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So Cioran opened a “Window to nothing”

So Cioran opened a “Window to nothing”
So Cioran opened a “Window to nothing”
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In the early 1990s there were two books that had created two intellectual fads, two factions, both published by Adelphi, both with titles that alone attracted the restless reader: one was Milan’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Kundera, released a few years earlier, the other The inconvenience of being born, by Emil Cioran.

Thus it was that, in that decade, two factions were created: the Kunderians and the Cioranians. One Czech, the other Romanian, both from Eastern Europe, chose two different expressions: Kundera, unlike Cioran, declined an existential pessimism in novels which, however, had a nature of political rebellion, love as a hope. I was a Cioranian, for a reason: Cioran, an exile in France, touched the absolute, the existential unease, without other external reasons. For him, existence was really unsustainable, regardless of regimes, contingent situations, religion, politics, everything (but he claimed that his name was pronounced in the French way, from here you recognize the true Cioranians – who pronounce sioran – from fake).

A youthful, unpublished book is now released by Emil, made up of fragments, taking into account that in any case all Cioran’s books are made of fragments, the novel was not for him, and on the other hand the most important philosophical work we have is the Zibaldone by Leopardi, who hated Manzoni’s I promessi sposi and has never written a novel.

The title chosen by Adelphi is the most Cioranian, Window on nothing, and considering that the fragments were written between 1943 and 1945 makes this text even more important: in the middle of the Second World War, when he was still writing in Romanian, Cioran was already Cioran. He saw the nonsense of existence in wartime as he would always see it later, in the Parisian apartment where he had been confined.

No mention of what was happening around him, only the existential pain of being there, of being born, because “all pain is universal”. In pain we experience the only human sensation that leads us to feel nothing in the universe, a suffering nothing, sentient matter, which takes away meaning from any possible happiness, which vice versa is always a deception. It is one of the thoughts expressed recently by Piero Angela shortly before his death, when he was asked what death meant for him: «We have always been dead before we were born, we will be after. The only thing to do is to enjoy life while it is there ». For Emil it was not like that, the only thing to do was to express the tragedy of life in writing.


He was still young but “sometimes I feel older than any possible old man.” Cioran, unlike Kundera, could not find a way out in love, because to really love means to suffer even more, because sooner or later love will turn into suffering. Unlike love, friendship would be possible, but it is rendered impracticable by the lie inherent in the human being: «Of all the cowardice that make relationships between human beings possible, the most delicate, however, remains friendship. Total sincerity is compatible only with the monastery or the murder ».

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Illusions, lost immediately, right from these posthumous fragments: «On the negative side, life is a perpetual funeral mass, celebrated in remembrance of the illusion; on the positive side, it is the act of not dying ». Like then Samuel Beckett, not being able to continue, continue. Total disgust for any form of social commitment, also for this reason Cioran never liked the communists (nor the fascists), his gaze towards humanity was that of an ethologist of despair, a huge senseless anthill. Even observing an anthill, he does not identify himself with the industrious ants that contribute to the continuation of his own species, on the contrary, he thinks of what a truly intelligent ant would be: her companions would enter – assuming to know her – in the history of thought ».

No sympathy for anyone, praise of misanthropy as a form of superior intelligence, because “the greatness of a man is measured by the degree of contempt for his fellow man”. Later he also wrote a lot about suicide, without ever killing himself, but preventing others from doing it, as many readers wrote to him who found in his voice a companion, a salvation from the inconvenience of being born.

The article is in Italian

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