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Sign in with Facebook Sign in options. Join Goodreads. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. On the Heights of Despair Quotes Showing of Then we could renounce culture and ambitions; we would lose everything and gain nothing; for what is there to be gained from this world?
I no longer want to be, nor can still be, a man. What should I do? Work for a social and political system, make a girl miserable? Hunt for weaknesses in philosophical systems, fight for moral and esthetic ideals? I renounce my humanity even though I may find myself alone. But am I not already alone in this world from which I no longer expect anything?
The answer probably lies in the irrational character of life which maintains itself without reason. But my tears would drown the world, as my inner fire would reduce it to ashes.
Although I feel that my tragedy is the greatest in history—greater than the fall of empires—I am nevertheless aware of my total insignificance. I am absolutely persuaded that I am nothing in this universe; yet I feel that mine is the only real existence. It is all the same whether you achieve something or not, have faith or not, just as it is all the same whether you cry or remain silent.
True thinking resembles a demon who muddies the spring of life or a sickness which corrupts its roots. To think all the time, to raise questions, to doubt your own destiny, to feel the weariness of living, to be worn out to the point of exhaustion by thoughts and life, to leave behind you, as symbols of your life's drama, a trail of smoke and blood - all this means you are so unhappy that reflection and thinking appear as a curse causing a violent revulsion in you.
To the philosophers' equanimity, which makes them indifferent to both pleasure and pain, I prefer devouring passions. The sage knows neither the tragedy of passion, nor the fear of death, nor risk and enthusiasm, nor barbaric, grotesque, or sublime heroism. He talks in proverbs and gives advice. He does not live, feel, desire, wait for anything. He levels down all the incongruities of life and then suffers the consequences.
So much more complex is the man who suffers from limitless anxiety. The wise man's life is empty and sterile, for it is free from contradiction and despair. An existence full of irreconcilable contradictions is so much richer and creative.
The wise man's resignation springs from inner void, not inner fire. I would rather die of fire than of void. Idei poate avea oricine. In such moments you will be severed from life, from love, smiles, friends and even from death. And you will ask yourself if there is anything besides the nothingness of the world and your own nothingness.
Can anyone who has reached the limit bother with arguments, causes, effects, moral considerations, and so forth? Of course not. For such a person there are only unmotivated motives for living.
On the heights of despair, the passion for the absurd is the only thing that can still throw a demonic light on chaos.
When all the current reasons—moral, esthetic, religious, social, and so on—no longer guide one's life, how can one sustain life without succumbing to nothingness?
Only by a connection with the absurd, by love of absolute uselessness, loving something which does not have substance but which simulates an illusion of life. I live because the mountains do not laugh and the worms do not sing. Could we still communicate? Wouldn't we then cover our faces with our hands while talking? Life would really be impossible if the infinitude of feelings we harbor within ourselves would be fully expressed in the lines of our face.
Nobody would dare look at himself in the mirror, because a grotesque, tragic image would mix in the contours of his face with stains and traces of blood, wounds which cannot be healed, and unstoppable streams of tears. I would experience a kind of voluptuous awe if I could see a volcano of blood, eruptions as red as fire and as burning as despair, burst into the comfortable and superficial harmony of everyday life, or if I could see all our hidden wounds open, making of us a bloody eruption forever.
Only then would be truly understand and appreciate the advantages of loneliness, which silences our suffering and makes it inaccessible. The venom drawn out from suffering would be enough to poison the whole world in a bloody eruption, bursting out of the volcano of our being.
There is so much venom, so much poison, in suffering! An irreversible question mark, for man has never found, nor will ever find, any answers. Life not only has no meaning; it can never have one. I would experience a kind of voluptuous awe if I could see a volcano of blood, eruptions as red as fire and as burning as despair, burst into the midst of the comfortable and superficial harmony of everyday life, or if I could see all our hidden wounds open, making of us a bloody eruption forever.
Only then would we truly understand and appreciate the advantage of loneliness, which silences our suffering and makes it inaccessible. Nu te poti initia in misterul altuia daca tu insuti n-ai un mister in care sa te initiezi.
Pentru a fi psiholog trebuie sa fii atat de nefericit incat sa pricepi fericirea si atat de rafinat incat sa poti deveni oricand barbar Simtul psihologic este expresia unei vieti care se contempla pe sine in fiecare momentu si care in celelalte vieti vede numai oglinzi.
All is permitted, and yet again, nothing. No matter which way we go, it is no better than any other. There is an explanation for everything, and yet there is none. Everything is both real and unreal, normal and absurd, splendid and insipid. There is nothing worth more than anything else, nor any idea better than any other.
What does it matter whether our tears come from pleasure or pain? Love your unhappiness and hate your happiness, mix everything up, scramble it all! Be a snowflake dancing in the air, a flower floating downstream!
Who knows? You may still be a winner! And if you lose, does it really matter? Is there anything to win in this world? All gain is a loss, and all loss is a gain. Why always expect a definite stance, clear ideas, meaningful words? I feel as if I should spout fire in response to all the questions which were ever put, or not put, to me.
There is everything in me: search and you will find out. I am a fossil dating from the beginning of the world: not all of its elements have completely crystallized, and initial chaos still shows through. I am absolute contradiction, climax of antinomies, the last limit of tension; in me anything is possible, for I am he who at the supreme moment, in front of absolute nothingness, will laugh.
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On the Heights of Despair
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On the Heights of Despair Quotes
In Romania in the s and s, Cioran was a mysterious, almost mythological, presence. One would hear that such a person existed, but it was impossible to read him. His French books were neither sold nor published in translation, and his Romanian books had disappeared without a trace. Although he had departed his homeland some ten years before the war and the communist takeover, he was as invisible as the most unspeakable, or un-nameable, of non-persons. The present book is the first translation of Cioran from his native language into English, mastered by Ilinca Zarifopol Johnston, a graduate of the University of Bucharest in , majoring in English and German. After official interventions on her behalf by nearly a dozen U. Congressmen and Senators, she was allowed to emigrate to the United States in