Quotes Categories

E. M. Cioran Quotes

(1911), Rumanian-born French Philosopher

Does our ferocity not derive from the fact that our instincts are all too interested in other people? If we attended more to ourselves and became the center, the object of our murderous inclinations, the sum of our intolerances would diminish.

Category: Aggression

Those who believe in their truth -- the only ones whose imprint is retained by the memory of men -- leave the earth behind them strewn with corpses. Religions number in their ledgers more murders than the bloodiest tyrannies account for, and those whom humanity has called divine far surpass the most conscientious murderers in their thirst for slaughter.

Category: Bigotry

Consciousness is much more than the thorn, it is the dagger in the flesh.

Category: Consciousness

A sudden silence in the middle of a conversation suddenly brings us back to essentials: it reveals how dearly we must pay for the invention of speech.

Category: Conversation

Criticism is a misconception: we must read not to understand others but to understand ourselves.

Category: Critics And Criticism

Show me one thing here on earth which has begun well and not ended badly. The proudest palpitations are engulfed in a sewer, where they cease throbbing, as though having reached their natural term: this downfall constitutes the heart's drama and the negative meaning of history.

Category: Decay

A decadent civilization compromises with its disease, cherishes the virus infecting it, loses its self-respect.

Category: Disease

The source of our actions resides in an unconscious propensity to regard ourselves as the center, the cause, and the conclusion of time. Our reflexes and our pride transform into a planet the parcel of flesh and consciousness we are.

Category: Egotism

Man must vanquish himself, must do himself violence, in order to perform the slightest action untainted by evil.

Category: Evil

There is no means of proving it is preferable to be than not to be.

Category: Existence

To exist is equivalent to an act of faith, a protest against the truth, an interminable prayer. As soon as they consent to live, the unbeliever and the man of faith are fundamentally the same, since both have made the only decision that defines a being.

Category: Existence

To want fame is to prefer dying scorned than forgotten.

Category: Fame

The fanatic is incorruptible: if he kills for an idea, he can just as well get himself killed for one; in either case, tyrant or martyr, he is a monster.

Category: Fanatics And Fanaticism

What we want is not freedom but its appearances. It is for these simulacra that man has always striven. And since freedom, as has been said, is no more than a sensation, what difference is there between being free and believing ourselves free?

Category: Freedom

Every thought derives from a thwarted sensation.

Category: Frustration