The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand is the sanest book about the insanity of nothingness. And what humans are capable of accomplishing to fight against it. Isn’t the absence of a thing that gives rise to nothing? And the power the emptiness holds over everything else. Humans think because they have been given a choice not to. They act because there’s the absence of an action lurking in the corner as their shadow; forming their identities. This act, and the emptiness of its realization, is what’s personified in the book. Air has a pattern we don’t quite know how to keep track of. And that it gives definition to everything else. So tell me - which is more powerful? The one wielding the rock or the space that allows one to do so? Are we powerful because we can quantify courage, wisdom, and greatness - magnifying it as we see fit - and praising our own capacity while doing so? The significance is in the space. Handed over to the action. Given the freedom to do so. Freedom, then, is not taken to measure one’s survival. It’s perfectly granted. So if we are capable of transcending power in some such way. Where the air is heavier than the thing that takes its place. What is left to prove?
There is no other writer so gifted to have diagnosed Time as Eternity’s disease and to have endured it as a means to verify Existence as Emil Cioran. Existence, according to Cioran, would be very impractical were we to discard all our illusions. For even a single illusion of time, history, or life is enough to propel the rest of humanity forward. Such a philosophy is rare because it ties up no agonizing ends. It has a language of its own that is perpetually abnormal, profound, and instinctive.
The Trouble With Being Born is a collection of morbidly gratifying aphorisms about death, religion, time, history, and self-ness. The book has a bit of everything. No utterance of thought feels out of place. There is not a single alienated sentence in the book. Not the slightest trace of dissimilarity between the passages. I can read it over and over again - it is reality and unreality itself. What is when nothingness is the norm? And what dies when nothing can?
Cioran’s “inner metamorphosis” through his soliloquies feels absurdly familiar. His nihilism is sincere and it does not nullify humanity, it resuscitates it. He would blatantly argue with somebody who believes that philosophy is optimistic. He questions normalcy as a disease of life; and life as “a disease of matter.” This is a condition we have manufactured ourselves to become everything except what we already are.
There is no “whole truth” but there are varieties of experiences that we shed like dead skin for the sake of being born. And this burden, this responsibility, Cioran believes, is something that all of us will end up regretting sooner or later. Because to commit to any one ideal, in this realm, seems like a delusion. It is as it has always been and “probably always will be until there’s nothing left any more.”