Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Blessings Of Insomnia

The extract below is from E. M. Cioran's On the heights of despair. Recently, Antonia wrote about insomnia, calling it morning, so I thought this might soothe.

"Just as ecstacy purifies you of the particular and the contingent, leaving nothing except light and darkness, so insomnia kills off the multiplicity and diversity of the world, leaving you prey to your private obsessions. What strangely enchanted tunes gush forth during those sleepless nights! Their flowing tones are bewitching, but there is a note of regret in this melodic surge which keeps it short of ecstacy. What kind of regret? It is hard to say, because insomnia is so complex that one cannot tell what the loss is. Or maybe the loss is infinite. During wakeful nights, the presence of a single thought, or feeling, reigns supreme. It becomes the source of the night's mysterious music. Thus transformed, the thoughts of wakeful nights are mild enough to stir depths of universal anxiety in man's soul. Death itself, although still hideous, acquires in the night a sort of implacable transparency, an illusory and musical character. Nevertheless, the sadness of this universal night is like the sadness of oriental music, in which the mystery of death is more dominant than that of love".

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