The World Killer


This is the mind’s frivolous, funereal debauch. …The vice of defining has made it a gracious assassin, and a discreet victim.

Emile Cioran, A Short History of Decay

To name a thing is to destroy it, annihilate it beyond thought or deed. We name things to control them, have power over them and deliver them to the funeral march of definitions. To wipe the slate clean, to let the black light of nihil roam the universe once again, and allow the beast of reason a reprieve from the offenses of thought is to once again misunderstand the world not as it is but as it is not. We have lived in a tamed world, a world known and given to our desire to control it, make it safe. To break out of our cage of tamed idiocies is to once again realize the world, the universe is not us.

We have enslaved ourselves to the viral infection of ancient thoughts, given ourselves over to the impact of rigid meanings that twist us and shape us to their power; their rhetoric and persuasion. We are the children of an ancient curse: language is the graveyard of broken dreams and promises. But that is all over now. Now we begin to reforge the links, not to some ancient screed of timeless truths, but to the emptiness of things without us.

What would you do in a universe devoid of thoughts and words alike? Would you look upon the face of your lover in derision and silence, or mumble meaningless endearments that gesture and screech the indecipherable torment of your heart. If you woke tomorrow in a world without thought or language to carry it how would you proceed? The simplest efforts to be understood would be so complexified that only the gesticulations of a mime in endless movement could begin to connect the tissues of a defined world. How would you proceed?


1 thought on “The World Killer

  1. Tribulations of an Alien, by Emil Cioran. From A Short History of Decay.

    “Offspring of some wretched tribe, he prowls the boulevards of the West. Cherishing one country after the next, he no longer hopes for any; stuck in a timeless twilight citizen of the world—and of no world —he is ineffectual, nameless, powerless. . . . Peoples without a destiny cannot give one to their sons who, thirsting for other horizons, attach themselves to a fate and ultimately exhaust it to finish their days as ghosts of their admirations and their exhaustions. Having nothing to love at home, they locate their love elsewhere, in other lands, where their fervor astonishes the natives. Overworked, the feelings erode and disintegrate, admiration first of all. . . . And the Alien who dispersed himself on so many highways of the world, exclaims: ‘I have set up countless idols for myself, have raised too many altars everywhere, and I have knelt before a host of gods. Now, weary of worship, I have squandered my share of delirium. One has resources only for the absolutes of one’s breed; a soul — like a country — flourishes only within its frontiers. I am paying for having crossed them, for having made the Indefinite into a fatherland, and foreign divinities into a cult, for having prostrated myself before ages which excluded my ancestors. Where I come from I can no longer say: in the temples I am without belief; in the cities, without ardor; among my kind, without curiosity; on the earth, without certitudes. Give me a specific desire and I could shake the world to its foundations. Release me from this shame of actions which makes me perform, every morning, the farce of resurrection and, every night, that of entombment; in the interval, nothing but this torment in the shroud of ennui. .. . I dream of wanting—and all I want seems to me worthless. Like a vandal corroded by melancholy, I proceed without a goal, self without a self, toward some unknown corner . . . in order to discover an abandoned god, a god who is his own atheist, and to fall asleep in the shadow of his last doubts and his last miracles.'”


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