By E. M. Cioran, Ilinca Zarifopol-Johnston
On the Heights of Despair exhibits Cioran's first grappling with issues he might go back to in his mature works: melancholy and rot, absurdity and alienation, futility and the irrationality of life. It additionally provides Cioran as a gourmand of apocalypse, a theoretician of melancholy, for whom writing and philosophy either percentage the "lyrical virtues" that on my own bring about a metaphysical revelation.
"No sleek author twists the knife with Cioran's dexterity. . . . His writing . . . is expert with the bitterness of actual compassion."—Bill Marx, Boston Phoenix
"The darkish, existential melancholy of Romanian thinker Cioran's brief meditations is sarcastically bracing and life-affirming. . . . places him within the corporation of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"This is self-pity as epigram, this kind of dyspeptic pronouncement that will get most folk kicked up and about yet that has stored Mr. Cioran going for the remainder of his life."—Judith Shulevitz, New York instances ebook Review
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Additional resources for On the Heights of Despair
Rich spiritual life must know chaos and the effervescent paroxysm of illness, because in them inspiration appears to be essential for creation and contradictions become expressions of high inner temperatures. Nobody who does not love chaos is a creator, and whoever is contemptuous of illness must not speak of the spirit. There is value only in that which bursts forth from inspiration, which springs up from the irrational depths of our being, from the secret center of our subjectivity. The fruit of labor, effort, and endeavor On worthwhile noticing how the domain of esthetics narrows gradually as it approaches serious reality and crucial life events.
What if there were only absurd motives for living? Could they still be called motives? This world is not worth a sacrifice in the name of an idea or a belief. How much happier are we today because others have died for our well-being and our enlightment? Well-being? Enlightment? If anybody had died so that I could be happy, then I would be even more unhappy, because I do not want to build my life on a graveyard. There are moments when I feel responsible for all the suffering in history, since I cannot understand why some have shed blood for us.
Those still attached to life's irrationality, and still enthralled by its organic rhythms prior to the birth of consciousness, are ignorant of the state in which the reality of the body is ever-present to consciousness. This presence denotes a fundamental existential illness. Is it not an illness to be constantly aware of your nerves, your feet, your stomach, your heart, every single part of your being? With this awareness, haven't the organs abandoned normal functions? The reality of the body is one of the most terrible realities.