E.M. Cioran, Tears and Saints

Marked Passages
― Saints live in flames; wise men, next to them.

― There is a whole race of melancholy: it begins with a smile and a landscape and ends with the clang of a broken bell in the soul.

― No matter what we say, the end of all sadness is a swoon into divinity.

― Job, the organ’s cosmic lamentations, and weeping willows. Open wounds of nature and the soul. The human heart, God’s open wound.

― Joseph, the father of Jesus, is the most compromised person in history, the Christians shoved him aside and made him the laughingstock of all men. Had he told the truth at least once, his son would have remained an obscure Jew. The triumph of Christianity originates in a virility that lacked self-esteem. The Virgin Birth originates in the world’s piety and one man’s cowardice.

― God has exploited all our inferiority complexes, starting with our disbelief in gods.

― Weininger used to say that epilepsy was the criminal’s last solitude. Having no more ties with the world, all he has left is the fall. 
The saint’s swooning is no less a breaking of their ties with the world, but they fall into heaven.

― God’s greatest advantage is that one can say or think anything about him. the less you connect your thoughts, abandoning them to contradictions, the more you risk coming near the truth. God benefits from the peripheries.

― The answer saintly women gave whenever their parents begged them to marry was invariably the same: they could not marry because they had promised Jesus their maidenhood. the wrenching truth is that Jesus does not deserve so many renunciations. Whenever i think about the infinity of suffering to which the saints’ perverse transcendence has led, the agony of Jesus strikes me as merely sad. The cross broke apart and fell into the saints’ souls, and its nails bore into their hearts all their life, not for just a few hours on a hill. The ultimate cruelty was that of Jesus: leaving an inheritance of bloodstains on the cross.

― So many young lives were crucified because they were born of eternity’s hysteria, and followed the heavenly example of a demi-God! Jesus must have a very heavy conscience if he has even an inkling of his responsibility in the face of so much suffering. Heavy red and black crosses will rise from the saint’s inhuman suffering on the Day of the Last Judgement to punish the Son, Dealer in Pain.

― As long as one believes in philosophy, one is healthy: sickness begins when one starts to think.

― When I think of the loneliness of nights, and the agony of this loneliness, I long to wander on roads unknown to saints. Where to, where to? There are abysses even outside the soul.

― Becoming is nothing more than a cosmic sigh. We are the wounds of nature, and God is doubting Thomas.

― The only explanation for the creation of the world is God’s fear of solitude. In other words, our role is to amuse Our Maker. Poor clowns of the absolute, we forget that we act out a tragedy to enliven the boredom of one spectator whose applause has never reached mortal ear. Solitude weighs on God so much that he invented the saints as partners in dialogue.
I can stand up to God only by confronting him with another solitude. without my solitude I would be nothing more than another clown.

― If truth were not boring, science would have done away with God long ago. But God as well as the saints is a means to escape the dull banality of truth.

― Without our intimations of the approaching night which we call God, life would be a cheerful twilight.

― Each time weariness with the world takes on a religious form, God appears like a sea of forgetfulness. Drowning in God is a refuge from our own individuality.

― The creation of man was a cosmic cataclysm, and its aftershocks have become God’s nightmares. Man is a paradox of nature, equally removed from it and from God. The order of things in heaven and on earth has changed ever since the creation of consciousness. With it, God appeared in his true light as one more nothingness.

― Adolescence is an intermediary stage linking the paradise of childhood to the inferno of failure.

― “Suffering is the cause of consciousness” (Dostoevsky). men belong to two categories: those who have understood this, and the others.

― No matter how educated you are, if you don’t think about death, you are a mere fool. A great scholar – if he is nothing but that – as inferior to an illiterate present haunted by the final question. generally speaking, science has dulled people’s minds by diminishing the metaphysical consciousness.

― I am neither unhappy enough to be a poet nor as indifferent as a philosopher. But I am lucid enough to be a condemned man.

― The ultimate goal of all religions: life as a diminution of the soul.

― I could easily convert to a religion which preaches that to die is shameful. Christianity has flattered too much the most intimate part of ourselves, turning death into a triumph of virtue. Agony is Christianity’s normal climate. Everybody dies in the religion, even God, as if there were not enough corpses already and time weren’t the slaughterhouse of the universe!

― Children scare me. their eyes contain too many promises of unhappiness. Why do they want to grow up? Children, like madmen, are graced with innate genius, soon lost in the void of lucidity.

― Life is a state of inebriation crossed by sudden flashes of doubt. Most normal individuals are dead drunk. One wouldn’t dare breathe if one were sober.


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