“The puzzles of aphorism: reading Cioran” (Daria Lebedeva)

Aphorism is a form and a style for philosophizing. Especcially it is a matter of the case for Emile Cioran.The style of writing – aphorism as the main form of the expression of the thought- fits the non-systematic way of philosophizing. It more than other means points the irrelevance to provide one or at least some meanings of one idea, definitions of one phenomenon, etc., the one strict meaning will never encompass the richness  and density of the world Cioran argues. Thus, he advocates the rightness of the non-systematic way of philosophizing: ‘ those who write under the spell of inspiration, for whom thought is an expression of their organic nervous disposition, do not concern themselves with unity and systems. … All what is form, system, category, frame, or plan tends to make things absolute and springs from a lack of inner energy, from a sterile spiritual life.’.

For Cioran the unsystematic type of thinking is an essential form of expressing thought typical for those thinkers who create under the auspices of emotional, organic impulses of life. It is a specific state of mind which directs flow of inner man\’s energy to the expression in the chaotic, non-connected pieces of thoughts which later on are packed into the form of non-systematic verses and passages. The not united set of thoughts is not mere a sign of inability to order it, it is the mirror of the essence of life as it is. The non-organized and consequently not subordinated thought is free, dynamic as life itself. This Cioran\’s passage is so to say an apology of the right to pronounce a thought in it primordial non restrained shape that is directly symbolizes the image of fluid life full of energy and uncontrolled impulses.

A key to the variety of interpretations lies in the aphoristic style of writing preferable by Cioran. Aphorism is a set, a piece of thought reflecting better than others means the essence of non-systematic way of philosophizing. Aphorism in the case of Cioran is not merely a form of expression thoughts, it is a way of thinking. Besides of this, it is a specific way of literary manner to encapsulate thoughts in the forms of concise pieces of expressions. In Elias\’s expression Cioran in aphorism is ‘almost mathematically precise’. No extra words, the chosen words unfold the Universe of the content. It is an acknowledged presence of the richness of beautiful metaphorical language but which has to be translated into the meagreness of the academic language. For instance, the choice of aphoristic – based philosophical writing in Dienstag\’s deep belief is not vainly preferred. Pessimism in forms of aphorisms rather a rule when the exception of it as the examples might suggest. Starting from Leopardi through Nietzsche to Cioran aphorism has been equally picked up, elaborated as a major means of writing.  The linkage between pessimism and aphorism proves that latter is logically determinated by the former, that style of writing originates from the so to say kind or type of philosophy   ‘their style or morals are deeply related to a unified philosophy’.

Aphorism is a fragment of style rendering potentiality to unmask the uncertainty of the ideas.  Fragment, a piece taken from the entity, but as such is a full entity, born as a part still is as a form. A form that is emancipated and self-sufficient, in Cioran\’s manner aphorism presents a resolution, Elias argues. ‘Aphorism which is not an aphorism, but ‘style in the breaking” . Richard Howard, a French translator of Cioran, applied to Francis Bacon\’s saying on aphorism. A wisdom broken, broken in a sense of in need to be repaired, reconstructed. In this genre more then ever reader\’s co-operation is obligatory condition. The meaning is present, but is hidden in the paradoxical scarcity of the words.  Howard goes on adding: aphorism – the very word has horizon within it, a dividing – line between sky and earth, a separation observed.

From the perception of the content, aphorism is an impasse, and the reader trying to touch the core of it is in cul-de-sac station. Author has already expressed what wanted to say, as a driver saw a blind alley as a sign where is no need – no opportunity – to go further. Reader has no opportunity to add anything to already said.

In accord to the intentions of the linguistic philosophy the suspicious attitude of the bearing true meaning is ascribed to the words. For Cioran words are ‘semblances of reality’ (p.3) Word describing the object and this object in reality are not identical. The search for definition is the negation of the object as such. Cioran asserts the obligation of defining the as a pseudo-scientific and totally misleading task never aiming the pure form – the definition that will never provoke any protestations and will be accepted by everyone as the axiom: ‘To define is one of the most inveterate of our madnesses, and it must have been born with the first word’.

Cioran gives an explanation of his preference of aphorism, as a means to express thought, in the context of accentuating the priority to use words with sense. So in order to avoid extra words- the some modern genres overwhelmed with in Cioran\’s vision, it is needed to cut off the unnecessary parts. After redaction the concise form of thought – piece of art – remains. This is aphorism. ‘Poem, novel, essay, play – everything seems to long. The writer – it is has function – always says more than he has to say: he swells his thought and swatches it with words ‘.

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