Emil Cioran: On the Heights of Despair

14 November 2019

I don’t understand why we must do things in this world, why we must have friends and aspirations, hopes and dreams. Wouldn’t it be better to retreat to a faraway corner of the world, where all its noise and complications would be heard no more? Then we could renounce culture and ambitions; we would lose everything and gain nothing; for what is there to be gained from this world? There are people tho whom gain is unimportant, who are hopelessly unhappy and lonely. We are so closed to one another! And yet, were we to be totally open to each other, reading into the depths of our souls, how much of our destiny would we see? We are so lonely in life the we must ask ourselves if the loneliness of dying is not a symbol of our human existence. Can there be any consolation at the last moment? This willingness to live and die in society is a mark of great deficiency. It is a thousand times preferable to die somewhiere alone and abandoned so that you can die without melodeamatic posturing, unseen by anyone.

I despise people who on their deathbed master themselves and adopt a pose in order to impress. Tears do not burn except in solitude. Those who ask to be surrounded by friends when they die do so out of fear and inability to live their final moments alone. They want to forget death at the moment of death. They lack inifinite heroism. Why don’t they lock their door and suffer those maddening sensations with a lucidity and a fear beyond all limits?

We are so isolated form everything! But isn’t everything equally inaccessible to us? The deepest and most organic death is death in solitude, when even light becomes a principle of death. In such moments you will be severed from life, from love, simles, friends and even from death. And you will ask yourself if there is anything besides the nothingness of the world and your own nothingness.

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