Emil M. Cioran

Emil M.

Austria-Hungary-born Romanian Philosopher and Essayist

Author Quotes

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

When we discern the unreality of everything, we ourselves become unreal, we begin to survive ourselves, however powerful our vitality, however imperious our instincts. But they are no longer anything but false instincts, and false vitality.

Freedom can be manifested only in the void of beliefs, in the absence of axioms, and only where the laws have no more authority than a hypothesis.

I long to be free - desperately free. Free as the stillborn are free.

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

Life is merely a fracas on an unmapped terrain, and the universe a geometry stricken with epilepsy.

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.

One hardly saves a world without ruling it.

Schisms and heresies are nationalisms in disguise.

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

The west - what curse has fallen upon it that at the term of its trajectory it produces only these businessmen, these shopkeepers, these racketeers with their blank stares and atrophied smiles... is it with such vermin as this that a civilization so delicate and so complex must come to an end?

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

We are afraid of the enormity of the possible.

Were we to undertake an exhaustive self-scrutiny, disgust would paralyze us, we would be doomed to a thankless existence.

When you know quite absolutely that everything is unreal, you then cannot see why you should take the trouble to prove it.

From denial to denial, his existence is diminished: vaguer and more unreal than a syllogism of sighs, how could he still be a creature of flesh and blood? Anemic, he rivals the Idea itself; he has abstracted himself from his ancestors, from his friends, from every soul and himself; in his veins, once turbulent, rests a light from another world. Liberated from what he has lived, unconcerned by what he will live; he demolishes the signposts on all his roads, and wrests himself from the dials of all time. I shall never meet myself again, he decides, happy to turn his last hatred against himself, happier still to annihilate - in his forgiveness - all beings, all things.

I never met one interesting mind that was not richly endowed with inadmissible deficiencies.

In most cases we attach ourselves to God in order to take revenge on life, to punish it, to signify we can do without it, that we have found something better, and we also attach ourselves to God in horror of men.

Life is nothing; death, everything. Yet there is nothing which is death, independent of life. It is precisely this absence of autonomous, distinct reality which makes death universal; it has no realm of its own, it is omnipresent, like everything which lacks identity, limit, and bearing: an indecent infinitude.

Never to have occasion to take a position, to make up one's mind, or to define oneself - there is no wish I make more often.

Only what has been conceived in solitude, face to face with God, endures - whether one is a believer or not.

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

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.

There are eyes which can no longer learn anything from the sun, and souls afflicted by nights from which they will never recover.

To live... in any sense of the word... is to reject others; to accept them, one must renounce, do oneself violence.

Author Picture
First Name
Emil M.
Last Name
Birth Date
Death Date

Austria-Hungary-born Romanian Philosopher and Essayist