Ideas of E.M. Cioran, by Theme

[Roumanian, 1911 - 1995, Freelance writer.]

green numbers give full details    |    back to list of philosophers    |     expand these ideas
1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 3. Wisdom Deflated
Wisdom is just the last gasp of a dying civilization
So-called wisdom is just pondering things instead of acting
1. Philosophy / B. History of Ideas / 1. History of Ideas
Intelligence only fully flourishes at the end of a historical period
Ideas are neutral, but people fill them with passion and weakness
A nation gives expression to its sum of values, and is then exhausted
The history of ideas (and deeds) occurs in a meaningless environment
Some thinkers would have been just as dynamic, no matter when they had lived
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 7. Despair over Philosophy
I abandoned philosophy because it didn't acknowledge melancholy and human weakness
Originality in philosophy is just the invention of terms
The mind is superficial, only concerned with the arrangement of events, not their significance
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 1. Nature of Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a universalisation of physical anguish
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 3. Metaphysical Systems
Great systems of philosophy are just brilliant tautologies
Systems are the worst despotism, in philosophy and in life
1. Philosophy / H. Continental Philosophy / 3. Hermeneutics
A text explained ceases to be a text
2. Reason / C. Styles of Reason / 1. Dialectic
No great idea ever emerged from a dialogue
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 9. Rejecting Truth
Truth is just an error insufficiently experienced
Eventually every 'truth' is guaranteed by the police
5. Theory of Logic / E. Structures of Logic / 2. Logical Connectives / c. not
Negation doesn't arise from reasoning, but from deep instincts
5. Theory of Logic / K. Features of Logics / 1. Axiomatisation
An axiom has no more authority than a frenzy
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / i. Deflating being
The word 'being' is very tempting, but in fact means nothing at all
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 3. Anti-realism
People who really believe anti-realism don't bother to prove it
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 1. Certainty
Convictions are failures to study anything thoroughly
Opinions are fine, but having convictions means something has gone wrong
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / a. Consciousness
Our instincts had to be blunted and diminished, to make way for consciousness!
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 5. Against Free Will
If people always acted without words we would take them for robots
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 2. Origin of Concepts / a. Origin of concepts
We use concepts to master our fears; saying 'death' releases us from confronting it
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 5. Concepts and Language / a. Concepts and language
If only we could write like a reptile, of endless sensations and no concepts!
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / c. Reasons as causes
I want to suppress in myself the normal reasons people have for action
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 4. Responsibility for Actions
We could only be responsible if we had consented before birth to who we are
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 6. The Sublime
We morally dissolve if we spend time with excessive beauty
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 1. Nature of Value / a. Nature of value
Values don't accumulate; they are ruthlessly replaced
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / f. Love
Lovers are hateful, apart from their hovering awareness of death
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / c. Purpose of ethics
At a civilisation's peak values are all that matters, and people unconsciously live by them
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 1. Existentialism
To live authentically, we must see that philosophy is totally useless
Man is never himself; he always aims at less than life, or more than life
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 2. Nihilism
The pointlessness of our motives and irrelevance of our gestures reveals our vacuity
Evidence suggests that humans do not have a purpose
The universe is dirty and fragile, as if a scandal in nothingness had produced its matter
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 3. Angst
We can only live because our imagination and memory are poor
Unlike other creatures, mankind seems lost in nature
Life is now more dreaded than death
In anxiety people cling to what reinforces it, because it is a deep need
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 4. Boredom
No one is brave enough to say they don't want to do anything; we despise such a view
History is the bloody rejection of boredom
If you lack beliefs, boredom is your martyrdom
You are stuck in the past if you don't know boredom
It is better to watch the hours pass, than trying to fill them
Fear cures boredom, because it is stronger
24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 2. State Legitimacy / b. Natural authority
It is pointless to refuse or accept the social order; we must endure it like the weather
24. Political Theory / C. Ruling a State / 2. Leaders / a. Autocracy
Opportunists can save a nation, and heroes can ruin it
25. Social Practice / E. Policies / 2. Religion in Society
The ideal is to impose a religion by force, and then live in doubt about its beliefs
25. Social Practice / E. Policies / 5. Education / d. Study of history
Despite endless suggestions, no one has found a goal for history
History is wonderfully devoid of meaning
25. Social Practice / F. Life Issues / 4. Suicide
Religions see suicide as insubordination
If you have not contemplated suicide, you are a miserable worm
No one has ever found a good argument against suicide
Suicide is pointless, because it always comes too late
25. Social Practice / F. Life Issues / 5. Sexual Morality
We all need sexual secrets!
28. God / C. Attitudes to God / 4. God Reflects Humanity
Why is God so boring, and why does God resemble humanity so little?
29. Religion / C. Spiritual Disciplines / 2. Taoism
As the perfect wisdom of detachment, philosophy offers no rivals to Taoism
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 1. Religious Commitment / a. Religious Belief
When man abandons religion, he then follows new fake gods and mythologies
A religion needs to motivate killings, and cannot tolerate rivals
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 2. Immortality / d. Heaven
The first man obviously found paradise unendurable
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 2. Immortality / e. Hell
Circles of hell are ridiculous; all that matters is to be there