“Le rire de Démocrite et la mélancolie de Cioran” (Constantin Zaharia)

Cercetări filosofico-psihologice, anul VII, nr. 1, p. 71-77, Bucureşti, 2015

Democritus’s Laugh and Cioran’s Melancholy. A corpus of letters wrongly attributed to Hippocrates portrays Democritus, considered a fool by the people of Abdera, and Hippocrates, called in to cure the philosopher. The philosopher’s laughter about all things occurring is absurd in the eyes of his fellow-citizens. The doctor, who thinks at first that it is a fit of black bile taking the form of euthymia, is eventually persuaded by the arguments put forward by Democritus and concedes that the madness of the world justifies fully the hilarity of the philosopher. Cioran, whose outbursts and vehemence fall under black bile, belongs entirely to the field of reflection that challenges the meaning of existence, as well as other fundamental notions: God, civilization, history. Melancholy is the essential ingredient of his thinking and, via an unexpected switch, lucidity sometimes takes the form, even in the author’s writings, of a hint of madness. But are we not, yet again, right in Aristotle’s Problem XXX, 1, which says that all extraordinary people are melancholic?

Key words: melancholy, humours, madness, genius (perittos).