Does our ferocity not derive from the fact that our instincts are all too interested in other people? If we attended more to ourselves and became the center, the object of our murderous inclinations, the sum of our intolerances would diminish.
View quote | Quotes about Aggression

Those who believe in their truth -- the only ones whose imprint is retained by the memory of men -- leave the earth behind them strewn with corpses. Religions number in their ledgers more murders than the bloodiest tyrannies account for, and those whom humanity has called divine far surpass the most conscientious murderers in their thirst for slaughter.
View quote | Quotes about Bigotry

Consciousness is much more than the thorn, it is the dagger in the flesh.
View quote | Quotes about Consciousness

A sudden silence in the middle of a conversation suddenly brings us back to essentials: it reveals how dearly we must pay for the invention of speech.
View quote | Quotes about Conversation

Criticism is a misconception: we must read not to understand others but to understand ourselves.
View quote | Quotes about Critics and Criticism

Show me one thing here on earth which has begun well and not ended badly. The proudest palpitations are engulfed in a sewer, where they cease throbbing, as though having reached their natural term: this downfall constitutes the heart's drama and the negative meaning of history.
View quote | Quotes about Decay

A decadent civilization compromises with its disease, cherishes the virus infecting it, loses its self-respect.
View quote | Quotes about Disease

The source of our actions resides in an unconscious propensity to regard ourselves as the center, the cause, and the conclusion of time. Our reflexes and our pride transform into a planet the parcel of flesh and consciousness we are.
View quote | Quotes about Egotism

Man must vanquish himself, must do himself violence, in order to perform the slightest action untainted by evil.
View quote | Quotes about Evil

There is no means of proving it is preferable to be than not to be.
View quote | Quotes about Existence

To exist is equivalent to an act of faith, a protest against the truth, an interminable prayer. As soon as they consent to live, the unbeliever and the man of faith are fundamentally the same, since both have made the only decision that defines a being.
View quote | Quotes about Existence

To want fame is to prefer dying scorned than forgotten.
View quote | Quotes about Fame

The fanatic is incorruptible: if he kills for an idea, he can just as well get himself killed for one; in either case, tyrant or martyr, he is a monster.
View quote | Quotes about Fanatics and Fanaticism

Fear can supplant our real problems only to the extent --unwilling either to assimilate or to exhaust it --we perpetuate it within ourselves like a temptation and enthrone it at the very heart of our solitude.
View quote | Quotes about Fear

What we want is not freedom but its appearances. It is for these simulacra that man has always striven. And since freedom, as has been said, is no more than a sensation, what difference is there between being free and believing ourselves free?
View quote | Quotes about Freedom

Every thought derives from a thwarted sensation.
View quote | Quotes about Frustration

God: a disease we imagine we are cured of because no one dies of it nowadays.
View quote | Quotes about God

A civilization is destroyed only when its gods are destroyed.
View quote | Quotes about God

No one can keep his grieves in their prime; they use themselves up.
View quote | Quotes about Grief

To exist is a habit I do not despair of acquiring.
View quote | Quotes about Habit

Progress is the injustice each generation commits with regard to its predecessors.
View quote | Quotes about Injustice

Impossible to spend sleepless nights and accomplish anything: if, in my youth, my parents had not financed my insomnias, I should surely have killed myself.
View quote | Quotes about Insomnia

One does not inhabit a country; one inhabits a language. That is our country, our fatherland --and no other.
View quote | Quotes about Language

Great persecutors are recruited among martyrs whose heads haven't been cut off.
View quote | Quotes about Martyrdom

No human beings more dangerous than those who have suffered for a belief: the great persecutors are recruited from the martyrs not quite beheaded. Far from diminishing the appetite for power, suffering exasperates it.
View quote | Quotes about Martyrdom

The fact that life has no meaning is a reason to live --moreover, the only one.
View quote | Quotes about Meaning of Life

The mind is the result of the torments the flesh undergoes or inflicts upon itself.
View quote | Quotes about Mind

Music is the refuge of souls ulcerated by happiness.
View quote | Quotes about Music

Tyranny destroys or strengthens the individual; freedom enervates him, until he becomes no more than a puppet. Man has more chances of saving himself by hell than by paradise.
View quote | Quotes about Oppression

Only one endowed with restless vitality is susceptible to pessimism. You become a pessimist --a demonic, elemental, bestial pessimist --only when life has been defeated many times in its fight against depression.
View quote | Quotes about Pessimism

Sperm is a bandit in its pure state.
View quote | Quotes about Procreation

Reason is a whore, surviving by simulation, versatility, and shamelessness.
View quote | Quotes about Reason

Negation is the mind's first freedom, yet a negative habit is fruitful only so long as we exert ourselves to overcome it, adapt it to our needs; once acquired it can imprison us.
View quote | Quotes about Rejection

When you have understood that nothing is, that things do not even deserve the status of appearances, you no longer need to be saved, you are saved, and miserable forever.
View quote | Quotes about Salvation

If we could see ourselves as others see us, we would vanish on the spot.
View quote | Quotes about Self-image

Much more than our other needs and endeavors, it is sexuality that puts us on an even footing with our kind: the more we practice it, the more we become like everyone else: it is in the performance of a reputedly bestial function that we prove our status as citizens: nothing is more public than the sexual act.
View quote | Quotes about Sex

We would not be interested in human beings if we did not have the hope of someday meeting someone worse off than ourselves.
View quote | Quotes about Socializing and Socialism

Alone, even doing nothing, you do not waste your time. You do, almost always, in company. No encounter with yourself can be altogether sterile: Something necessarily emerges, even if only the hope of some day meeting yourself again.
View quote | Quotes about Solitude

Speech and silence. We feel safer with a madman who talks than with one who cannot open his mouth.
View quote | Quotes about Speech

It is not worth the bother of killing yourself, since you always kill yourself too late.
View quote | Quotes about Suicide

The obsession with suicide is characteristic of the man who can neither live nor die, and whose attention never swerves from this double impossibility.
View quote | Quotes about Suicide

Torment, for some men, is a need, an appetite, and an accomplishment.
View quote | Quotes about Torture

What would be left of our tragedies if an insect were to present us his?
View quote | Quotes about Tragedies

We derive our vitality from our store of madness.
View quote | Quotes about Vitality

Cioran, E. M.

No biography at present.

44 quotations