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Emile Cioran Quotes


A Romanian writer, noted for his somber works in the French language.
(1911 - 1995)

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A civilization is destroyed only when its gods are destroyed.
 

A distant enemy is always preferable to one at the gate.
 

A golden rule: to leave an incomplete image of oneself...
 

A great step forward was made the day men understood that in order to torment one another more efficiently they would have to gather together, to organize themselves into a society.
 

A man who fears ridicule will never go far, for good or ill: he remains on this side of this talents, and even if he has genius, he is doomed to mediocrity.
 

A marvel that has nothing to offer, democracy is at once a nation's paradise and its tomb.
 

A people represents not so much an aggregate of ideas and theories as of obsessions.
 

A phantom cannot be cured, still less an enlightened mind. We can only cure those who belong to the earth and still have their roots in it, however superficial.
 

A relief bordering on orgasm at the notion that one will never again embrace a cause, any cause...
 

A self-respecting man is a man without a country. A fatherland is birdlime...
 

A sudden silence in the middle of a conversation suddenly brings us back to essentials: it reveals how dearly we must pay for the invention of speech.
 

After a sleepless night, the people in the street seem automatons. No one seems to breathe, to walk, Each looks as if he is worked by clockwork: nothing spontaneous; mechanical smiles, spectral gesticulations. Yourself a specter, how would you see others as alive?
 

All my life, I have lived with the feeling that I have been kept from my true place. If the expression "metaphysical exile" had no meaning, my existence alone would afford it one.
 

Ambition is a drug that makes its addicts potential madmen.
[Ambition]
 

An impostor, a "humbug," conscious of being so and therefore a self-spectator, is necessarily more advanced in knowledge than a steady mind full of merits and all of a piece.
 

An individual dies ... when, instead of taking risks and hurling himself toward being, he cowers within, and takes refuge there.
[Risks]
 

Anyone can escape into sleep, we are all geniuses when we dream, the butcher's the poet's equal there.
 

Anyone who speaks in the name of others is always an impostor.
 

Balkans - that taste for devastation, for internal clutter, for a universe like a brothel on fire... the last "primitives" in Europe.
 

Basis of society: anonymous sweat.
 


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