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…