Nothing Matters

What does it matter if I torture myself, if I suffer, or if I think. My presence in this world will only agitate a few peaceful existences, to my regret, and disturb, to my even greater regret, the sweet unconsciousness of a few more. Although I feel that my own tragedy is the most serious in history – more serious than the fall of empires or some sort of collapse deep inside a mineshaft – implicitly I feel the feeling of my worthlessness and my meaninglessness. I am convinced that I am nothing in this universe, yet I feel that only my existence is real. And moreover, if I had to choose between the existence of the world an my own, I would gladly eliminate the former with all its lights and laws and float alone in nothingness. Although my life is torture, I cannot give it up, because I do not believe in the absolute nature of the values in the name of which I would have to sacrifice myself. To be honest, I ought to say that I do not know why I live, nor why I do not stop living. The key probably lies in the irrationality of life, which causes it to maintain itself with no reason. And if there were only absurd reasons for living? The world does not deserve us to sacrifice ourselves for an idea or a belief. Are we happier today because others have done so for our good? What good? If someone has truly sacrificed himself in the past so that I would be happier in the present, I am, in fact, still unhappier than he, because I do not want to build my existence upon a graveyard. There are moments when I feel that I am responsible for all of the misery of history, when I do not understand why some have spilled their blood for us. The supreme irony would lie in realizing that those people were happier than we are today. A plague on history! Nothing should interest me again; the problem of death itself should seem ridiculous to me, suffering should seem sterile and limited, enthusiasm should seem tainted, life should seem rational, the dialectic of life should seem logical and not demoniacal, despair should seem minor and partiel, eternity should seem like a hollow word, the experience of nothingness should seem like an illusion, and fate should seem like a joke. If one thinks about it seriously, what is the purpose of all that? Why ask oneself questions, why try to illuminate or accept shadows? Would I not be better off to let my tears sink into the sand at the edge of the sea, in absolute solitude? But no, I have never cried, because my tears have transformed themselves into thoughts as bitter as tears instead.

From E. M. Cioran, At The Heights of Despair, translation mine