Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Miserabilism and Emil Cioran

When international finance capitalism is falling willingly into the hands of governments you know it must be up shit creek without a paddle.

There is a mood of pessimism in the air, and, to quote Gramsci, it's not just "pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will" pervading the ether.

Once upon a time I had a thing for the writing of EM Cioran. His aphorisms have an almost beautiful streak of pessimism. Witness "Basis of society: anonymous sweat" or "We are afraid of the enormity of the possible".

Unfortunately in the 1930s and 1940s he, like the Daily Mail, admired a chap called Hitler.

Shalom Auslander has been reading a book of Cioran's.
This week Shalom read EM Cioran's The Trouble with Being Born: "Imagine the worst mood you've ever had, and now imagine there's someone for whom that mood would be the best mood they ever had. Now imagine they wrote a book."
That's a good summary but somehow it fails to describe the despairing beauty of Cioran's aphorisms.

Several years ago we were in a pub in the Bloomsbury fringe. Someone came round putting out notices saying that the research notes of a friend's six year study into Cioran had been stolen from a car and asking had anyone seen the notes which were worthless to anyone but the student. There is something beautifully tragic about a study into Cioran ending in despair; but I do hope the student recovered to submit their thesis.

No comments: