Letters: Emil Cioran to Petru Comarnescu

16 October 2019


I am the sort of man who has changed completely under the effect of suffering, even though this transformation may simply be the intensification of elements already there. Thus amplified, they gave an entirely new perspective on life. I believe frenetically and fanatically, in the virtues of suffering and of anxiety, and I believe in them especially since, though I’ve suffered greatly and despaired much, I nevertheless acquired through them a sense of my own destiny, a sort of weird enthusiasm for my mission. On the heights of the most terrifying despair, I experience the joy of having a destiny, of living a life of successive deaths and transfigurations, of turning every moment into a cross-road. And I am proud that my life begins with death, unlike the majority of people, who end with death. I feel as if my death were in the past, and the future looks to me like a sort of personal illumination.

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