“The snares of wisdom”, by E. M. Cioran

Published in The Hudson Review, vol. 19, No. 4 (Winter, 1966-1967), pp. 539-550 [Pdf]
Translated from French by Frederick Brown

Once we realize to what depth appearances are credited by the normal consciousness, it becomes impossible to endorse the Vedantic thesis according to which “non-distinction is the soul’s natural state.” What is meant here by natural state is the state of being awake, which, as it happens, is anything but natural. The living man apprehends existence everywhere; directly he wakes up, directly he has ceased being nature, he starts detecting falsity in the apparent, appearance in the real, and ultimately enterttains doubts about the notion of reality itself. Gone are all distinctions, and with them go tension and drama. When viewed from too great a height, the kingdom of diversity and of the many vanishes. On a certain level of knowledge, only non-being can hold up… [+]