments the flesh undergoes or inflicts upon itself.

Our first intuitions are the true ones.

Speech and silence. We feel safer with a madman who talks than with one who cannot open his mouth.

Life inspires more dread than death - it is life which is the great unknown.

Under each formula lies a corpse.

The fanatic is incorruptible: if he kills for an idea he can just as well get himself killed for one, in either case tyrant or martyr he is a monster.

Anyone who speaks in the name of others is always an imposter.

No one can enjoy freedom without trembling.

If at the limit you can rule without crime you cannot do so without injustices.

Everything is pathology except for indifference.

Life creates itself in delirium and is undone in ennui.

In order to have the stuff of a tyrant a certain mental derangement is necessary.

To Live signifies to believe and hope - to lie and to lie to oneself.

Revenge is not always sweet once it is consummated we feel inferior to our victim.

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

Nothing proves that we are more than nothing.

The Universal view melts things into a blur.

To want fame is to prefer dying scorned than forgotten.

Man must vanquish himself must do himself violence in order to perform the slightest action untainted by evil.

We derive our vitality from our store of madness.

In a republic that paradise of debility the politician is a petty tyrant who obeys the laws.

Negation is the mind's first freedom yet a negative habit is fruitful only so long as we exert ourselves to overcome it adapt it to our needs, once acquired it can imprison us.

Isn't history ultimately the result of our fear of boredom?

I have no nationality - the best possible status for an intellectual.

Philosophy: Impersonal anxiety, refuge among anemic ideas.

Torment for some men is a need an appetite and an accomplishment.

A people represents not so much an aggregate of ideas and theories as of obsessions.

Skepticism is the sadism of embittered souls.

A civilization is destroyed only when its gods are destroyed.

The fear of being deceived is the vulgar version of the quest for Truth.

A golden rule: to leave an incomplete image of oneself.

Consciousness is much more than the thorn it is the dagger in the flesh.

It is not worth the bother of killing yourself since you always kill yourself too late.

Since all life is futility then the decision to exist must be the most irrational of all.

We are born to Exist not to know to be not to assert ourselves.

Who Rebels? Who rises in arms? Rarely the slave but almost always the oppressor turned slave.

Impossible to spend sleepless nights and accomplish anything: if in my youth my parents had not financed my insomnias I should surely have killed myself.

Word - that invisible dagger.

One hardly saves a world without ruling it.

You are done for - a living dead man - not when you stop loving but stop hating. Hatred preserves: in it in its chemistry resides the mystery of life.