eSubtitles by tranquil87 (Etienne-Emile Antikatastaseis) In the beginning of the ’80s, 21 de l’Odeon Street, Paris, In three garret rooms joined together to serve as an apartment lives a sage. The legend says that, insomniac, he works during the night and never sees anyone. Even though many of his books have been rewarded with prizes, which he has all refused, the general public ignores who he is. But the man is indifferent towards it. Emil Cioran, or simply
Cioran, like we say Voltaire, Rousseau
or Nietzsche, contents himself with thinking and writing at his own rhythmn. “It is incredible that the prospect of having a biographer has made no one renounce having a life.” “A portrait is only interesting if we record its ridiculousness. This is why it is so difficult to write about a friend or on a contemporary author that we esteem. It is the absurdities that humanize a character.” “If Nietzsche, Proust, Baudelaire or Rimbaud
survive the fluctuations of fashions, they owe it to the disinterestedness
of their cruelty, to their demonic surgery, to the generosity of their spleen. What makes a work last, what prevents it to age, is its ferocity. A gratuitous affirmation? Consider the prestige of the Gospels, that aggressive book, a venomous text if ever there was one.” In 1986, A small book of portraits, “Anathemas and Admirations”, finally makes him known. Cioran becomes a reference; The moralist of the end of our era. But of this moralist we know next to nothing. Only that he is of Romanian origins, and that he abandonned his original language for French until he became one of our greatest writer of prose and that, contrary to the legend, he knows a lot of people. “But who really is Cioran?” To see things as they really are… renders life almost completely intolerable. Myself because I have, I believe, at least in part things as they really are, I could never act. I have always remained on the fringe of actions. So, is it desirable that people come to see things as they really are? I don’t know… I believe that, in general, people are incapable of it. So therefore it is true that only a monster can see things as they really are, because the monster lies outside of humanity.” Cioran doesn’t profit from his recent success in France and abroad. Afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease he is hospitalized at the Broca Hospital, where he will never get out of and where he dies four years later, the 21st of June, 1995. “Death is the solidest thing life has invented, so far.” Right then, the polemic explodes. The very night of his burial, An article in “Le Monde” (“The World”)
initiates the attack: Cioran was, in his youth, close to the Iron Guard, a Romanian crypto-fascist movement. And thus, the adversary of utopias, had praised Hitler; the paragon of tolerance had been anti-semitic. Only just inaugurated,
the new god becomes the devil… but who really is Cioran? “Am I a renegade like you insinuate? “A homeland is but a camp in the desert”, says a Tibetan text. I don’t go as far: I would give all the landcapes of the world
for that of my childhood. And I must add, though,
that if I make a paradise out of it, only the tricks or infirmity
of memory can be held responsible. Pursued by our origins, we all are.” I was born in a village in, the Carpathian Mountains, at 12 Km from Sibiu – Harmannstadt. I liked the farmers very much. Really, I kind of worshiped them. I really loved this village. My father was a priest, My mother, curiously, was not a believer and because of that was much more open-minded
than my father, he had faith, but he wasn’t
some kind of fanatic, not at all, it was just his career. Pope in a large village, Cioran’s father is an important character, a prominent citizen and a man of letters, Who will later teach theology courses, at the faculty of theology of Sibiu. Orthodoxy is then in Transilvania,
much more than just a religion. It is, with the language, the only national
cement of Romania. Even though they have the majority rule,
they have lived for centuries under Hungarian domination. The Cioran family
is very united. Will be born successively: Virginia, said ‘Gica’, then Emil and, finally Aurel,
nicknamed Relu, with whom Cioran will correspond
during all his life. Initially I despised my mother, then one day she told me: “For me, there is only Bach.” From this moment on, I realized I resembled her. “When I bring to mind my years
in the Carpathians, I have to make an effort not to cry. It’s very simple I cannot imagine
that there could be someone whose childhood could compare to mine. The sky and the earth belonged to me,
literally, even my apprehensions were joyful: I would get up and go to bed as master of creation. I was conscious of my happiness and could forsee
that I was going to lose it. A secret fear was eating away at my days.” “I sensed in this afternoon
of my childhood, that a very severe event had
just occurred: it was the first awakening,
the first clue: the precusory sign
of self-awareness. Up until that day I had only been a being, starting at that point
I was more and less than that. Every ‘I’ begins with a crack and a revelation.” “When I left this village,
at 10 years old to go to college in Sibiu… I will never forget the day
my father brought me to Sibiu. I was crying, I had some kind of premonition:
paradise was over.” “The task of the solitary man
is to be even more solitary.” “Adrift in the Vague, I clign to each wisp of affliction
as to a drowning man’s plank.” “Children whose parents
do not make them blush are irrevocably condemned to mediocrity. Nothing leads to sterility more
than to admire one’s progenitors.” At the beginning of classes in September 1921, Emil is transfered in a pension in Sibiu, where he follows the courses
of the college Gheorghe Lazar. Solitude, associated with boredom is for him a painful discovery. He will later go on to speak of a sentiment
of a “fall into time”. Essentially, boredom is centered upon time on the horror of time,
on the fear of time, the disclosure of time, the awareness of time. those who are not aware of time passing
do not get bored. It’s not the time that passes, it’s the time that doesn’t pass.” Excellent student, Cioran accumulates the ‘very good’
marks on his school reports He is also an avid reader. At the Astra library founded in the 19th century,
by Romanian Nationalists, he becomes passionate about Dostoeyvsky and he discovers the 18th century French literature:
Voltaire, Diderot and Rousseau, from whom he copies entire pages. “In my early youth -he would later write, to his friend,
the philosopher Constantin Noica- seduced me solely the
libraries and the brothels.” Founded by German colonists
in the 12th century, Sibiu was first named Hermannstadt and only took its actual name in 1920, during the rejoining of
Transylvania with the Greater Romania. Sibiu is then a great
cosmopolitan city where we speak three languages:
German, Hungarian and Romanian. In 1924, the father of Cioran
is nominated Proto-Pope in Sibiu, a sort of archdeacon, we could say. His family comes over to join him;
they move into a large Bourgeois home, on Tribunal Street, located right next to the Orthodox Church. 50 years later,
Cioran will write to his brother: “My dear Relu, I contemplated
with an unspeakable nostalgia this little solitary street where I would love to walk
at this moment. Impossible to imagine my youth
without it. The decaying of the houses
confers to them an additional poetic trait; and the color of these large roofs… a city for adolescents and old men.” After my city of birth this is the city that I have adored
the most, this is where, I told myself,
the biggest drama of my life occured, which lasted multiple years: I lost my ability to sleep. And I consider that to be the biggest drama that can happen in a life. I would go out after midnight
walk around in the streets, where there was only me and prostitutes. The nights in Sibiu were
the most extraordinary moments in my life.” “During hours I would walk around at night, similar to a ghost. People thought I was deranged.” Insomnia will follow
Cioran during all his life it will be the foundation, in part,
of his worldview. “More than once I happened
to get out of my house…” “…because if I had stayed,
I wasn’t sure that I could resist some sudden resolution. The street is more reassuring,
because we think less about ourself, and everything there just
weakens and deteriorates, starting with dismay.” “We learn more during one sleepless night than we do during one year of
being able to sleep. Might as well say that getting beaten up is
much more instructive than napping.” The Bucarest where Cioran comes
to frequent the courses of the Faculty of Philosophy is no longer the peaceful capital
of the small off-centered kingdom of Moldavia and Wallachia. It’s the industrial center, financial and
cultural, of a country that has nearly doubled in both surface and population. It’s a city which wants itself to be
elegant, European: the “little Paris of the Balcans”, which Paul Morand
will later come to describe in a famous book titled, “Bucarest”. Cioran integrates himself rapidly
within the intellectual milieu of the capital. He frequents the fashionable establishments: Capsa, the Corso Cafe,
the brewery Caru cu Bere. This doesn’t prevent him from obtaining
his degree with distinction in Philosophy. He is published at 23 years old, with his first book with noticeable Nietzschean accents: “On the Heights of Despair”. The Romanian youth of the ’30s, lead by Mircea Eliade, the future great historian of religions, recognizes him as one of them; but Cioran is far already. Having obtained a scholarship
he goes to study in Germany. Initially in Berlin, then in Dresden and finally in Munich. He witnesses the establishing
of Hitler’s dictatorship, He observes the auto-da-fé’s, the pogrom
of the “Night of Broken Glass”, the major Nazi gatherings. and the future skeptic . . . is enthusiastic. Correspondent of the weekly,
far-right Romanian paper “Vremea” (“The Time”), he praises the Nazi lifestyle: its heroism, its mysticism. He applauds the taking-out of
the SA during the “Night of the Long Knives”. He finally writes: “there are no
political men in today’s world which inspire in me more sympathy
and admiration than Hitler”. Back in his country, in the grip of
a permanent political crisis, Cioran publishes a nationalist book: “The Transfiguration of Romania”,
which contains anti-semitic chapters. While praising the Jewish
as the most intelligent, talented and insolent
peoples in the world; he also writes: “We must understand
once and for all, that the Jews are not interested in
living in a strong Romania, one conscious of itself”. But Cioran is not an activist, He is a passionate man, who is
enthusiastic about the Iron Guard, a strange Fascist – but also mystical –
movement. Its leader, Codreanu the Captain, wants to operate a moral
regeneration of Romania; but contrarily to Mircea Eliade and to the majority of the
young Romanian intelligentsia, Cioran will never adhere
to the Legionary Movement. in a text recovered
after his death, undoubtedly written in the ’50s, Cioran will do his self-criticism. I’m very knowledgeable on the topic
of obsession I have had more of them than anybody. I know how much grip an idea
can have on you, how far it can take you,
what it can lead you to do; the dangers of madness to which it exposes you. The bigotry and the idolatry
which it implicates, the obligation of
inconsiderateness that stems from it. As such, it occurred to me
well before my thirties of developing a passion for my country a desperate passion: aggressive,
a dead end, which tormented me for years. My country! I desperately wanted to hang on to it but I had no means to. I couldn’t find in it any reality –
neither in the present nor in the past. I wanted it to be powerful, excessive, insane, Like an evil force, a fatality which
would make the world tremble; but it was small, modest without any of the attributes
that contribute to a destiny. A kind of movement
began during this time, which wanted to reform everything,
even the past. I believed in it sincerely
only for a moment, but this movement
was the only hint that our country could be something other than
a fiction. And it was a cruel movement, a mix of prehistory
and prophecy, a mysticism of the prayer and the revolver and which all authorities persecuted and sought out to be persecuted. Because it had committed the
inexpiable fault of conceiving of a future
to that which could have none. All of the leaders were beheaded, their corpses thrown in the streets: they had a destiny, the ones who exempted
their country of having one. They redeemed their motherland
with their insanity, because they were bloody martyrs. Us, the youth of my country, lived through senselessness:
it was our daily bread. Situated in a corner of Europe, despised or neglected by the universe, we wanted to be known:
“making history” were the words which were
constantly on our lips; it was the “magic word”. I was writing a book
at that time about my country. Perhaps no one has ever attacked
his country with such violence. It was the ranting of a demented man, It was like the hymn of an assassin
or the howling theory of a patriot without a homeland. I was thirsty for inexorableness. Those were the good days: when I believed in the prestige of
the unfortunate passions, I loved the struggle. Truth is, during that time I had
an insatiable need for folly, of an active folly; I
needed to destroy and I spent my days conceiving
of images of annihilation. The idea that something
came to exist and could exist without care for
my will for destruction, gave me fits of rage, made me tremble for entire nights. And this is when I understood that
the cruelty of man surpasses significantly the
one of animals: it is everything, while
that of the beast lasts only for a moment and only applies to
the immediate object, but our own reaches such proportions, that, not knowing whom to destroy anymore,
becomes fixed on ourselves. This is what happened with me: I became the center of my hatred. I had hated my country, the whole
of mankind and the universe; all that was left to lash out
against was myself, which is what I did
by the means of despair. In 1937, Cioran, after
getting his scholarship, leaves Romania definitively, and moves to Paris. “We must side with the oppressed on every occasion, even when they are in the wrong, though without losing sight
of the fact that they are molded of the same
mclay as their oppressors.” “Having always lived in fear
of being surprised by the worst, I have tried in every circumstance
to get a head start, flinging myself into misfortune
long before it occurred.” “You are done for – a living dead man –
not when you stop loving, but stop hating. Hatred preserves.” I’ve been living in hotels for 25 years. this has a benefit, we are fixed nowhere,
we depend on nothing, we lead the life of a passer-by; feeling like we are always
on the point of departure, perception of a reality
supremely provisional. “Notebooks” Cioran first lives on
Sommerard Street, not far from the Sorbonne University, where he is supposed to prepare
a doctoral thesis on Bergson. He will never start it. “I am without a doubt the most
inoccupied person in the world”, he ironizes. “I was ready to do anything not to
earn a living, and accept all humilitations. To be free, one must be ready
to endure every single humilitation, it was somewhat the program
of my life. In Paris I had organized my life, but it didn’t turn out like I wanted. I have always lived here in the Latin Quarter, as a student, and I can tell you that until 1950… I was subscribed–registered at the Sorbonne University, living as a student… really, simply as a student. In 1950, I was convoked, they said: “Listen, you’re now 40 years old… It’s over. You can no longer
eat from the canteens”, etc. It was for me a devastating hit… I lived as a parasite of the university, even though I had nothing in common
with this university. If it could have continued,
my life planning was done, until my death I would have kept
living as a student.” During the occupation,
Cioran leads a Bohemian lifestyle. Every afternoon he goes to the “Café de Flore”, “to warm myself up”, he says. He bumps into Sartre, but
never introduces himself to him. He qualifies him as an ‘entrepreneur
of ideas’ rather than a philosopher. In fact, he mostly frequents the Romanians: Ionesco, and the great Jewish essayist
Benjamin Fondane, who will die during
deportation in 1944, despite the efforts of Cioran
to try and save him. Every day he goes to the library
of the Romanian Church of Paris. “I have learned more Romanian
during my first years living in France than I have during the whole of my youth in Romania”,
he admits. In brief, Cioran indulges himself. “The guy who gets up in the morning has the illusion of starting something; but if you’ve been up all night,
you won’t be starting anything. For the insomniac there is no difference
between day and night. It’s a sort of never-ending period.” Cioran then decides to explore
France on his bicycle. “During months… I was staying in youth hostels, and it was the strenuous physical effort,
doing 100 kilometers per day, that allowed me to overcome the crisis. Thanks to his travels,
his scholarship is renewed. “If his doctoral thesis isn’t advancing, then at least he is getting
to learn about our country.” “During the time where
I was biking for months, through France, my greatest joy was to
stop in countryside cemetaries, lying down between two tombs
and smoking for hours. I remember it as
the most active period of my life.” “I was in a village in Dieppe,
trying to translate Mallarmé into Romanian. Suddenly, I realized it was totally stupid: “But why?… I have no talent for this.” Abruptly I made the decision
to start writing in French and it revealed itself being much more difficult
than I would have thought.” Cioran converts himself to the French language, a decision which will
change everything for him. It would be to embark
upon the telling of a nightmare, to tell you the story
of my relations in great detail with this
borrowed idom, with all these words that are
thought and rethought, refined, subtle to the point of no longer existing, curved under the exactions of nuance, inexpressive for having expressed everything, frighteningly precise,
charged with fatigue and reserve, so discreet as to assume vulgarity. A syntax so rigid, of a cadaveric dignity
which encircles them and assigns them a position where
God himself couldn’t remove them. What a consumption of coffee,
of cigarettes and of dictionaries to write a somewhat correct sentence in this inaccessible language, which to me is
too noble, too distiguished. I unfortunately realized it afterwards, when it was too late
to turn away from it; had I known, I would have never
abandoned ours, which I sometimes regret for its
smell of freshness and rottenness, the mix of sun and dung,
the nostalgic ugliness, the superb slovenliness. “One does not inhabit a country;
one inhabits a language. That is our country, our fatherland
– and no other.” Cioran begins the writing of
“A Short History of Decay”. The writing of his first book in French takes him long years to complete. It necessitated no less than four
complete rewritings. The “Short History” was an explosion. While writing it, I was under the impression
of escaping from a feeling of oppression, without which I would have never been able to
keep going for very long: it was necessary to breathe, necessary to explode. I felt the need for a
decisive explanation, not so much with men than with
existence itself, which I would have liked to
provoke in a duel, if only to see
who would prevail in the end. With his first book, Cioran
detaches himself from his extremist youth. “Genealogy of Fanaticism” “Scaffolds, dungeons, jails flourish only in the shadow of a faith – of that need to believe which
has infested the mind forever. The devil pales beside the man
who owns a truth, *his* truth.” Published in 1949, The book is given
an entire page in “Combat”, the great intellectual daily of the epoch. Three years later, appears the
“Syllogisms of Bitterness”. In 10 years, this book only
ends up selling 200 copies, whereas today it is his most read
collection of aphorisms. “I was totally unknown for
30 years. My books weren’t selling at all. I accepted this condition very well, it corresponded with
my vision of things. The only important years
are those lived in anonymity, because being unknown is a delight. I was being presented in salons… because there was a time where I liked
to drink whisky, I went to receptions… they’d introduce me as
the friend of Ionesco and Beckett.” (laughs) Before glory came, Cioran was a kind
of password… when we stumbled upon someone
who read him, we felt mysteriously
ensured of a certain complicity and no less mysteriously even, ensured of an indulgence. That Cioran could lead to indulgence that is also one of his paradoxes. “If I had to renounce my dilettantism, it is in howling that I would specialize.” “A great character is not open
but closed: its strength resides in his
massive refusals.” Cioran is completely counter-current
to the present dominating ideas. While the Sartrian norm of ‘engaged literature’ triumphs, he publishes his great political book:
“History and Utopia”. Which in the name of realism,
denounces the deadly effects of the dream in politics. Whenever I happen to be
in a city of any size, I marvel that riots
do not break out every day: massacres, unspeakable carnage,
a doomsday chaos. How can so many people coexist
in a space so confined without destroying each other,
without hating each other *to death*? As a matter of fact, they do hate each other,
but they do not measure up to their hatred. This mediocrity, this
impotence saves society, ensures its continuance and its stability. Yet I marvel more that,
society being what it is, certain people have ventured to
conceive of another one which is totally different. What could be the cause of so much
naiveté, or of so much inanity? We act only under the
fascination of the impossible: which is to say that a society
incapable of generating- and of dedicating itself to-a utopia
is threatened with fossilisation and collapse. But utopia, let’s remember,
signifies ‘no where’. And from where are those cities
which evil doesn’t touch, where we bless labour
and where no one fears death? We are compelled to a felicity
formed of geometrical idylls, of regulated ecstasies, of a thousand
nauseating wonders as the ones necessarily presented in a world which is
perfect, fabricated. Utopia is the grotesque en rose, the need to associate happiness –
that is, the improbable- with becoming, and to coerce an optimistic
aerial vision to the point where it rejoins
its own source: the very cynicism it sought to combat.
In sum, a monstruous fantasy. But life is rupture, heresy,
derogation from the norms of matter. And man, in relation to life,
is heresy to the second degree, victory of the individual,
of whim, aberrant apparition, schismatic animal that society
-sum of sleeping monsters- aims to bring back on the right path. Thus he gains his reputation:
Cioran is a pessimist. “What spoils the French revolution
for me’ is that its promoters are born actors, that the guillotine is
merely a decor. The history of France, as a whole,
seems a bespoke history, an acted history: everything in it is perfect
from the theatrical point of view. It is a performance,
a series of gestures and events which are watched
rather than suffered, a spectable that takes ten centuries to put on. Whence the impression of frivolity which
even the Terror affords, seen from a distance”. I believe he was contented
observing the events of May ’68, and that it hadn’t troubled him much.
As is the case for the pessimist who cannot adhere to many illusions. “The last leaves dance as they fall. It takes a big dose of insensitivity
to confront autumn.” After “History and Utopia” He will publish a work
every 3 or 4 years, Which have titles sounding like
many statements of intentions. “The Fall into Time” “The Evil Demiurge” “The Trouble with Being Born” “Drawn and Quartered” In the beginning of the ’70s, thanks to the sister of one of
his admirers, Cioran moves into his legendary
apartment located on de l’Odeón Street. “It is sometimes useful to write books.” Contrary to his reputation
of being a hermit, he’s been living since 1947 with his partner: Simone Boué. “If a writer lives with a woman
who earns a living, he’s a procurer; in this sense, I have also been
a procurer”, he comments ironically. If he reads and writes enormously,
he also sees many people. As he recounts in his
“Anathemas and Admirations”, Henri Michaux brings him to see
scientific films at the “Museé de l’Homme”; he meets regularly with Beckett
in Luxembourg, and his friendship with Ionesco
remains intact. Detached from the concerns of history, his quest is but only within: How to live? How to exist? The central question of
philosophy since the Antiquity. “What has saved me is the idea
of suicide. Without the idea of suicide
I would have surely killed myself. What has allowed me to go on living… is knowing that I had this option,
always in sight. Truly, without this thought
I would have never been able to endure life; this feeling of being stuck down here
or something… For me, the idea of suicide
was always linked to the idea of freedom.” “We are all jokers:
we survive our problems”. “The desolation expressed
by a gorilla’s eyes. A funeral mammal. I am descended from that gaze.” “I have remarked that, in life, very
few beings have understood. You can meet great writers
who have understood absolutely nothing! People with talent,
but who are worth nothing! In contrast you can meet
someone on the streets, in a bar, and it’s eye-opening, someone who has gone in-depth,
who has tackled the great problems.” The anxious caretaker is more interesting than the philosopher
who is infatuated with himself. But really, I have really learned
a lot by being in contact with all kinds of people. In that sense, I can say that I haven’t
enormously frequented intellectual environments. I like talking with strangers,
I have a certain liking of the people, you could say. It comes from Romania essentially,
I must say… I was deeply touched by
by people who would have never read a book.” “I was walking late one night
along a tree-lined path; a chestnut fell at my feet. The noise it made as it burst,
the resonance it provoked in me, and an upheaval out of all proportion
to this insignificant event, thrust me into miracle,
into the rapture of the definitive, as if there were no more questions—
only answers. I was drunk on a thousand unexpected discoveries,
none of which I could make use of. This is how I nearly reached the Supreme. But instead I went on with my walk.” Despite having become stateless,
Cioran keeps in contact with his country, notably with his letters
to his brother Aurel (Relu). My dear Relu, One year has gone by
since the death of our mother, it appears to me as infinitely distant. After a certain time, everything becomes unreal, even the memory of someone
that we have loved. Yet, I often think of our mother, of everything that was exceptional about her,
of her vivacity, of her vanity-why not?- but especially, of her melancholia having transmitted to us
its flavor and its poison. Have you gone to Rasinari? Try not to think too much
about our losses. Have you taken a vacation? Write to me. Affectionately…” Since “Tears and Saints”,
his third book written in Romania, Cioran has an interest in the mystics. What caught his attention
in them is the ‘vertical adventure’, the desire to speak
on a one-to-one basis with God, to go outside of life, to revolt. At bottom, for me, the act of writing is a sort of dialogue with God. I say with God, but I am not a believer, although I cannot say that I am
an unbeliever either. But for me, this meeting with God
is in the act of writing… A solitude which meets another,
a solitude in front of another solitude… ‘God’ being more alone
than oneself. “Such a shame that, to reach God,
there is no bypassing faith.” “I would not want to live in a world
drained of all religious feeling. I am not thinking of faith
but of that inner vibration, which, independant of any belief
in particular, projects you into and sometimes *above* God…” “Without Bach, theology would be
devoid of an object, Creation would be fictive,
and Nothingness peremptory. If there is anyone who owes everything
to Bach, it is certainly God”. I would say that one of my great passions… my most important passion
has been Bach. It has been a very significant passion, and one which stayed…
00:40:37,836 –>00:40:40,828
Of all my passions, it is the one which has
remained absolutely intact. I had to admit that even my passion for
Dostoevsky has diminished, unlike with Bach. It has been, for me, a kind of religion.” This lucid man, who has demonstrated
the heights of clear-sightedness, decidedly cannot believe. “I have always lived within contradictions
and have never suffered from it. If I had been a systematic being
I would have had to lie in order to find a solution. Instead, not only did I accept
this insolvable character of things, but I’ve even found in it
a certain delight, the delight of the insolvable. I have never sought out to smooth down,
to reunite, or as the French say, to reconcile the irreconcilable. I have always
let in contradictions as they came, as much in my private life
as in theory. I have never had a goal,
I have sought out no result. I think that there cannot be,
in general just as well as for ourselves, neither goal nor result. Everything isn’t without meaning
-the word slightly puts me off’- but without necessity.” This complete refusal of transcendence should logically lead Cioran
to an integral realism; but this would also be an impasse, since lucidity has a price: inaction. Tempted by Buddhist wisdom, despite all his efforts to reach it, Cioran remains a tormented Westerner, incapable of detachment from his self. “All knowledge pushed to its limit
can be dangerous, and morbid, because life is endurable solely
because we don’t see it through to the end. An undertaking is only possible
if we have conserved a minimum of illusions. Complete lucidity is the void!” I’m not a nihilist… I am… it’s very hard to say… I am probably a negator,
but even negation… it is not an abstract negation,
like an exercise; It’s a visceral negation, isn’t it… which is an affirmation despite everything
… an explosion. Is a slap [in the face] a negation? Think of a slap…
-It’s an affirmation What I do is a negation
which is a slap which is an affirmation.” “The fact that life has no meaning
is a reason to live moreover, the only one”. “Truths”… we no longer wish to bear their buden
nor be deceived by them or be their accomplice… I dream of a world
where one could die for a comma”. Finally appeased having almost become a sage, Cioran is reconciled with life,
by way of style. Indeed, style represents for him much more than a literary demand, it is an art of living,
a ‘dandy ethic’, founded on elegance,
moderation, grace, silence. But in 1987, after “Anathemas and Admirations”, Cioran puts down his pen for good. “I’ve had enough of fulminating
against the world, against God, and for what? “It’s the tone also that is important. We have a tone and that is really mysterious,
because we cannot define it, we can only feel it. There is a kind of unreality, in all that is literature. It’s what we call a
‘lack of necessity’. With daily company
it is the same thing. You meet with some guy which
you haven’t seen in a long time, you talk for hours,
and it’s the void. You meet another person, you talk.. and then you go home devastated, overwhelmed. This is the real originality of beings. “We say: he has no talent,
only tone. But tone is precisely what cannot
be invented– we’re born with it. Tone is an inherited grace, the privilege some of us have
of making our organic pulsations felt, tone is more than talent,
it is its essence.” “Models of style: the swearword,
the telegram, the epitaph.” What is mysterious is this vitality
which pushes to do something. and maybe this is what life is… without getting caught up in fancy words. It’s that we do things
which we adhere to without believing in them. That’s pretty much it.” In the end, with time, everything exhausts itself
even cynicism. I haven’t exceeded cynicism, as a theoretical attitude,
I haven’t surpassed it; But we end up surpassing it
at the emotional level. Everything wears out. I have no reason to go back
on what I have written. Of saying: I was wrong, after all
things are not as terrible as that… No. But the things that we have expressed,
we believe a little less in.. Why? Because they detach themselves
from you. In that sense, really the fact
of writing-and everyone says it- is a kind of profanation. Because the things in which
you believe fully, from the moment
you have said them, they mean less to you. “There is of course love,
and I have always asked myself: when we have figured it all out,
when our gaze has pierced through everything, how can we still be
infatuated with anything at all? Yet, such a thing happens. It’s even what in life
is real and interesting. We can doubt of absolutely everything,
declare ourselves to be nihilists and yet fall in love
like the greatest fool. This theoretical impossibily of passion,
and which real life constantly evades, renders life to have an indisputable,
irresistible charm. We suffer, we laugh of our sufferings, and this fundamental contradiction finally might be what makes life
still worth living. The fact of living is something
so extraordinary, precisely when we have seen things
as they truly are; because this life which is
totally depreciated, let’s say, theoretically, somehow appears extraordinary
at the practical level. To live against [or despite] the evidence: every moment becomes a sort of heroism. “After all, I have not wasted my time,
I too have fidgeted, like anyone else, in this aberrant universe.” “We are all deep in a hell each of which moment is a miracle”. Subtitles by tranquil87 (Emil Sinclair)