Cioran on Democracy

Democracy is a festival of mediocrity. - E. M. Cioran

Democracy transcends time and space; it can never be understood except as a spiritual force. Majority rule rests on numbers; democracy rests on the well-grounded assumption that society is neither a collection of units nor an organism but a network of human relations. Democracy is the bringing forth of a genuine collective will, one to which every single being must contribute the whole of his [or her] complex life, as one which every single being must express the whole of at one point. Thus the essence of democracy is creating. The technique of democracy is group organization. Philosophy of existence, Cioran's letters - I mean the book "Letters to Wolfgang Kraus (1971 1990)," are equally, if not a greater extent, historical philosophy exercises, primarily the history of twentieth century Europe. To Cioran the future of Europe and America (it's North America) did not seem at all good. Striking is that his ideas and predictions are now, I'd say most current (and some even true) than they were in the '70s and '80s, when the 158 letters were written. It's almost a truism to say that Cioran beyond the paradoxes and the skepticism was / is a visionary. His comments on the events, which are witness statements, show a deep understanding of not only them but their effects and an intuitive medium and long term view. In a letter dated May 5, 1973, he wrote: "Unlimited freedom they enjoy in the West is on the long term, harmful and even dangerous. Freedom has a positive value only to the extent that there are prejudices that hinder. But when prejudices are removed, the instinct of preservation is destroyed and dizziness takes over. And this was in 1973, so two years before the Act of the Helsinki! And much more before entering the action of political correctness. It is clear that Cioran saw a dizziness that began to be felt even more acutely in the decades that followed. And

"(27 October 1990). says Cioran. “After nearly two years. "Churches from Bucharest are full. too old fashioned. "Our epoch. p. There is no purpose in endless deliberations about higher meaning of life. Real joy lies in non-being. the fate of Christianity in the West and in Europe generally for Cioran is a reflection of the main themes and concerns. and many others.not only in the countries of Western Europe.. that is. especially today’s Romania: "In times of crisis may very well be seen the negative sides of democracy. Syllogismes de l'amertume (Paris: Gallimard. Cioran senses the happening of deep motivation in contemporary phenomena and sometimes predicts on their evolution. When one reads Cioran's prose the reader is confronted by an author who imposes a climate of cold apocalypse that thoroughly contradicts the heritage of progress. One sentence down on paper written by Cioran over 35 years ago seems to have been inspired by the very reality of Europe." As for Romania's destiny. Notre Dame will be a mosque."1 Similar to his exiled compatriots Eugene Ionesco. he did not hesitate to pronounce his opinions: "Everything in this country failed. visiting Bucharest in 1976. in the conviction that each willful act of creation perpetuates cosmic chaos. That's the only originality. he wrote to Wolfgang Kraus: "There is no salvation for civilization that no longer believes in itself. Allow me to do a prophecy? In fifty years. 1952). which excludes any notion of the arrival of a new messiah or the continuation of techno-economic progress." This is particularly troubling since I quoted what belongs to the great thinker of the twentieth century who lived in the interwar Romanian simulacrum of democracy. Marxism is the last chance of victory for Christianity. Already the picture of the universe is in the making in which nobody will have civic rights. only one can save the ruthless tyranny". 72 . In any case. otherwise it becomes too conventional. whereas Christianity has been and should remain the basis and backbone of European civilization. For example. The Church must be suppressed. Mircea Eliade. "will be marked by the romanticism of stateless persons. writes Cioran. Moreover. The 1 Emile Cioran. Christianity is completely hollow. who. but more for political than religious reasons. was impressed that here the churches were full of believers. In the West. Cioran came to realize very early that the sense of existential futility can best by cured by the belief in a cyclical concept of history.. then a large and functional western democracy. his diagnosis would be even more severe: ". In January 1987. it relates to what Wolfgang Kraus.

Seaver Bks. which is endlessly marred by political tremors and real earthquakes. Only in the praise of non-being. does man's existence become bearable. It is as if. it must keep a tally of its own capacity for destruction. be it recorded history or mythical history. its paramount task is to harness and nurture its "substantial calamity". ending tomorrow at the bottom. when insinuating myself in this world. "Society is badly organized. had it not been for a young lunatic from the Galilee. and in the thorough denial of life. or the glitter of their past. made a mistake of indescribable gravity. the setting remains similar. yet democracy has no life of its own. and will soon take possession of what lies inside: “Regardless of what the world will look like in the future. argues Cioran. they will not have anything to offer except the jugglery of their intelligence.. I profaned some mystery. "because when the mob accepts a myth--get ready for massacres or better yet for a new religion. millions of new barbarians have begun to pound at the gates of Europe. Although today the actors are different. 1986 . For Cioran all systems must be rejected for the simple reason that they all glorify man as an ultimate creature. translated by Richard Howard. Without democracy life makes little sense. argues Ciroan. with those who are today on top. betrayed some very important engagement. a new history is today in the making--a history which will probably reward its populace for the past suffering. "it does nothing against lunatics who die so young." Probably all prophets and political soothsayers should immediately be put to death. In this area of Europe. writes Cioran. argues Cioran. is replete with the cacophony of theological and ideological tautologies. " The feeling of sublime futility with regard to everything that life entails goes hand in hand with Cioran's pessimistic attitude towards the rise and fall of states and empires. the world would be today a very boring place. Mass democracy has taken its place. Needed and despised by new conquerors. 2 The temptation to exist.entirety of history. Westerners will assume the role of the Graeculi of the Roman Empire. Everything is a historical carousel." If a society truly wishes to preserve its biological well-being.”2 Today there are no more utopias in stock. After all. "I cannot excuse myself for being born.

then one must depict him as an author who sees in the modern veneration of the intellect a blueprint for spiritual gulags and the uglification of the world. by Richard Howard."4 If one could reduce the portrayal of Cioran to one short paragraph. 88 . torn apart between wretchedness and sedition. society becomes consolidated in danger and it atrophies in peace: "In those places where peace. p. Maltreated. trans. hygiene and leisure ravage. “To be free is to rid oneself forever from the notion of reward.. to renounce not only this world and all worlds. they will perhaps know in the future a reward for so many ordeals. for futility is not hopelessness. these countries possess a biological stock which one cannot find in the West. 1987 Syllogismes de l'amertume.“Whatever their past was. disinherited. and irrespective of their civilization. I come from a country which. while never learning to know the meaning of happiness. so much humiliation and for so much cowardice. psychoses also multiply. to expect nothing from people or gods. p.”3 For Cioran. Le mauvais demiurge. Probably. Indeed.. has also never produced a single psychoanalyst.. man's task is to wash himself in the school of existential futility. for Cioran. Seaver Bks. futility is a reward for those wishing to rid themselves of the epidemic of life and the virus of hope.”5 3 4 5 History and Utopia. precipitated in the anonymous martyrdom. to break up even the idea of this chain among chains. 154. but salvations itself. this picture best befits the man who describes himself as a fanatic without any convictions--a stranded accident in the cosmos who casts nostalgic looks towards his quick disappearance.

Polirom. Demiurgul cel rau.utk. Schimbarea la fata a Romaniei. 2006 • Oliver Nay.famousquotesandauthors.Bibliography • Emil Cioran.com/blog/2010/06/lumea-politiculuiemil-cioran/ • http://www. Humanitas. 1992 • Emil Cioran. Silogismele Amaraciunii.html • http://sunsite. Humanitas.edu/FINS/DemocracyRightNow!/ .com/authors/e__m__cio ran_quotes. 1990 • Emil Cioran. Humanitas. Istoria Ideilor Politice. 2008 • http://timisoaralive.

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