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EMIL CIORAN QUOTES

Romanian philosopher and essayist (1911-1995)

Man is a robot with defects.

EMIL CIORAN, The Trouble With Being Born

The obsession with suicide is characteristic of the man who can neither live nor die, and whose attention never swerves from this double impossibility.

EMIL CIORAN, The New Gods

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 short, a monstrous fantasy.

E.M. CIORAN, History and Utopia

Life without utopia is suffocating, for the multitude at least: threatened otherwise with petrifaction, the world must have a new madness.

E.M. CIORAN, History and Utopia

If we had the courage to confront the doubts we timidly conceive about ourselves, none of us would utter an 'I' without shame.

EMIL CIORAN, A Short History of Decay

Each of us is born with a share of purity, predestined to be corrupted by our commerce with mankind.

EMILE CIORAN, A Short History of Decay

Chaos is rejecting all you have learned, Chaos is being yourself.

EMILE CIORAN, A Short History of Decay

Write books only if you are going to say in them the things you would never dare confide to anyone.

EMIL CIORAN, The Trouble with Being Born

A distant enemy is always preferable to one at the gate.

EMIL CIORAN, History & Utopia

Shame on the man who goes to his grave escorted by the miserable hopes that have kept him alive.

EMIL CIORAN, The Temptation to Exist

The only way of enduring one disaster after the next is to love the very idea of disaster: if we succeed, there are no further surprises, we are superior to whatever occurs, we are invincible victims.

EMIL CIORAN, The Trouble with Being Born

Existing is plagiarism.

EMIL CIORAN, Drawn and Quartered

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

EMIL CIORAN, A Short History of Decay

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

EMIL CIORAN, History & Utopia

We change ideas like neckties.

EMIL CIORAN, A Short History of Decay

A book is a suicide postponed.

EMIL CIORAN, The Trouble with Being Born

Consciousness is nature's nightmare.

EMIL CIORAN, Tears and Saints

For you who no longer posses it, freedom is everything, for us who do, it is merely an illusion.

EMIL CIORAN, History & Utopia

There was a time when time did not yet exist.

EMIL CIORAN, The Trouble with Being Born

True moral elegance consists in the art of disguising one's victories as defeats.

EMIL CIORAN, Drawn and Quartered

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

EMIL CIORAN, Tears and Saints

Intelligence flourishes only in the ages when belief withers.

EMIL CIORAN, A Short History of Decay

Skepticism is the sadism of embittered souls.

EMIL CIORAN, History & Utopia

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

EMIL CIORAN, The Trouble with Being Born

Tears do not burn except in solitude.

EMIL CIORAN, On the Heights of Despair

A great step forward was made the day men understood that in order to torment one another more efficiently they would have to gather together, to organize themselves into a society.

EMIL CIORAN, History & Utopia

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

EMIL CIORAN, A Short History of Decay

A marvel that has nothing to offer, democracy is at once a nation's paradise and its tomb.

EMIL CIORAN, History & Utopia

I would like to go mad on one condition, namely, that I would become a happy madman, lively and always in a good mood, without any troubles and obsessions, laughing senselessly from morning to night.

EMIL CIORAN, On the Heights of Despair

A civilization begins to decline the moment Life becomes its sole obsession.

EMIL CIORAN, A Short History of Decay

Life inspires more dread than death — it is life which is the great unknown.

EMIL CIORAN, A Short History of Decay

What is pity but the vice of kindness.

EMIL CIORAN, History & Utopia

God: a disease we imagine we are cured of because no one dies of it nowadays.

EMIL CIORAN, The Trouble with Being Born

It's not worth the bother of killing yourself, since you always kill yourself too late.

EMIL CIORAN, The Trouble with Being Born

Melancholy: an appetite no misery satisfies.

EMIL CIORAN, All Gall Is Divided

We are afraid of the enormity of the possible.

EMIL CIORAN, A Short History of Decay

To act is to anchor in the imminent future.

EMIL CIORAN, History & Utopia

Imaginary pains are by far the most real we suffer, since we feel a constant need for them and invent them because there is no way of doing without them.

EMIL CIORAN, The Trouble with Being Born

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

EMIL CIORAN, History & Utopia

What every man who loves his country hopes for in his inmost heart: the suppression of half his compatriots.

EMIL CIORAN, History & Utopia

A man who fears ridicule will never go far, for good or ill: he remains on this side of this talents, and even if he has genius, he is doomed to mediocrity.

EMIL CIORAN, The Trouble with Being Born

The premonition of madness is complicated by the fear of lucidity in madness, the fear of the moments of return and reunion, when the intuition of disaster is so painful that it almost provokes a greater madness.... One would welcome chaos if one were not afraid of lights in it.

EMIL CIORAN, On the Heights of Despair

Philosophy: impersonal anxiety; refuge among anemic ideas.

EMIL CIORAN, A Short History of Decay

I cannot contribute anything to this world because I only have one method: agony.

EMIL CIORAN, On the Heights of Despair

Word — that invisible dagger.

EMIL CIORAN, History & Utopia

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.

E. M. CIORAN, On the Heights of Despair

He who has never envied the vegetable has missed the human drama.

EMIL CIORAN, The Fall Into Time

Illusion begets and sustains the world; we do not destroy one without destroying the other.

EMIL CIORAN, Drawn and Quartered


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