By E. M. Cioran
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Additional info for A Short History of Decay
One lives as if he were eternal; the other thinks continually of his eternity and denies it in each thought. Nothing can change our life but the gradual insinuation within us of the forces which annihilate it. No new principle comes to it from the surprises of our growth nor from the efflorescence of our gifts; they are merely natural to it. And nothing natural can make us anything but ourselves. Everything which prefigures death adds a quality of novelty to life, modifies and amplifies it.
Since it is difficult to approve the reasons people invoke, each time we leave one of our fellow men, the question which comes to mind is invariably the same: how does he keep from killing himself? For nothing is more natural than to imagine other people’s suicide. When we have glimpsed, by an overwhelming and readily renewable intuition, anyone’s own uselessness, it is incomprehensible that everyone has not done the same. To do away with oneself seems such a clear and simple action! Why is it so rare, why does everyone avoid it?
Of course, in our digital age is quite easy to find Cioran’s books. The real question is why one would read them. In this sense, perhaps the only way to encounter Cioran is to stumble across him, as if by accident or by fate. 1 DIRECTIONS FOR DECOMPOSITION Genealogy of Fanaticism—The Anti-Prophet—In the Graveyard of Definitions—Civilization and Frivolity—Dissolving into God—Variations on Death —In the Margin of Moments—Dislocation of Time—Magnificent Futility—Exegesis of Failure-Coalition against Death—Supremacy of the Adjective—The Devil Reassured—Promenade around the Circumference—The Sundays of Life—Resignation—The Indirect Animal—The Key to Our Endurance—Annihilation by Deliverance—The Abstract Venom—The Consciousness of Misery—Interjective Thought—Apotheosis of the Vague —Solitude-Schism of the Heart—Twilight Thinkers—Resources of Self-Destruction—The Reactionary Angels—The Concern for Decency Gamut of the Void—Certain Mornings—Militant Mourning—Immunity to Renunciation—The World’s Equilibrium—Farewell to Philosophy—From Saint to Cynic—Return to the Elements—Subterfuges—Non-Resistance to Night—Turning a Cold Shoulder to Time—Two-Faced Freedom—Overworked by Dreams—The Model Traitor—In One of the Earth’s Attics—Indefinite Horror—Unconscious Dogmas—Duality—The Renegade—Shades of the Future—The Flower of Fixed Ideas—The “Celestial Dog"—Ambiguity of Genius—Idolatry of Disaster—The Demon—The Mockery of a “New Life"—Triple Impasse—Cosmogony of Desire—Interpretation of Actions—Life without Objective—Acedia—Crimes of Courage and Fear—Disintoxication—Itinerary of Hate—"La Perduta Gente"'—History and Language—Philosophy and Prostitution—Obsession of the Essential—Felicity of Epigones—Ultimate Audacity—Effigy of the Failure—Conditions of Tragedy—The Immanent Lie—The Coming of Consciousness—The Arrogance of Prayer—Lypemania—Everyday Curse—Defense of Corruption—The Obsolete Universe— Decrepit Man I’ll join with black despair against my soul, And to myself become an enemy.