An interesting piece on Romanian nihilist philosopher/prose poet E.M. Cioran.

SwordOfStCatherine

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“Mankind has regressed so much nothing proves it better than the impossibility to encounter a single nation or a tribe in which a birth of a child causes mourning and lamentation.” - E.M. Cioran.

Born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in what is now present today Romania to a zealot Orthodox Christian Romanian Priest who would later join the Old Calendarist schism in 1924 who was as well read in the Church Fathers as he was fanatical and pious doting mother, the descendant of a long time of Orthodox Priests, in 1911, Emile Cioran has been largely neglected in the Anglosphere but as I have been thinking recently more and more on the question of nihilism my mind was turned back to him. Choosing to study Philosophy in University in Romania he met and became life long friends with the future playwright Eugene Ionesco and Mircea Eliade both of whom are considered the greatest Romanian minds of the 20 th century by a large spectrum of people both at home and aboard. This is where things begin to get complicated- though Emile himself was never a member both Eugene and Mircea became involved with the Legion of the Arch-Angel Michael/Iron Guard, which though lumped with inter-war Fascist movements in other countries in many ways had more in common with the Chivalric Orders of the Christian Western Middle Ages, the Orthodox Brotherhoods in the Ukraine and Belarus at the time of their armed resistance to Polish rule or Hezbollah today though they combined the Mystical and Knightly with "palingenetic ultra-nationalism". Emile reasons for not joining was that he had come no long to believe in Christianity and so was not eligible for membership. He was though during this period as opposed they were to both Liberal Democracy and Marxism.

Winning a scholarship to the University of Berlin in 1933 he moved to Germany where tragically he became enthralled by Hitler. It was during this period that he first started to get his own books published in Romania, parts of which proved quite controversial on the Nationalist Right for their sometimes extremely sarcastic observations of his own country people. In 1937 he left for Paris where he would spent most of the rest of his life.

While his work previous to World War II was largely fueled by wild nationalist romanticism his Post-War work for which he is principally known outside of Romania reach an almost Buddhist of nihilistic resignation though without the smug contented pride which most often accompanies Buddhism. His most famous work for instance which was published first in French in 1949 is entitled "A Short History of Decay". It opens:

"In itself, every idea is neutral, or should be; but man animates ideas, projects his flames and flaws into them; impure, transformed into beliefs, ideas take their place in time, take shape as events; the trajectory is complete from logic to epilepsy...whence the birth of ideologies, doctrines, deadly games.

Idolaters by instinct, we convert the objects of our dreams and our interests into the Unconditional. History is nothing but a procession of false Absolutes, a series of Temples raised to pretexts, a degradation of the mind before the Improbable....The ages of fervor abound in bloody exploits: a St Theresa could only be the contemporary of the auto-de-fe, a Luther of the suppression of the peasants' revolt."

Obviously they would not formulate it after his manner, after all their souls were formed with only minimal influences from Christianity, and standing at a Lenten service while the Life of St Mary of Egypt was read from start to finish was never a part of their youthful memories, but I wonder how much he conveys the underlying assumptions behind the lives of many of our bourgeois consumerist "liberal" nihilists?

EMILE CIORAN AND THE CULTURE OF DEATH,Tomislav Sunic - Dr. Tom Sunic

"..........
The feeling of sublime futility with regard to everything that life entails goes hand in hand with Cioran’s pessimistic attitude towards the rise and fall of states and empires. His vision of the circulation of historical time recalls Vico’s corsi e ricorsi, and his cynicism about human nature draws on Spengler’s “biology” of history. Everything is a merry-go-round, and each system is doomed to perish the moment it makes its entrance onto the historical scene. One can detect in Cioran’s gloomy prophecies the forebodings of the Roman stoic and emperor Marcus Aurelius, who heard in the distance of the Noricum the gallop of the barbarian horses, and who discerned through the haze of Panonia the pending ruin of the Roman empire. Although today the actors are different, the setting remains similar; millions of new barbarians have begun to pound at the gates of Europe, and will soon take possession of what lies inside:

Regardless of what the world will look like in the future, Westerners will assume the role of the Graeculi of the Roman empire. Needed and despised by new conquerors, they will not have anything to offer except the jugglery of their intelligence, or the glitter of their past. [11]

Now is the time for the opulent Europe to pack up and leave, and cede the historical scene to other more virile peoples. Civilization becomes decadent when it takes freedom for granted; its disaster is imminent when it becomes too tolerant of every uncouth outsider. Yet, despite the fact that political tornados are lurking on the horizon, Cioran, like Marcus Aurelius, is determined to die with style. His sense of the tragic has taught him the strategy of ars moriendi, making him well prepared for all surprises, irrespective of their magnitude. Victors and victims, heroes and henchmen, do they not all take turns in this carnival of history, bemoaning and bewailing their fate while at the bottom, while taking revenge when on top? Two thousand years of Greco-Christian history is a mere trifle in comparison to eternity. One caricatural civilization is now taking shape, writes Cioran, in which those who are creating it are helping those wishing to destroy it. History has no meaning, and therefore, attempting to render it meaningful, or expecting from it a final burst of theophany, is a self-defeating chimera. For Cioran, there is more truth in occult sciences than in all philosophies that attempt to give meaning to life. Man will finally become free when he takes off the straitjacket of finalism and determinism, and when he realizes that life is an accidental mistake that sprang up from one bewildering astral circumstance. Proof? A little twist of the head clearly shows that “history, in fact, boils down to the classification of the police: “After all, does not the historian deal with the image which people have about the policeman throughout epochs ?”[12] To succeed in mobilizing masses in the name of some obscure ideas, to enable them to sniff blood, is a certain avenue to political success. Had not the same masses which carried on their shouldered the French revolution in the name of equality and fraternity, several years later also brought on their shoulders an emperor with new clothes–an emperor on whose behalf they ran barefoot from Paris to Moscow, from Jena to Dubrovnik? For Cioran, when a society runs out of political utopia there is no more hope, and consequently there cannot be any more life. Without utopia, writes Cioran, people would be forced to commit suicide; thanks to utopia they commit homicides....."
 
D

Deleted member 2531

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Thanks Catherine for this informative piece. The words of Yeats " The Second coming" spring to mind.

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
 

Bill The Boer

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That wouldn't be the same Emil Cioran who wrote things like,

"... The Judaic invasions of recent years made antisemitism the essential component of our nationalism..."

Isn't there just always, always the same abominable predictable angle in anything you post. The continual daily drip, drip, drip of your poison. I suppose you had a thought that you'd like to see the nascent Irish fascist movement you and your cronies appear to be breeding on this forum be something like the Romanian fascist movement, the violently anti-Semitic Iron Guard, that Cioran very enthusiastically endorsed.

Just to note his enthusiastic endorsement was given all the while Romanian Jews were being hunted down and murdered in cold blood, their properties looted and burned to the ground, and while the wider population underwent a religious-fundamentalist brainwashing (not far off the type you espouse).

I would be sure as well that you'll answer the same way as you always do, that Cioran was in fact a "philo-semite" (he often lamented that he “had missed out on the misfortune of being Jewish” which would have made him a “complete human being”, and more in the same vein... ).

No doubt you would also relate strongly to the mass of contradictions that swirled within the man.
 
D

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That wouldn't be the same Emil Cioran who wrote things like,

"... The Judaic invasions of recent years made antisemitism the essential component of our nationalism..."

Isn't there just always, always the same abominable predictable angle in anything you post. The continual daily drip, drip, drip of your poison. I suppose you had a thought that you'd like to see the nascent Irish fascist movement you and your cronies appear to be breeding on this forum be something like the Romanian fascist movement, the violently anti-Semitic Iron Guard, that Cioran very enthusiastically endorsed.

Just to note his enthusiastic endorsement was given all the while Romanian Jews were being hunted down and murdered in cold blood, their properties looted and burned to the ground, and while the wider population underwent a religious-fundamentalist brainwashing (not far off the type you espouse).

I would be sure as well that you'll answer the same way as you always do, that Cioran was in fact a "philo-semite" (he often lamented that he “had missed out on the misfortune of being Jewish” which would have made him a “complete human being”, and more in the same vein... ).

No doubt you would also relate strongly to the mass of contradictions that swirled within the man.
Did you know about the Yeats connection with the Nazi scum? Awful what happened in the Boer war Billy. I am against the brutal genocide or colonisation of any people. You might like this.
 

SwordOfStCatherine

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I would be sure as well that you'll answer the same way as you always do, that Cioran was in fact a "philo-semite" (he often lamented that he “had missed out on the misfortune of being Jewish” which would have made him a “complete human being”, and more in the same vein... ).

No doubt you would also relate strongly to the mass of contradictions that swirled within the man.
Why do you constantly have to approach everything from a tribal perspective with zero recognition that for all our differences we share a common human nature existing within a common human condition, and that the historical figures can help us in illuminating both of these and so in the process teaching us more about ourselves?

It is a fact that at one point in his life he was strongly anti-Semitic, and that was during the time when he shared the drunkenness of nationalist hubris with you. Clearly though the actual passage of World War II had a profound effect him, altering his views not on only as regards Jews but as regards many other things as well. You seem to imply there that people are fundamentally incapable of change and /or that once someone was said or believed certain things that ear marks as being forever beyond redemption and/or forgiveness no matter how much and sincerely they change their beliefs on these matters.

I am not sure that a mass of contradictions did swirl within the man at all- both during the romantic ultra-nationalist phase and during the nihilist/pessimist one he showed a ruthless consistency in working out all the implications of his weltanschauung. This is what for me makes him such an intriguing intellectual figure even though I reject both ultra-nationalism, or any nationalism that transgresses the bounds of rationality and justice, as well as nihilism and any form of pessimism that does not take into account the ultimate Reality of Redemption.

Had you heard of him before today or even read any of his works?
 
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Bill The Boer

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And yet more complete and utter bullshit. You are a nasty bigoted twerp. Your fantastical narratives are nauseating. Get a fucking life, Billy.
 

SwordOfStCatherine

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Read him, he never heard of him.
No he was good mates with Beckett who I loathe with a passion but who surprising numbers of people here absolutely adore. Maybe the rantings were the product of a quick google search but maybe something else was going on. What is interesting though is the implied belief that once people do or say something that are therefore completely irredeemable. If you hold such a pre-logical concept because I doubt she has thought this out, generally it is extremely likely that you will automatically in a pre-logical way presume that others are similar in how they think and feel. Which will subconsciously lead you into doubling down on positions you take which from time to time come under metaphorical fire especially if you also have the strong desire to have a very positive self-image of yourself irregardless.
 

Sitt Fein

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No he was good mates with Beckett who I loathe with a passion but who surprising numbers of people here absolutely adore. Maybe the rantings were the product of a quick google search but maybe something else was going on. What is interesting though is the implied belief that once people do or say something that are therefore completely irredeemable. If you hold such a pre-logical concept because I doubt she has thought this out, generally it is extremely likely that you will automatically in a pre-logical way presume that others are similar in how they think and feel. Which will subconsciously lead you into doubling down on positions you take which from time to time come under metaphorical fire especially if you also have the strong desire to have a very positive self-image of yourself irregardless.
Beckett began one of his novels with;
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.

Crap.
 

Rasherhash

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And yet more complete and utter bullshit. You are a nasty bigoted twerp. Your fantastical narratives are nauseating. Get a fucking life, Billy.
Can you not discuss things without being nasty?

Obviously not.
 
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