Towards the end of the twentieth century, a celebrated Romanian-French philosopher
was invited to speak in Zurich.
He was introduced with rhetorical pomp and flattering
comparisons to the likes of Kierkegaard and Schopenhauer.
The speaker smiled, and immediatelyconfounded his German interpreter
他开场便说Mais jene suis qu’un déconneur（我也只是个蠢货）
by beginning his presentation with the words:
‘Mais je ne suis qu’un déconneur’ / ‘But I’m just a joker’.
A few of his critics might agree, but they would be wrong.
For Emil Cioran is very much worthy of inclusion in
the line of the great French and European moral philosophers and writers of maxims
stretching back to Montaigne, Chamfort, Pascal and La Rochefoucauld.
Cioran was born in Rasinari, Romania, in April 1911.
萧沆出生于罗马尼亚的勒希纳里 他的父亲是希腊东正教牧师 这两点都对萧沆
His father was a Greek Orthodox priest.
Both facts were to be key in his later work.
The writer’s Romanian origins are often taken as the source of a
使其性情深沉 浪漫 相信宿命的根源 又因为父亲在教会工作
brooding, Romantic, fatalistic temperament while his father’s ecclesiastical calling
所以宗教 圣徒 无神论的危险与快乐
finds echoes in his son’s unswerving preoccupation with themes of religion, sainthood and the
dangers and joys of atheism.
In 1934, at the age of only 23, he published his first
book in Romanian, On the Heights of Despair.
The book contains in embryo much of the lucidly
阴冷 虚无的思想 这些思想的发展将贯穿他的一生
bleak, nihilistic thinking that he’d develop throughout his life.
He explained that writing had been an alternative to shooting himself.
除了饮弹自尽 唯一的选择便是写作 他的书值得你在绝望 忧郁时
This is an author to read at moments of despair and melancholy.
细细品读 萧沆没有令我们心灰意冷 他只是缓解了我们悲伤时的孤独
He doesn’t depress us, merely makes us feel less alone with our sorrows.
Here is a peak inside his work:
‘It is not worth the bother of killing yourself, since you always kill yourself too late.’
因为你总是错过动手的时机” “当乐观主义者不再乐观时 他们就会自杀
‘Only optimists commit suicide, optimists who no longer succeed at being optimists.
也只有他们才会自杀 至于其他人 即找不到生之原由
The others, having no reason to live, why would they have any to die?’
‘Write books only if you are going to say in them the things you would never dare confide to anyone.’
那就把它写在书里吧” “你从早到晚都干些什么？ 我在忍受我自己”
And: ‘What do you do from morning to night?’ ‘I endure myself.’
对萧沆来说 1937年是个重要的年份 那年他移居法国
1937 proved a pivotal year for Cioran.
He moved to Paris and soon became a French citizen.
很快便成为了法国公民 自此 萧沆再也没有返回自己的出生地 流落他乡又为平添了一些
He never returned to the country of his birth.
忧郁的色彩 但萧沆声称 任何没有感到自己被流放的人
It was a move that provided him with another reason to be melancholic: exile.
但萧沆声称 任何没有感到自己被流放的人 都是缺乏想象力的
And yet he asserted that anyone who doesn’t feel themselves to be an exile has no imagination.
都是缺乏想象力的 他说 “只有乡下的傻瓜才有归属感”
‘Only the village idiot thinks they belong,’ he noted.
Cioran sat out the Second World War in Paris.
In its aftermath, he approached the famous publishing house, Gallimard,
with his first work in French, A Short History of Decay, published in 1949.
Writing in French was he said, ‘like writing a love letter with a dictionary’.
The book became a bestseller, the first in a series of devastatingly wicked
风格极度阴沉 黑暗 为之后的同系列书籍打下了基础
and dark texts composed mainly of aphorisms and tart short essays.
Each of Cioran’s titles comes as a provocation or a punch:
Syllogisms of Bitterness,
The Temptation to Exist and his masterpiece:The Trouble with Being Born.
Each book deals relentlessly with themes of illness, death and suicide.
It was a rather touching irony that the author lived to the ripe old age of 84.
By the time Cioran died in 1995, he had become a cult in France, attracting the
sort of faddish attention he witheringly denounced in his work.
他坚称 每个生命都绝对无可复制 且完全微不足道
Every life, he maintained, is utterly peculiar – and wholly unimportant.
In the age of Walt Disney, this kind of darkness matters.
Cioran’s writing belongs in the line of those great aloof European miserabilists,
莱奥帕尔迪 尼采和贝克特 而萧沆的作品与他们的作品同属一类
including La Rochefoucauld, Chamfort, Leopardi, Nietzsche and Beckett.
Like them, he saw civilization
as an absurd distraction from the ultimate meaninglessness of existence.
‘Only an idiot could think there is a point to any of this,’ he insisted.
But he always kept his wit and good cheer.
One of his greatest sources of sorrow was that he couldn’t sleep very well
经常在凌晨三点醒来 然后他会在巴黎的街道上闲逛 直到清晨
– and was often up at 3am. He’d walk around the streets of Paris until dawn. He noted
sardonically in The Trouble with Being Born, ‘What is that one crucifixion compared to
更痛苦的刑法吗？ 萧沆痴迷于自杀 他在书中这样写道:
the daily kind any insomniac suffers?’ Cioran was obsessed by suicide. But better to live,
最好还是活着 但活得像个行尸走肉就可以了 毕竟
he wrote, and yet think and act as though one were already dead. After all, he said:
why deprive oneself of the consoling idea of no longer being around? ‘Continuing to
Live is possible only because of the deficiencies of our imagination and our memories.’ he
“我的诞生就是个意外 为什么要认真对待生命呢？” 不过自杀
wrote. ‘I’m simply an accident. Why take it all so seriously?’ But suicide was a
constant relief as an idea: ‘We dread the future only when we are not sure we can kill
ourselves when we want to.’ ‘Having always lived in fear of being surprised by the worst,
I have tried in every circumstance to get a head start, flinging myself into misfortune
就早早地让自己与不幸共处 我们的时代出奇地乐观 这种乐观让我们
long before it occurred.’ Our age is notably optimistic and it makes us suffer hugely from
备受煎熬 私下里 我们拥有的悲伤比实际承认的要多得多
being so. We are all, in private, a lot sadder than we are allowed to admit. Writers like
Cioran provide an occasion for the sadness inside all of us to be communally expressed
因此我们减缓了一点悲伤 但也仅仅只有一点 《诞生之不便》是一部佳作
and thereby a little, but only a little, diminished and softened. In his beautiful book, The Trouble
萧沆在这本书中写道 “只有人们心情极度低落 没有欲望
with Being Born, Cioran wrote: ‘I can be friends with people only when they are at
their lowest point and have neither the desire nor the strength to restore their habitual
确切地说 在这种心境中 所有有思想的人
sentimental illusions.’ It’s precisely in that kind of mood,a mood into which all thoughtful
people must probably think on a fairly regular basis that we are blessed to find the dark
and consoling works of Emil Cioran waiting for us.
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哲学 - 萧沆