“The history according to Emil Cioran” (Florin Berindeanu)

In: GRUZINSKA, Aleksandra (ed.), Essays on E. M. Cioran. Costa Mesa, CA: American Romanian Academy of Arts and Sciences Publications, 1999, 222 pp.

Certainly, Cioran’s work must be read as what it is, and not as it should be according to such or such interpretation. Admittedly this is an aporia that yields little interpretative exit to any commentator on the philosopher whose entire work is the glorification of the denial. In other words, Cioran has nothing to hide and everything to deny except his own opinions. An uninterrupted repetition of his ultimate and only truth, Cioran’s work is a faithful sanctification of the splendor of nothingness, and presents us with a thinking itinerary remarkable for the dedication with which it pursues the project of the scholastics of the decay.

As he says, with a perfect definition an of his philosophic creed, “… sans un appetit funeste, point d’incarnation ni d’histoire” (Oeuvres. Ecartelement 1452). The gradual shift from History ta history, that is, from Creation ta Apocalypse, is his response ta the traditional questions posed by the systematic philosophy. Indeed, Cioran seems ta entertain little patience for the solid constructions of the “other” thinkers. He resolved earIy in his writing career that the aphoristic style and the fragment convey perfectIy his desire ta commit himself ta a textual violence equal ta the results of an oppressive history. Whereas traditional philosophy speaks of “ontology” ar “systerns of values,” Cioran, considering the lack of substance and, ultimately, the absence of a genuine being in aur existence, sees such categorizing as superfluous. Each of us is “un accident, un mensonge;” if one wishes ta claim any “reality” at all ta aur existential approximations, then it surely is an apocalyptic one. Cioran never liked ta be labeled as a “professional” philosopher, so he chose instead ta describe himself as an independent thinker, a “penseur prive.” Such a distinction allows him ta refuse any academic affiliation and to enjoy the privileges of a thinking free from the constraints of the system. As we have seen, philosophy is for him a matter of “appetit.”

This explains why Cioran views as important any major philosophical undertaking from the moment it discards the excess of a philosophical system while retaining the whole load of individual experience reduced to its essential problems… [Pdf]