“Thinking Against Oneself: Reflections on Cioran” (Susan Sontag)

“What is the good of passing from one untenable position to another, of seeking fustification always on the same plane?”

“Every now and then it is possible to have absolutely nothing;
the possibility of nothing.”

Ours is a time in which every intellectual or artistic or moral event is absorbed by a predatory embrace of consciousness: historicizing. Any statement or act can be assessed as a necessarily transient “development” or, on a lower level, belittled as mere “fashion.” The human mind possesses now, almost as second nature, a perspective on its own achievements that fatally undermines their value and their claim to truth. For over a century, this historicizing perspective has occupied the very heart of our ability to understand anything at all. Perhaps once a marginal tic of consciousness, it’s now a gigantic, un-controllable gesture—the gesture whereby man indefatigably patronizes himself… [+]