The Trouble with Being Born

The Trouble with Being Born

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 1611457408

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this volume, which reaffirms the uncompromising brilliance of his mind, Cioran strips the human condition down to its most basic components, birth and death, suggesting that disaster lies not in the prospect of death but in the fact of birth, "that laughable accident." In the lucid, aphoristic style that characterizes his work, Cioran writes of time and death, God and religion, suicide and suffering, and the temptation to silence. Through sharp observation and patient contemplation, Cioran cuts to the heart of the human experience.

“A love of Cioran creates an urge to press his writing into someone’s hand, and is followed by an equal urge to pull it away as poison.”—The New Yorker

“In the company of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard."—Publishers Weekly

"No modern writer twists the knife with Cioran's dexterity. . . . His writing . . . is informed with the bitterness of genuine compassion."—Boston Phoenix

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unceasingly varied his desires and his terrors? When, just after the First World War, electricity was installed in the village where I was born, there was a general murmur of protest, then mute desolation. But when electricity was installed in the churches (there were three), everyone was convinced the Antichrist had come and, with him, the end of time. These Carpathian peasants had seen clearly, had seen far: Emerging from prehistory, they knew already, in that day and age, what “civilized”

words have been uttered, even only once, coldly, with complete awareness of what they mean, history is justified and, with it, all of us. “Woe unto you, when all men speak well of you!” Christ was here foretelling his own end. All men now speak well of him, even the most hardened unbelievers—they above all. Jesus knew perfectly well that he would one day succumb to universal approbation. Christianity is lost if it does not suffer persecutions as pitiless as those it was subjected to at its

new sentiment, a special sympathy: compassionate horror. For all the superstitions and shackles I have rid myself of, I cannot regard myself as a free man, remote from everything. A mania for desistance, having survived the other passions, refuses to leave me: it torments me, it perseveres, it demands that I continue renouncing, withdrawing. But from what? What is left to reject? I ponder the question. My role is over, my career finished, and yet nothing has changed in my life, I am at the

suspected were revealed, were proclaimed! What prescience, and what detail! At the end of the interminable indictment, no clue, no trace that permitted me to identify the sender. Who could it be? And why this haste, this unaccustomed means of communication? Who ever spoke his mind with such rigor in his grievance? Where did he come from, this omniscient judge who dared not name himself, this coward in possession of all my secrets, this inquisitor who allowed no extenuating circumstances, not even

our present that we should not have the strength to confront another moment, still less to live through it. Life would be bearable only to frivolous natures, those in fact who do not remember. Plotinus, Porphyry tells us, had the gift of reading men’s souls. One day, without any warning, he told his astounded disciple not to try killing himself but rather to take a journey. Porphyry left for Sicily: there he was cured of his melancholy but, he adds regretfully, he thereby missed being present

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