There are many quotes of Emil Ciorán that leave us stupefied. Their raw realism – and nothing disguised pessimism – are like a bucket of cold water for the conscience. This Romanian philosopher was not out in the bush, but decidedly faced all aspects that he thought deserved reflection.
It is clear that the purpose of this thinker was not exactly to cheer up anyone. In the phrases of Emil Ciorán it is clear that his was to provoke. I loved going against the grain, because this was also a way of denouncing the banalities and inconsistencies of the world in which he lived.
What one finds in the phrases of Emil Ciorán is a deep disenchantment, which ends up being a challenge for the models of light or excessively romantic life. The encounter with this thinker causes some shock, especially among those who are accustomed to the so-called “exitology”. These are some of his most remembered phrases.
“It is not the violent evils that mark us, but the deaf, insistent, tolerable evils, those that are part of our routine and meticulously undermine us as time”.
1. Some infidelities are not forgiven
This is one of Emil Ciorán’s many phrases full of intelligent irony and common sense. It says:
“The last people we forgive their infidelity are those we have disappointed.”
It is a sharp and deep affirmation. When someone does not live up to the expectations of their partner, they know that the one who is failing is he and not the other. Infidelity would be a way to ratify that failure. Therefore, such infidelity is difficult to forgive: it is a way of accepting that initial disappointment. A narcissistic wound that hurts deeply.
2. One of Emil Ciorán’s phrases about age
The sense of humor is present in many of the phrases of Emil Ciorán. It is a black humor, caustic. It is what is seen in this statement:
“What I know at sixty, I already knew at twenty. Forty years of a long, superfluous work of verification. “
Maybe he’s right There are many truths of life that are intuited from very early on. However, youth are not entirely sure of what they detect. A chain of successive checks is needed, which in many cases do not contribute more than an infinite reiteration.
3. Correspondence in the missions
Emil Ciorán had no problem going against what has been considered a productive, or successful life. Nor was he interested in hiding the deep disappointment he felt in existence. Quite the contrary: I was digging deep into the wound.
This phrase says everything about him:
“My mission is to kill time, and the time is to kill me in turn to me. How comfortable is one among murderers.”
Death and suicide were present in many of his works. He insisted that existence has no more meaning than to spend it, as something that does not work.
4. Do’s and don’ts
A good part of society is convinced that the most important thing is to do, do and do more. Staying quiet or unproductive is seen almost as blasphemy. However, from doing so much we have also become so restless, that the anxiety has ended invading us.
Faced with this, Emil Ciorán says:
“We can be proud of what we have done, but we should be more proud of what we have not done. That pride is about to invent.”
Its approach is reasonable, while not doing also generates consequences. And in such a compulsive and automated world, these could be positive.
5. The rebels
Ciorán felt a certain contempt for the figures of power. As the iconoclast he was, he never gave greater credit to heroism, or to the great deeds of those who fight in the name of some ideological cause.
His position in this regard is perfectly clear in the following sentence:
“Who is rebelling? Who gets up in arms? The slave rarely, but almost always the oppressor become a slave.”
In this way, it equates the rebel with the oppressor, indicating that they have the same essence. The slave, as such, always obeys.
6. The hidden
Emil Ciorán did not see the human being as a superior species or endowed with something memorable. On the contrary, on several occasions he emphasized the ruinous way in which human beings live and populate the earth.
Part of that perspective is captured here:
“Only what is hidden is deep and true. Hence the strength of vile feelings.”
In other words, the human being hides his vile feelings and precisely by doing so, they emerge with greater force when they appear.
Although Ciorán was not happy and he expressed it in countless opportunities, he was not a “sufriente” either. More than experiencing pain for life, or for the experiences that he accumulated, what he did was to uncover the inconsistency using irony, adopting a style appreciated for the singular.
That’s why it’s not uncommon for him to have been critical even with the subject of suffering. In this regard, he says:
“Suffering is the way to be active without doing anything”.
In other words, the sufferer lives in the middle of a storm, inactive, without setting in motion any coping strategy that will subdue it.
There are many other Emil Ciorán phrases that are truly interesting and that are left out of this selection. Read it, despite the somber tone it adopts to deconstruct reality, is a delight as a stimulus for reflection.