Emil M. Cioran

Emil M.

Austria-Hungary-born Romanian Philosopher and Essayist

Author Quotes

Having destroyed all my connections, burned my bridges, I should feel a certain freedom, and in fact I do. One so intense I am afraid to rejoice in it.

If each of us were to confess his most secret desire, the one that inspires all his plans, all his actions, he would say: "I want to be praised."

It is an understatement to say that in this society injustices abound: in truth, it is itself the quintessence of injustice.

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

No one is responsible for what he is nor even for what he does. This is obvious and everyone more or less agrees that it is so. Then why celebrate or denigrate? Because to exist is to evaluate, to emit judgments, and because abstention, when it is not the effect of apathy or cowardice, requires an effort no one manages to make.

Philosophers write for professors; thinkers for writers.

Some have misfortunes; others, obsessions. Which are worse off?

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

To act is to anchor in the imminent future.

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

We derive our vitality from our store of madness.

What is that one crucifixion compared to the daily kind any insomniac endures?

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

He who hates himself is not humble.

If I have been able to hold out till now, it is because each blow, which seemed intolerable at the time, was followed by a second which was worse, then a third, and so on. If I were in hell, I'd want its circles to multiply, in order to count on a new ordeal, more trying than its predecessor. A salutary policy, with regard to torments at least.

It is because of speech that men give the illusion of being free. By speaking, they deceive themselves, as they deceive others: because they say what they are going to do, who could suspect they are not masters of their actions?

Man started out on the wrong foot. the misadventure in paradise was the first consequence. The rest had to follow.

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

Philosophy: Impersonal anxiety ; refuge among anemic ideas.

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

The more intense a spiritual leader's appetite for power, the more he is concerned to limit it to others.

To be human is no solution, any more than ceasing to be so.

Tragic paradox of freedom: the mediocre men who alone make its exercise possible cannot guarantee its duration.

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

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

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