Emil Cioran Quotes


Emil Cioran (1911-1995) was a Romanian philosopher and essayist who wrote primarily in French. He is known for his dark and pessimistic views on life, which he expressed in his works, such as “The Trouble with Being Born,” “A Short History of Decay,” and “The Temptation to Exist.”

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Cioran was born in Romania and studied philosophy at the University of Bucharest. He first gained fame in Romania for his literary works and essays, but later moved to Paris in 1937 where he spent the rest of his life.

Cioran’s philosophical views were heavily influenced by existentialism and nihilism, and he believed that life was ultimately meaningless and absurd. He saw human existence as a never-ending cycle of suffering, and he often wrote about the absurdity of human existence, the struggle for meaning in life, and the inevitability of death.

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Despite his pessimistic outlook, Cioran’s works have been influential in both philosophical and literary circles. His writing style is characterized by its aphoristic and often paradoxical nature, and his works continue to be studied and debated by scholars today.

Emil Cioran’s profound insights on life ignite a spark of contemplation, unveiling the raw complexities and enigmatic truths that lie within our very being. Here are some of his most thought-provoking quotes about life.

Famous Emil Cioran Quotes

1. “A book is a suicide postponed.”

2. “The fact that life has no meaning is a reason to live – moreover, the only one.”

3. “Not to be born is undoubtedly the best plan of all. Unfortunately, it is within no one’s reach.”

4. “Music is the refuge of souls ulcerated by happiness.”

Music is the refuge of souls ulcerated by happiness. - Emil Cioran

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

6. “We cannot be normal and alive at the same time.”

7. “I feel completely detached from any country, any group. I am a metaphysically displaced person.”

8. “Consciousness is nature’s nightmare.”

9. “There is no limit to suffering.”

10. “Is it possible that existence is our exile and nothingness our home?”

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11. “The limit of every pain is an even greater pain.”

12. “Insomnia is a vertiginous lucidity that can convert paradise itself into a place of torture.”

13. “I’m simply an accident. Why take it all so seriously?”

14. “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.”

15. “The sole means of protecting your solitude is to offend everyone, beginning with those you love.”

16. “When people come to me saying they want to kill themselves, I tell them, “What’s your rush? You can kill yourself any time you like. So calm down. Suicide is a positive act.” And they do calm down.”

17. “Man starts over again everyday, in spite of all he knows, against all he knows.”

18. “No one recovers from the disease of being born, a deadly wound if there ever was one.”

19. “I dream of a language whose words, like fists, would fracture jaws.”

20. “What music appeals to in us it is difficult to know; what we do know is that music reaches a zone so deep that madness itself cannot penetrate there.”

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21. “Sometimes I wish I were a cannibal – less for the pleasure of eating someone than for the pleasure of vomiting him.”

22. “Only optimists commit suicide, optimists who no longer succeed at being optimists. The others, having no reason to live, why would they have any to die?”

23. “My mission is to kill time, and time’s to kill me in its turn. How comfortable one is among murderers.”

24. “It is not worth the bother of killing yourself, since you always kill yourself too late.”

It is not worth the bother of killing yourself, since you always kill yourself too late. - Emil Cioran

25. “Democracy: a festival of mediocrity.”

26. “The truly solitary being is not the man who is abandoned by men, but the man who suffers in their midst, who drags his desert through the marketplace and deploys his talents as a smiling leper, a mountebank of the irreparable.”

27. “This very second has vanished forever, lost in the anonymous mass of the irrevocable. It will never return. I suffer from this and I do not. Everything is unique – and insignificant.”

28. “I live only because it is in my power to die when I choose to: without the idea of suicide, I’d have killed myself right away.”

29. “What are you waiting for in order to give up?”

30. “Philosophy is a corrective against sadness. Yet there still are people who believe in the profundity of philosophy!”

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31. “Nothing proves that we are more than nothing.”

32. “The Art of Love: knowing how to combine the temperament of a vampire with the discretion of an anemone.”

33. “One does not inhabit a country; one inhabits a language. That is our country, our fatherland – and no other.”

34. “If just once you were depressed for no reason, you have been so all your life without knowing.”

35. “It has been a long time since philosophers have read men’s souls. It is not their task, we are told. Perhaps. But we must not be surprised if they no longer matter much to us.”

36. “Losing love is so rich a philosophical ordeal that it makes a hairdresser into a rival of Socrates.”

37. “We are afraid of the enormity of the possible.”

38. “Wisdom disguises our wounds; it teaches us how to bleed in secret.”

39. “Trees are massacred, houses go up – faces, faces everywhere. Man is spreading. Man is the cancer of the earth.”

40. “Anyone can escape into sleep, we are all geniuses when we dream, the butcher’s the poet’s equal there.”

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41. “What surrounds us we endure better for giving it a name – and moving on.”

42. “If we could see ourselves as others see us, we would vanish on the spot.”

If we could see ourselves as others see us, we would vanish on the spot. - Emil Cioran

43. “One can experience loneliness in two ways: by feeling lonely in the world or by feeling the loneliness of the world.”

44. “No matter which way we go, it is no better than any other. 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.”

45. “There is no other world. Nor even this one. What, then, is there? The inner smile provoked in us by the patent nonexistence of both.”

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

47. “Read day and night, devour books – these sleeping pills – not to know but to forget! Through books you can retrace your way back to the origins of spleen, discarding history and its illusions.”

48. “True confessions are written with tears only. But my tears would drown the world, as my inner fire would reduce it to ashes.”

49. “What can be said, lacks reality. Only what fails to make its way into words exists and counts.”

50. “By all evidence we are in the world to do nothing; but instead of nonchalantly promenading our own corruption, we exude our sweat and grow winded upon the fetid air.”

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51. “The aphorism is cultivated only by those who have known fear in the midst of words, that fear of collapsing with all the words.”

52. “As the years pass, the number of those we can communicate with diminishes. When there is no longer anyone to talk to, at last we will be as we were before stooping to a name.”

53. “Alone, even doing nothing, you do not waste your time. You do, almost always, in company. No encounter with yourself can be altogether sterile: Something necessarily emerges, even if only the hope of some day meeting yourself again.”

54. “I lost my sleep, and this is the greatest tragedy that can befall someone. It is much worse than sitting in prison.”

55. “Good health is the best weapon against religion. Healthy bodies and healthy minds have never been shaken by religious fears.”

56. “Our first intuitions are the true ones.”

57. “Beware of thinkers whose minds function only when they are fueled by a quotation.”

58. “I saw that philosophy had no power to make my life more bearable. Thus I lost my belief in philosophy.”

59. “Speech and silence. We feel safer with a madman who talks than with one who cannot open his mouth.”

60. “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.”

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61. “Only superficial minds approach an idea with delicacy.”

62. “An aphorism? Fire without flames. Understandable that no one tries to warm himself at it.”

63. “Our works, whatever they may be, derive from our incapacity to kill or to kill ourselves.”

Our works, whatever they may be, derive from our incapacity to kill or to kill ourselves. - Emil Cioran

64. “If you’re unlucky enough not to have alcoholic parents, it takes you a whole lifetime of intoxication to overcome the dead weight of their virtues.”

65. “To have committed every crime but that of being a father.”

66. “Consciousness is much more than the thorn, it is the dagger in the flesh.”

67. “If there is anyone who owes everything to Bach, it is certainly God.”

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

69. “True contact between beings is established only by mute presence, by apparent non-communication, by that mysterious and wordless exchange which resembles inward prayer.”

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

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71. “What would be left of our tragedies if an insect were to present us his?”

72. “Man is a robot with defects.”

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

74. “All people see fires, storms, explosions, or landscapes; but how many feel the flames, the lightnings, the whirlwinds, or the harmony? How many have an inner beauty that tinges their melancholy?”

75. “The refutation of suicide: is it not inelegant to abandon a world which has so willingly put itself at the service of our melancholy?”

76. “Psychoanalysis is a technique we practice at our cost; psychoanalysis degrades our risks, our dangers, our depths; it strips us of our impurities, of all that made us curious about ourselves.”

77. “To defy heredity is to defy billions of years, to defy the first cell.”

78. “Each of us is born with a share of purity, predestined to be corrupted by our commerce with mankind, by that sin against solitude.”

79. “I am like a broken puppet whose eyes have fallen inside.”

80. “Skepticism is the sadism of embittered souls.”

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

82. “A decadent civilization compromises with its disease, cherishes the virus infecting it, loses its self-respect.”

83. “Tyrants are always assassinated too late. That is their great excuse.”

84. “I have always struggled, with the sole intention of ceasing to struggle. Result: zero.”

85. “The task of the solitary man is to be even more solitary.”

The task of the solitary man is to be even more solitary. -Emil Cioran

86. “Melancholy redeems this universe, and yet it is melancholy that separates us from it.”

87. “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.”

88. “Nostalgia, more than anything, gives us the shudder of our own imperfection. This is why with Chopin we feel so little like gods.”

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

90. “History proves nothing because it contains everything.”

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91. “We inhabit a language rather than a country.”

92. “We derive our vitality from our store of madness.”

93. “Even when nothing happens, everything seems too much for me. What can be said, then, in the presence of an event, any event?”

94. “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.”

95. “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.”

96. “Only one thing matters: learning to be the loser.”

97. “He who hates himself is not humble.”

98. “There is only one thing worse than boredom, and that is the fear of boredom.”

99. “One doesn’t live in a country, one lives in a language.”

100. “I would like to explode, flow, crumble into dust, and my disintegration would be my masterpiece.”

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