The temptation to exist

About Emil Cioran, from

“In the age of Walt Disney, this kind of darkness matters.”

Our age is notably optimistic and it makes us suffer hugely from being so. We are all, in private, a lot sadder than we are allowed to admit.

Writers like Cioran provide an occasion for the sadness inside all of us to be communally expressed and thereby a little, but only a little, diminished and softened.

“This is an author to read at moments of despair and melancholy. He doesn’t depress us, merely makes us feel less alone with our sorrows.”¹


Against Cioran:

The anguishes of E.M. Cioran by Roger Kimball, The New Criterion:

Quotes by Emil Cioran

Is it possible that existence is our exile and nothingness our home?

This very second has vanished forever, lost in the anonymous mass of the irrevocable. It will never return. I suffer from this, and I do not. Everything is unique—and insignificant.

I am detached from any country, any group. I am a metaphysically displaced person.

Man starts over again every day, in spite of all he knows, against all he knows.

Only one endowed with restless vitality is susceptible to pessimism. You become a pessimist — a demonic, elemental, bestial pessimist — only when life has been defeated many times in its fight against depression. Then destiny emerges in man’s consciousness as a form of the irreparable.

birth is a defeat.

The poor, by thinking unceasingly of money, reach the point of losing the spiritual advantages of non-possession, thereby sinking as low as the rich.

The curtain of the universe is moth-eaten, and through its holes we see nothing now but mask and ghost.


Peter Wessel Zapffe

We come from an inconceivable nothingness. We stay a while in something which seems equally inconceivable, only to vanish again into the inconceivable nothingness.

The seed of a metaphysical or religious defeat is in us all. For the honest questioner, however, who doesn’t seek refuge in some faith or fantasy, there will never be an answer.

The immediate facts are what we must relate to. Darkness and light, beginning and end.



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