O! Cioran!

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“The ‘empty’ time of meditation is, in truth, the only ‘full’ time. We should never blush to accumulate vacant moments – – vacant in appearance, filled in fact. To meditate is a supreme leisure, whose secret has been lost.”

E. M. Cioran (1911-95), The Trouble With Being Born (1973)

Cioran is one of those figures in history who I notice having actually loving feelings toward. Beethoven, Mahler, Emerson, Kafka — there are a few. I actually notice that I love this man, this mind, as a person. There is just this extraordinary resonance, such a firm matching with my innermost sense of things, that it nearly always feels that I am reading things I have already jotted down somewhere, through someone else’s pen, and they have just now arrived back in my soul, where they’d never really left but maybe been covered over by too much convention or education or indoctrination of one kind or another. Yet the familiarity is there.

The nearest equivalent is the music of Mahler: it is nearly impossible for me to actually listen to it, because the recognition is so overwhelming that a kind of terror consumes me from the profoundest depth inside. It is almost enough to just have Mahler’s picture in my room, so that an accidental overdose does not occur.

A similar feeling there is with Cioran, and also especially with Kafka. These damned Eastern European existentialists, shot through with death and the absurdity of living, the eternal joke of life in this world of humans!