The Trouble with Being Born

By Emil M. Cioran, Richard Howard

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In this volume, which reaffirms the uncompromising brilliance of his mind, Cioran strips the human condition down to its most basic components, birth and death, suggesting that disaster lies not in the prospect of death but in the fact of birth, "that laughable accident." In the lucid, aphoristic style that characterizes his work, Cioran writes of time and death, God and r In this volume, which reaffirms the...

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September 15th 1998 by Arcade Publishing

(first published 1973)

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Quotes From "The Trouble with Being Born"

"It is not worth the bother of killing yourself, since you always kill yourself too late."
"What do you do from morning to night?"

"I endure myself."
"A zoologist who observed gorillas in their native habitat was amazed by the uniformity of their life and their vast idleness. Hours and hours without doing anything. Was boredom unknown to them? This is indeed a question raised by a human, a busy ape. Far from fleeing monotony, animals crave it, and what they most dread is to see it end. For it ends, only to be replaced by fear, the cause of all activity. Inaction is divine; yet it is against inaction that man has rebelled. Man alone, in nature, is incapable of enduring monotony, man alone wants something to happen at all costs — something, anything.... Thereby he shows himself unworthy of his ancestor: the need for novelty is the characteristic of an alienated gorilla."
"The same feeling of not belonging, of futility, wherever I go: I pretend interest in what matters nothing to me, I bestir myself mechanically or out of charity, without ever being caught up, without ever being somewhere. What attracts me is elsewhere, and I don’t know where that elsewhere is."
"Sometimes I wish I were a cannibal – less for the pleasure of eating someone than for the pleasure of vomiting him."
"Do I look like someone who has something to do here on earth?' —That's what I'd like to answer the busybodies who inquire into my activities."
"When people come to me saying they want to kill themselves, I tell them, “What’s your rush? You can kill yourself any time you like. So calm down. Suicide is a positive act.” And they do calm down."
"To have committed every crime but that of being a father."

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