By E. M. Cioran

ISBN-10: 1611456886

ISBN-13: 9781611456882

During this number of essays and epigrams, E.M. Cioran provides us photographs and evaluations—which he calls "admirations"—of Samuel Beckett, Jorge Luis Borges, F. Scott Fitzgerald, the poet Paul Valery, and Mircea Eliade, between others. In alternating sections of aphorisms—his "anathemas"—he gives you insights on such issues as solitude, flattery, vainness, friendship, insomnia, song, mortality, God, and the entice of disillusion.

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In Dialogues, Deleuze extols encounters (rencontres), particularly a "pick-up method", in his intellectual work (D: 7-10) because through encounters with friends (he names his friend Jean-Pierre, his wife Fanny, Foucault and Guattari), one reaches "the desert, experimentation on oneself, [which] is our only identity, our single chance for all combinations which inhabit us", an experimentation that is too often stifled by "ordering these tribes [that populate the desert] ... getting rid of some and encouraging others to prosper" (D: 11).

In place of this Platonic dualism, Deleuze offers a quite different dualism that emerges from the thought of the Stoics, who distinguish not between copies and simulacra but between actually existing bodies "with their tensions, physical qualities, actions and passions, and the corresponding 'states of affairs'" (LS: 4) - and incorporeal effects, or events, that are generated by the interactions or mixtures of bodies. For Deleuze, as for the Stoics, only bodies (understood in the broadest possible sense, and including all living and non-living things) have depth and real existence, while events float on the surface of bodies and cannot be said to ex-ist, but rather to sub-sist or per-sist in the relations between bodies (LS: 4-7).

That is, they constitute two essential yet unexamined presuppositions of Western thought. Common sense, expressed in the formulation "Everybody knows", assumes the existence of a universal cogito: a knowing subject whose rational thought displays a natural affinity for truth. According to this understanding, all of the human faculties are brought together under the banner of a transcendental identity patterned on the identity of God and mirroring the identity of the objects of knowledge. 2 Within the domain of common sense, then, knowledge is reduced to recognition; we know that the dog we see is a dog because we recognize it as the same dog we have already perceived, imagined or remembered it to be.

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Anathemas and Admirations by E. M. Cioran


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