cover image History and Utopia

History and Utopia

E. M. Cioran. Seaver Books, $16.95 (118pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-0391-8

Human beings, in Cioran's dark vision, are intolerant creatures driven by an appetite for glory; creativity implies self-expansion, hence aggression toward others. ""Every conviction consists chiefly of hate, and only secondly of love,'' broods the Rumanian-born philosopher whose home is Paris. Moving from the personal to the political, he argues that tyrants, though abominable, constitute ``the warp of history'' and function as engines of change. He maintains that liberalization would destroy the Soviet Union, but he defines the political destiny of the West as the humanizing and broadening of socialist principles, a goal in which we have failed miserably. The heartfelt existentialist anguish of Cioran's previous books, The Trouble With Being Born and The Temptation to Exist, have yielded here to fashionable despair and questionable generalizations. (June)