“The Absurd and the Accedia as a major existentials in Cioran’s Udemiologic Analytics” (Vasile Chira)

REVISTA TEOLOGICA no.  97 (2015), nr. 4, p. 162-173

Abstract: The Cioran’s existentials are derivable and intelligible from nothingness with which the Roman philosopher substitute the transcendence. Nonsense of life not purely abstract notion, but a sensitive transcription of absurdity, translates to experience vertigo. This is the refutation par excellence of vertical position of the man, the specific difference to animality. Through the experience vertigo, Cioran links essence absurd lack of end which implied analytically the definition of abyss. Source ontological absurdity is located in corrosive activity of temporality. Cioran makes a difference in degree of boredom banal psychological and metaphysical boredom. The essence of boredom is the void that erases differences and content of things, becoming a foreshadowing of chaos. The most acute boredom remains ascetic boredom, acedia.Boredom monastic is a sterile stagnation of being a eleatics reversed.
Keywords: Existential, absurd, access, nihilism, nothingness, phenomenology, holiness, boredom, ontology, Dasein, ecstasy, absolute, metaphysical, divine, mystical

1. Introduction

The existentials are the correlative and complementary term as regards the categories. These existentials refer mainly to the relationship with nothingness, death and the world. This heideggerian phenomenological indication undergoes a radical reorientation with regard to Hegel and Husserl, a reorientation that has an echo even in the Romanian space, especially when it comes to Nae Ionescu, who – being a thorough connoisseur of the fundamental basis of mathematics – would be the one to establish its limits in the name of the existential experience.

With Cioran, the distance to logic does not originate in the haughty conscience of a historical phase in European thinking, but rather in the awareness of the inability of abstraction to bring to expression the human organic convulsions. Cioran fundamentally defines not only his existential attitude, but also his cosmological one, suggesting also the possibility – absolutely improbable in our age so very much dominated by science – of a metaphor-grounded cosmos. From now on the use of syllogisms becomes completely futile, and theorems become signs of gratuitous excess. On the other hand, the Cioranian system of thought becomes consistent only in the proximity of what Heidegger had called existentials.

In the present study we intend to analyze two of the main existentials in Cioran’s udemiologic analytics : the absurd and the accedia.

2. The Absurd

The topic of the absurd of the existence in Cioran’s work has nothing to do with his substantial nihilism but is rather derived from his intentional nihilism or ,to put it otherwise, it has nothing to do with the absence of the being but rather with the lack of orientation towards the being. We know from Husserl that the orientation of the conscience towards something generates meaningfulness. By contrast, the orientation of the conscience towards the absence of everything, whatever that everything may be, is the equivalent of the annihilation of intentionality itself, a collapse of the meaning. Hence, nihilism is rather a phenomenological doctrine rather than a metaphysical one. On these grounds all the fluctuations and apparent inconsistencies suggested by Cioran’s thinking seem to be justified. Failing to understand this conflicting nature, torn at the same time between Nonexistence and Absolute, any dissertation claiming academic decency and apodicticity becomes irrelevant at a certain level. In fact, death could not reveal itself as the conclusion of a syllogism. If syllogisms do nothing else but generate conclusions based on pure relations from outside suffering then what is there left to prevent suffering itself from giving up on a logic that is not responsible? Does logic assert too much impersonality, too much sovereignty when faced with pain? Therefore, the formula used by Cioran to give a title to one of his volumes “The Syllogisms of bitterness” no longer appears as a common oxymoron but rather as a protest against an order that denies convulsions.

If life is for Cioran an unsolvable equation it is obvious that such a valorization does not originate from a biographical deception or from a psychoanalytical collapse. Should he have gotten recourse to shallow psychological arguments, Cioran would have never got beyond the mere condition of a commentator of deceptions. Cioran is more than that because he tries to find a transcendental explanation of deceptions. He does not resume himself to be a simple registrar of deceptions but he goes further and pretends to accede to the principles that instrument deception. Or, the principle which phenomenologically instruments the intentional nihilism (reduction of meaning), seems to be , an early embryo stage structure, hence virtual, of the Absurd. Thus, life as an element of the Absurd, becomes, in Heidegger’s terms, an existential place of Cioran’s phenomenology. The absurd of life is not cut out through a simple teenage decision nor does it originate from a protesting impulse but from what Heidegger calls “being towards death”. “Being towards death” does not necessarily mean death, pure and simple, but it signifies the fundamentally defining orientation of Dasein towards death.

Waiving the privileges of a conceptual language, the terminology strictness of a “chair philosophy” and, at the same time, refusing an argumentative structure grounded on a historical-philosophic revision, Cioran expresses himself naturally and directly as if under the force of urgency imperatives. The ultimate contradiction would be sooner of a theological nature and not of a logic one. Life has a finality which appears in front of us just as a maximum intentional tension, a real phenomenological collapse. This vision was also present in Schopenhauer’s thinking. Contradictions of will could not have a logic nature for the simple reason that “the “world as willingness” became the source and reservoir of the “world as representation”. Schopenhauer becomes the first philosopher to understand the drama of life in as much as life lacks coherence in its dénouement. Life is absurd because its finality is absurd. Such is the association Cioran attaches to the ultimate meaning of devoutness: “The Absurd and the Last, here are the two elements the proportionality of which gives birth to the equivocal depth of religion. The reason for this is that it is nothing more than a smile in the face of the cosmic nonsense, a final fragrance over an undulation of nothingness. Therefore, when religion runs out of arguments it gets recourse to tears. Tears only are left to sustain the balance of the universe and to uphold God in the being. When tears disappear, He will no longer be regretted.

The simple fact of having seen old age, sickness and death had prompted Budha to become too logic, too doctrinarian and too systematic in his renunciation. In fact, the prince leaves the fatherly palace in the name of an epiphany: the phenomenal absurdity of life. Cioran’s reproach addresses exactly the lack of gratuity in this renunciation and, implicitly the absence of a real motif for establishing his dissidence from life: “Is it possible that to withdraw from the world one has to see old age, sickness and death? Budha’s gesture is too much a tribute to reality… His renunciation lacks the paradox. There is no merit in exiting life when your are right. – But to live with an inner separation from everything – and, yet, having arguments against loneliness! Budha’s path is cut in commensuration with the mortals… The peace of the thoughtful prince would never understand how one can see the way he does and, at the same time, embrace nothingness. Could Budha himself be a teacher? There is too much system in his renunciations, too many consistencies in his sorrows!”… [PDF]