Emil M. Cioran

Emil M.

Austria-Hungary-born Romanian Philosopher and Essayist

Author Quotes

Getting up in the middle of the night, I walked around my room with the certainty of being chosen and criminal, a double privilege natural to the sleepless, revolting or incomprehensible for the captives of daytime logic.

I pride myself on my capacity to perceive the transitory character of everything. An odd gift which spoiled all my joys; better: all my sensations. I have decided not to oppose anyone ever again, since I have noticed that I always end by resembling my latest enemy.

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

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

No human beings more dangerous than those who have suffered for a belief: the great persecutors are recruited from the martyrs not quite beheaded. Far from diminishing the appetite for power, suffering exasperates it. Far from diminishing the appetite for power, suffering exasperates it.

Our contortions, visible or secret, we communicate to the planet; already it trembles even as we do, it suffers the contagion of our crises and, as this grand mal spreads, it vomits us forth, cursing us the while.

Skepticism is the sadism of embittered souls.

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

There is no limit to suffering.

To think is to take a cunning revenge in which we camouflage our baseness and conceal our lower instincts.

We are born to exist, not to know, to be, not to assert ourselves.

What are you waiting for in order to give up?

Whenever I happen to be in a city of any size, I marvel that riots do not break out everyday: Massacres, unspeakable carnage, a doomsday chaos. How can so many human beings coexist in a space so confined without hating each other to death?

Glory - once achieved, what is it worth?

I seem to myself, among civilized men, an intruder, a troglodyte enamored of decrepitude, plunged into subversive prayers.

In this dream, I was flattering someone I despise. Waking, a greater self-loathing than if I had really committed such vileness...

Lucidity is the only vice which makes us free - free in a desert.

No longer wanting to be a man...dreaming of another form of failure.

Our first intuitions are the true ones.

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

The feeling of being the thousand years behind, or ahead, of the others, of belonging to the beginnings or to the end of humanity...

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

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

We cannot consent to be judged by someone who has suffered less than ourselves. And since each of us regards himself as an unrecognized Job...

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

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Emil M.
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Austria-Hungary-born Romanian Philosopher and Essayist