“Some Blind Alleys: A Letter”

Should you have the time…and it requires a bit…I would love to hear responses to the following essay by E.M. Cioran from all you interesting minds I observe!  Thanks –

“Some Blind Alleys: A Letter”

-E.M. Cioran-

5 thoughts on ““Some Blind Alleys: A Letter”

  1. Let me start by saying that Cioran is one of my favorite philosophers. I love “The Temptation to Exist” and other works by him.
    I can’t say I entirely disagree with Cioran’s argument here. To a point. Thre is something inherently confessional about writing with others’ eyes in mind. In fact, I would venture to say that successful (however you wish to define that term) writers anticipate their readers’ reactions. I tell my students this very thing.
    But I can also say, only using his work as my justification, that Cioran does not seem to be a very happy man, at least in his narrative voice. What I enjoy about writing is the act of connecting, the discussions it starts, literary or otherwise.
    I, for one, would be lost without the ability to read and the ability to write. As another one of my favorite authors, Pablo Neruda, said, in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, “There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song – but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny.”
    I can’t say it any better than that. I won’t try.

  2. Thanks much for your thoughts. I have most of my adult life found myself very compelled by Cioran, I’ve always relished the idea of living without delusions or false hopes, just straight on into nothing…and yet. I am moved. And I am drawn and compelled into systems and relations. Organism. And then I certainly agree that were one to feel Cioran’s thought, wholly, one would be miserable. And maybe “one” is the key word there? Thank you for following it with Neruda. As damning as we might be towards the duplicity of language…it does seem to me that that duplicity allows it to waver at seams/seems/semes and establish porous boundaries. Thanks for reading and commenting (& reading, & writing)

  3. Lise Goett

    Cioran does run on for a man who thinks that every word is a word de trop. My experience of the essay is prismatic, faceted, ever-changing. Is this a self-parody? Who is not provincial, a province unto and of his own making, the intelligence of his own soil? How am I to taste the soil of other places except through another? Who can taste the earth and know what it lacks? Ah, a Kansan! In my walk, which is just one person’s walk, I have come to believe that absolutely everything, trial or trail, is purposed. The making of poetry, for me, is born of a necessity, a calling. It may be an impure one at that. I may be searching for an impure poetry or wrestling, only to be defeated by greater and greater beings, but each day, I walk a ridge with steep drop-offs to either side and know that I am a person who could easily drop to either side to my death, were it not for the salvation of poetry. It makes for some essential and straight walking, with enticements to stray as tempting as those the Devil proffered to Jesus. My life depends on discernment. I would not bet against the house, were I Judas. Did Hart Crane recant his decision as he went down after he jumped over the side of Orizaba? I think that it must have taken a certain kind of courage to do, not unlike what Cioran describes as virtue in Judas. But I digress. De trop. When I read a great poem such as Osip Mandelstam’s “#394” or Rilke’s “The Man Watching,” I stand before the most palpable experience of grace that I know, and I am profoundly grateful for the transubstantiation and transformation that I experience through this engagement with correspondents from “other provinces.” A committee of Pharisees has held court inside my head for 57 years, telling me that I am sicker than the sick for wanting nothing more than a life of contemplation. I am tired of being inoculated with their frass, and it is only by enduring an experience of groundlessness that I have grown immune to it. That is all I would ever want or hope for anyone, to follow their own convictions and to have an opportunity to bring them and their talents to fruition.

  4. Lise! I much appreciate your taking the time to, correspond from other provinces! Much appreciate. Thank you for stumbling here… I would dearly appreciate more such missals…


  5. Lise Goett

    “…all I have not heard of, thought, experienced, lived-through or felt
    would be represented by the gargantuan dark ….”

    Holy shit! Way to go. I am tempted to plagiarize, but I’ll be a good girl. I’ll quote.

"A word is a bridge thrown between myself and an other - a territory shared by both" - M. Bakhtin

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