Modern Philosophy + Cioran

FrizzText: “Modern philosophy is too tolerable, too gentle, too bland, too innocent, too inconsistent…” – I daily have to agree Emile Cioran, who wrote “The principal defect of philosophy lies in the fact that academic philosophy is too bearable…”
Emile Cioran, born 1911 in Romania, died 1995 in Paris: these two basic data of the CIORAN-curriculum vitae already are marking the subtle personal traumas: being divided by two very different cultural identities. Still loving Romania but emigrated and living safely in France, however not willing to integrate with French society he remained stateless not accepting any national identity. Obstinate he refused to receive the highest literary awards of his host country.

Lost in exile – this was the everlasting frame of his mind. In an enthusiastic manner in his early years he engaged himself politically defending his Romania. Later on he was ashamed of such affectations and classified such poses as delirium, “kitsch”, and scrupulousness. High-skeptically he wrote, referring to the possibility of finding the real truth: “After all I know that all these ideas and dogmatic thoughts are wrong and absurd. At last only human beings remain. And they are what they are. I am cured of the illness, to follow any ideology.”

Cioran liked characters as Nietzsche, Beethoven, Luther, and Rousseau: He adored their individual strength to resist against the surrounding societies – he loved the stubbornness of these famous thinkers – though sometimes obstinacy seemed to be a subject for psychiatrists.

During all his life in exile the backbone of his Romanian identity was broken and Cioran did not allow himself to use Romanian language any more (remember Elias Canetti and his metaphor of the “robbed tongue” and the phenomenon of hating fragments of the own identity and history).

Cioran was attracted by the chronic despair of Soren Kierkegaard and the nihilism of Friedrich Nietzsche. His university diploma he wrote about the thesis of the “Élan Vital” in the writings of the French existence-philosopher Henri Bergson. “Élan Vital” for Cioran indeed did not mean cheerfulness – but alike an Arthur Schopenhauer or an Ambrose Bierce, filled with a bad mixture of too much brain and bile, he enjoyed to produce cool, relaxed and slyly cynical aphorisms…

About frizztext

writer, photographer, guitarist

14 responses to “Modern Philosophy + Cioran

  1. Shannon Scheidell

    Postmodern philosophy is becoming more of a sham with each new writer who comes out to share their views. Geniuses like Herodotus and Hypatia are left in the dust with their old scrolls and simple math. Today we have Eco and Foucault who may sound as if they’re saying something important, when you’re in the right frame of mind to read their works, but I find a lot of rubbish is being produced and accepted as fundamental philosophies for our time. We are indecisive in our use of words and their meanings are starting to blend together as we realize that we can’t translate emotions into other languages or cultures. The internet can bring our thoughts together in one realm of discussion, but it can’t help us spark any new debates about the world, as I fear no one has anything original left to say. What do you think?


  2. Amy

    … filled with a badly mixture of too much brain and bile, he enjoyed to produce cool, relaxed and slyly cynical aphorisms 🙂
    Thank you, Frizz!


  3. Earlier this week an artist friend of mine along Wenlock Edge said the thing that drove her to paint was the hope of arresting the viewer’s attention long enough to make them stop and think. We agreed that we are not thinking enough – thinking from scratch that is. Too many reactions are stock ones, received wisdom. It is too easy to resort to dogma for explanations, and as someone once said – all dogma is toxic. All we end up with is opposing factions killing each other. Resorting to dogma also stops us dealing with the real/actual situations as they arise, and as you say, we do not pay due respect to those among us who have been brave enough to reveal great and hidden wrongs. Our mass-culture consumption tends to cultivate blandness and apathy. Isn’t that the point as far as our leaders are concerned, it keeps us passive, and inattentive – and I speak for myself here as much as for anyone else. It takes effort to be mindful of human rights, even of one’s own. Thanks so much for airing these very crucial issues, Frizz. This also makes me recall that after 9/11 one of the main concerns of the Bush and Blair administrations was that fear might stop people from shopping! Heaven forfend that we should forsake the shopping mall and start standing up for freedom and justice for all.


  4. Thank you, Tish, for “…all dogma is toxic…” = yes, the dogmatists produce justification for wars and other nonsense. We needed more flexible thinkers. You can judge the art of driving not on the straight sections, but better in the curves!



    I enjoyed the brief re-read of Nietzsche Frizz.


  6. I enjoyed too, is there a new things to say in the philosophy or philosophically about life and everything… Thank you dear Frizz, love, nia


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