Do not read only good books. The poor and mediocre are very often far more instructive. Intrinsically, E. M. Cioran’s essays in The Temptation to Exist are. This collection of eleven essays originally appeared in France thirty years ago and created a literary whirlwind on the Left Bank. Cioran writes incisively about. If you would like to know what philosophizing was like in the ’50s, particularly in Paris, you might well try E. M. Cioran’s “The Temptation to Exist.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Temptation to Exist by Emil M. This collection of eleven essays originally appeared in France thirty years ago and created a literary whirlwind on the Left Bank. Cioran writes incisively about Western civilizations, the writer, the novel, mystics, ciotan, and philosophers.

His statements have the compression of poetry and the exish of cosmic clownin This collection of eleven essays originally appeared in France thirty years ago and created a literary whirlwind on the Left Bank. His statements have the compression of poetry and the audacity of cosmic clowning. Paperbackpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please temptatio up.

To ask other readers questions about The Temptation to Existplease sign up. See 1 question about The Temptation to Exist…. Lists with This Book. Mar 16, Buck added it Shelves: God, talk about your first-world problems. Outside the Latin Quarter, has anyone ever troubled their head about such a ridiculous pseudo-dilemma? And what enlightenment, if any, are Really, Emil?

And what enlightenment, if any, are we cipran to derive from windy aphorisms like this: But just FYI, Emil: But why am I temptafion bothering? George Orwell has already said yemptation that needed to cuoran said about this strain of high-toned whining. Reviewing a book by Cyril Connolly, who happened to be an old friend of his, Orwell wrote: Obviously, modern mechanised life becomes dreary if you let it.

The awful thraldom of money is upon everyone and there are only three immediately obvious escapes. One is religion, another is unending work, the third is the kind of sluttish antinomianism – lying in bed till four in the afternoon, drinking Pernod – that Mr. Connolly seems to admire. The third is certainly the worst, but in any case the essential evil is to think in terms of escape. The fact exiet which we have got to cling, as to a lifebelt, is that it is possible to be a normal decent person and yet be fully alive.

And for what it’s worth, I’d say that last line contains more wisdom and nobility than the entire published output of Emil Cioran. View all 30 comments. Apr 11, Szplug rated it it was amazing. I often think of him as he was depicted in the introduction to On the Heights of Despaira withered old man with a thick sprouting of silver straw flaming from cioraan skull, softly admitting to Ilinca Zarifopol-Johnston that he was weary of slandering the universe ; in the end, even the great decrier slumped back against the walls of our earthly prison.


Imagine being such an acute and acerbic diagnostician temmptation despair, decay, and delusion, and yet fully aware that not only was there n Poor Cioran. Imagine being such an acute and acerbic diagnostician of despair, decay, and delusion, and yet fully aware that not only was there no escape from the dimensional consciousness erected by the Western mind, but that our every avenue of thought traversed, every force of will summoned in an effort to pierce its epistemological and ontological glamours and perceive a means of exiting its limitative reality – arising from a well fashioned from the stones of this very confining metastructure, fed by its waters, breezed by its air, and enthused by its fires – was doomed from the beginning, by its very origin and fabric, to dissipate and dissolve within the actuality it was trying to penetrate.


The Solar Empire, having been ruptured and divided into Subjects and Objects by the rebellious hordes of the individuating Devil, inflamed by the Outside, cannot again be a unitary domain of the Absolute; and every act of rebellion – violent action brought about by a delusion of free-will, of overthrowing the legal code of Being – consumes itself and its temptagion before sinking back into the stagnant waters from which, in a furious breaching, it hurled itself upwards.

With the first ballpark estimation of the speed of light occurring during the Enlightenment, would Cioran have begun marking our progress along the paths of acute existential suffering, of philosophic systems and scientific analysis erected under Historyof the birth pangs of Ideology and the mad lust for rebellion, along a scale aligned to human awareness of the spatial velocity of the Sun’s burning caresses?

What if we tempyation to the mixture our dawning comprehension that we travel at the exact same rate of speed through the enigmatic tunnel of our great nemesis, Time? How does this knowledge – with its temptaation incomprehensible intimations of contingency being subsumed within the necessary even as freedom is quashed by a determinism that has encircled the rosie in a vermicular manner that cannot be empirically understood, or even grasped, within the vast, empty rictus tempgation our temporal reality – link to the fiery vision that Exits received in those blearily grim, but starkly limned pre-dawn hours when he could not shut down that spinning top of a mind and enter the realm of dreams where he so longed to reside?

For it is within Timethe flattening of our rational, systematic, and sterile Western existence under its dominion and the filling of the space thus abandoned with the fear of Death, that Cioran espies the triumph of this great Enemy. He was spared the madness of Nietzsche, but perhaps, in the end, was afforded a ruder treatment: As Susan Sontag points out in her brilliant introduction, there is little that Cioran could take from his vituperation other than the satisfaction of understanding.

Is suffering ameliorated when its cause and its ineradicable necessity are comprehended? When the Romanian exile states that such is the case, it lacks an unwavering conviction. There is perhaps no victory to be claimed by either expounding such a ferocious nihilgnostic doctrine or imbibing it; but there is a definite pleasure gained by the manner in which it is put to the page, and in the stimulation it provides to the boiler rooms of the imagination and thought – and, for many, that is more than reason enough to make Cioran a habit.

View all 3 comments. Sep 30, Tosh rated it it was amazing. How can one resist this title – just the title alone! One of the great cynical thinkers in the 20th Century.

THE TEMPTATION TO EXIST by E.M. Cioran | Kirkus Reviews

I recently discovered him, and once I read this book, i had to go out and get every title by this incredible writer.

Good volume to have by the bedside, when you have one of those nightmares that wake you up. When he’s there, the real nightmare happens!

View all 4 comments. E con profonda, potente e nascosta, ironia. E sentirsi positivamente stimolati. Salvo poi, in caso, non condividere; comunque ringraziando.

View all 10 comments. May 10, Elena Holmgren rated it it was amazing Shelves: Read on its own, Cioran’s perspective seems incomplete, forced.


Only in this fertile opposition does it temptatioh its full sense for me. Destructio “The Temptation to Exist” makes an interesting complement or foil? Destruction awaits anyone who, answering to exidt vocation and fulfilling it, exerts himself within history; only the man who sacrifices every gift and talent escapes: Ciiran always perishes by the self one assumes: Ultimate lucidity is to be found in a turning against ccioran – a self-unraveling – that at times borders on the morbid.

Any positive stance we take on the question of Being is not just a gamble anymore, but pre-determines its own “exact mode of collapse. Because of this, all positions that the creative self constructs specify a determinate mode of delayed self-annihiliation. One wonders at times how much of this work is a self-inebriating literary exercise.

But then, I’d be lying to myself if I took such a no-nonsense, naturalistic approach and denied that such essential questioning had its place, and that really, we all know life is grand doesn’t need questioning. Ultimately, Cioran shows cioraj how little grounding is left for the self that is determined to place its -entire- life into question and not just select domains within that life, as past philosophers did.

I find Zagajewski’s thought about Cioran to be right on the mark: But poetry surpasses doubt, pointing to what we cannot know. Doubt is narcissistic; we look at everything critically, including ourselves, and perhaps that comforts us.

Doubt is poetry temptatipn the resigned. Whereas poetry is searching, endless wandering. Doubt is a tunnel, poetry is a spiral. Doubt prefers to shut, while poetry opens. Poetry laughs and cries, doubt ironizes.

Why does one choose poetry while another chooses doubt? Reading this, the same question keeps coming back to one: That primordial decision certainly determines the course of all one’s other thoughts. Cioran is the master of the negative epiphany, of the anti-epiphany. He will specify the precise “mode of collapse” of any of the meanings and revelations that sustain us through life.

And several other times in my life, when I was swimming far out, or lying alone on a beach, I have had the same experience, became the sun, the hot sand, green seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying in the tide. Like a saint’s vision of beatitude. Like the veil of things as they seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you see, and seeing the secret, you are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on towards nowhere for no good reason.

All this Cioran denies and treats as a self-alienating projection onto the inhuman world of meanings that we create. The only genuine meaning to be found is in absolute, vacuous independence and in a “pure” act of self-reflexivity that withdraws from all such projection and psychological outsourcing onto the world.

There’s something almost Manichean in his rejection of any relation with the non-human background world. Perhaps this is what we get when we philosophize from the presumption that there can be an I without a Thou.

But, of course, nobody actually lives on the bread of negation. He himself is tortured by this self-contradiction: Negation is always parasitic. There is thus something either dishonest, or repressed, about a work that seeks to build itself solely on the lucidity of negation.