albert camus Quotes

Albert Camus Quotes

Birth Date: 1913-11-07 (Friday, November 7th, 1913)
Date of Death: 1960-01-04 (Monday, January 4th, 1960)

Discover how to find info about file extension apk with articles and other interesting information.

Quotes

    • We have exiled beauty; the Greeks took up arms for her.
    • We turn our backs on nature; we are ashamed of beauty. Our wretched tragedies have a smell of the office clinging to them, and the blood that trickles from them is the color of printer's ink.
    • Man cannot do without beauty, and this is what our era pretends to want to disregard. It steels itself to attain the absolute and authority; it wants to transfigure the world before having exhausted it, to set it to rights before having understood it. Whatever it may say, our era is deserting this world.
    • O light! This is the cry of all the characters of ancient drama brought face to face with their fate. This last resort was ours, too, and I knew it now. In the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer.
    • Hungary conquered and in chains has done more for freedom and justice than any people for twenty years. But for this lesson to get through and convince those in the West who shut their eyes and ears, it was necessary, and it can be no comfort to us, for the people of Hungary to shed so much blood which is already drying in our memories. In Europe's isolation today, we have only one way of being true to Hungary, and that is never to betray, among ourselves and everywhere, what the Hungarian heroes died for, never to condone, among ourselves and everywhere, even indirectly, those who killed them. It would indeed be difficult for us to be worthy of such sacrifices.
    • A character is never the author who created him. It is quite likely, however, that an author may be all his characters simultaneously.
    • With rebellion, awareness is born.
    • A living man can be enslaved and reduced to the historic condition of an object. But if he dies in refusing to be enslaved, he reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to be classified as an object.
    • There is not love of life without despair about life.
    • Accepting the absurdity of everything around us is one step, a necessary experience: it should not become a dead end. It arouses a revolt that can become fruitful.
    • Knowing that certain nights whose sweetness lingers will keep returning to the earth and sea after we are gone, yes, this helps us to die.
    • Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower.
    • Nous nous trompons toujours deux fois sur ceux que nous aimons: d'abord a leur avantage, puis a leur desavantage.
    • Aujourd'hui maman est morte. Ou peut-etre hier, je ne sais pas.
    • I was assailed by memories of a life that wasn't mine anymore, but one in which I'd found the simplest and most lasting joys.
    • Since we're all going to die, it's obvious that when and how don't matter.
    • The papers were always talking about the debt owed to society. According to them, it had to be paid. But that doesn't speak to the imagination. What really counted was the possibility of escape, a leap to freedom, out of the implacable ritual, a wild run for it that would give whatever chance for hope there was. Of course, hope meant being cut down on some street corner, as you ran like mad, by a random bullet. But when I really thought it through, nothing was going to allow me such a luxury. Everything was against it; I would just be caught up in the machinery again.
    • I may not have been sure about what really did interest me, but I was absolutely sure about what didn't.
    • I had only a little time left and I didn't want to waste it on God.
    • I don't know why, but something inside me snapped. I started yelling at the top of my lungs, and I insulted him and told him not to waste his prayers on me. I grabbed him by the collar of his cassock. I was pouring out on him everything that was in my heart, cries of anger and cries of joy. He seemed so certain about everything, didn't he? And yet none of his certainties was worth one hair of a woman's head. He wasn't even sure he was alive, because he was living like a dead man. Whereas it looked as if I was the one who'd come up emptyhanded. But I was sure about me, about everything, surer than he could ever be, sure of my life and sure of the death I had waiting for me. Yes, that was all I had. But at least I had as much of a hold on it as it had on me. I had been right, I was still right, I was always right. I had lived my life one way and I could just as well have lived it another. I had done this and I hadn't done that. I hadn't done this thing but I had done another. And so? It was as if I had waited all this time for this moment and for the first light of this dawn to be vindicated. Nothing, nothing mattered, and I knew why. So did he. Throughout the whole absurd life I'd lived, a dark wind had been rising toward me from somewhere deep in my future, across years that were still to come, and as it passed, this wind leveled whatever was offered to me at the time, in years no more real than the ones I was living. What did other people's deaths or a mother's love matter to me; what did his God or the lives people choose or the fate they think they elect matter to me when we're all elected by the same fate, me and billions of privileged people like him who also called themselves my brothers? Couldn't he see, couldn't he see that? Everybody was privileged. There were only privileged people. The others would all be condemned one day. And he would be condemned, too.
    • For the first time in a long time I thought about Maman. I felt as if I understood why at the end of her life she had taken a 'fiance,' why she had played at beginning again. Even there, in that home where lives were fading out, evening was a kind of wistful respite. So close to death, Maman must have felt free then and ready to live it all again. Nobody, nobody had the right to cry over her. And I felt ready to live it all again too. As if the blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much like myself - so like a brother, really - I felt I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.
    • Nothing is harder to understand than a symbolic work. A symbol always transcends the one who makes use of it and makes him say in reality more than he is aware of expressing.
    • What must be remembered in any case is that secret complicity that joins the logical and the everyday to the tragic.
    • What, then, is that incalculable feeling that deprives the mind of the sleep necessary to life? A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.
    • Like great works, deep feelings always mean more than they are conscious of saying.
    • Great novelists are philosopher-novelists whom write in images instead of arguments.
    • Great feelings take with them their own universe, splendid or abject. They light up with their passion an exclusive world in which they recognize their climate. There is a universe of jealousy, of ambition, of selfishness or generosity. A universe - in other words a metaphysic and an attitude of mind.
    • At any street corner the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face.
    • It happens that the stage sets collapse. Rising, streetcar, four hours in the office or the factory, meal, streetcar, four hours of work, meal, sleep and Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday and Saturday according to the same rhythm - this path is easily followed most of the time. But one day the 'why' arises and everything begins in that weariness tinged with amazement.
    • If I try to seize this self of which I feel sure, if I try to define and to summarize it, it is nothing but water slipping through my fingers. I can sketch one by one all the aspects it is able to assume, all those likewise that have been attributed to it, this upbringing, this origin, this ardor or these silences, this nobility or this vileness. But aspects cannot be added up.
    • I do not want to found anything on the incomprehensible. I want to know whether I can live with what I know and with that alone.
    • Everything considered, a determined soul will always manage.
    • I don't know whether this world has a meaning that transcends it. But I know that I cannot know that meaning and that it is impossible for me just now to know it. What can a meaning outside my condition mean to me? I can understand only in human terms. What I touch, what resists me - that I understand. And these two certainties - my appetite for the absolute and for unity and the impossibility of reducing this world to a rational and reasonable principle - I also know that I cannot reconcile them. What other truth can I admit without lying, without bringing in a hope I lack and which means nothing within the limits of my conditions?
    • Knowing whether or not one can live without appeal is all that interests me.
    • Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
    • The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
    • There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest - whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories - comes afterward. These are games; one must first answer.
    • To two men living the same number of years, the world always provides the same sum of experiences. It is up to us to be conscious of them.
    • The preceding merely defines a way of thinking. But the point is to live.
    • At this point of his effort man stands face to face with the irrational. He feels within him his longing for happiness and for reason. The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world. This must not be forgotten. This must be clung to because the whole consequence of a life can depend on it. The irrational, the human nostalgia, and the absurd that is born of their encounter - these are the three characters in the drama that must necessarily end with all the logic of which an existence is capable.
    • 'My field,' said Goethe, 'is time.' That is indeed the absurd speech. What, in fact, is the Absurd Man? He who, without negating it, does nothing for the eternal. Not that nostalgia is foreign to him. But he prefers his courage and his reasoning. The first teaches him to live without appeal and to get along with what he has; the second informs him of his limits. Assured of his temporally limited freedom, of his revolt devoid of future, and of his mortal consciousness, he lives out his adventure within the span of his lifetime.
    • There can be no question of holding forth on ethics. I have seen people behave badly with great morality and I note every day that integrity has no need of rules. There is but one moral code that the absurd man can accept, the one that is not separated from God: the one that is dictated. But it so happens that he lives outside that God. As for the others (I mean also immoralism), the absurd man sees nothing in them but justifications and he has nothing to justify. I start out here from the principle of his innocence. That innocence is to be feared. 'Everything is permitted,' exclaims Ivan Karamazov. That, too, smacks of the absurd. But on condition that it not be taken in a vulgar sense. I don't know whether or not it has been sufficiently pointed out that it is not an outburst of relief or of joy, but rather a bitter acknowledgment of a fact.
    • The absurd does not liberate; it binds. It does not authorize all actions. 'Everything is permitted' does not mean that nothing is forbidden.
    • All systems of morality are based on the idea that an action has consequences that legitimize or cancel it. A mind imbued with the absurd merely judges that those consequences must be considered calmly. It is ready to pay up. In other words, there may be responsible persons, but there are no guilty ones, in its opinion. At very most, such a mind will consent to use past experience as a basis for its future actions.
    • Time will prolong time, and life will serve life. In this field that is both limited and bulging with possibilities, everything to himself, except his lucidity, seems unforeseeable to him. What rule, then, could emanate from that unreasonable order? The only truth that might seem instructive to him is not formal: it comes to life and unfolds in men. The absurd mind cannot so much expect ethical rules at the end of its reasoning as, rather, illustrations and the breath of human lives.
    • A sub-clerk in the post office is the equal of a conqueror if consciousness is common to them. All experiences are indifferent in this regard. There are some that do either a service or a disservice to man. They do him a service if he is conscious. Otherwise, that has no importance: a man's failures imply judgment, not of circumstances, but of himself.
    • If the world were clear, art would not exist.
    • One recognizes one's course by discovering the paths that stray from it.
    • To work and create 'for nothing,' to sculpture in clay, to know one's creation has no future, to see one's work destroyed in a day while being aware that fundamentally this has no more importance than building for centuries - this is the difficult wisdom that absurd thought sanctions. Performing these two tasks simultaneously, negating on the one hand and magnifying on the other, it the way open to the absurd creator. He must give the void its colors.
    • A profound thought is in a constant state of becoming; it adopts the experience of a life and assumes its shape. Likewise, a man's sole creation is strengthened in its successive and multiple aspects: his works. One after another they complement one another, correct or overtake one another, contradict one another, too. If something brings creation to an end, it is not the victorious and illusory cry of the blinded artist: 'I have said everything,' but the death of the creator which closes his experiences and the book of his genius. That effort, that superhuman consciousness are not necessarily apparent to the reader. There is no mystery in human creation. Will performs this miracle. But at least there is no true creation without a secret. To be true, a succession of works can be but a series of approximations of the same thought. But it is possible to conceive of another type of creator proceeding by juxtaposition. Their words may seem to be devoid of inter-relations, to a certain degree, they are contradictory. But viewed all together, they resume their natural groupings.
    • Of all the schools of patience and lucidity, creation is the most effective. It is also the staggering evidence of man's sole dignity: the dogged revolt against his condition, perseverance in an effort considered sterile. It calls for a daily effort, self-mastery, a precise estimate of the limits of truth, measure, and strength. It constitutes an ascesis. All that 'for nothing,' in order to repeat and mark time. But perhaps the great work of art has less importance in itself than in the ordeal it demands of a man and the opportunity it provides him of overcoming his phantoms and approaching a little closer to his naked reality.
    • Ironic philosophies produce passionate works. Any thought that abandons unity glorifies diversity! And diversity is the home of art. The only thought to liberate the mind is that which leaves it alone, certain of its limits and of its impending end. No doctrine tempts it. It awaits the ripening of the work and of life.
    • In that daily effort in which intelligence mingle and delight each other, the absurd man discovers a discipline that will make up the greatest of his strengths. The required diligence and doggedness and lucidity thus resemble the conqueror's attitude. To create is likewise to give a shape to one's fate. For all these characters, their work defines them at least as much as it is defined by them. The actor taught us this: There is no frontier between being and appearing.
    • Outside of that single fatality of death, everything, joy or happiness, is liberty.
    • The world evades us because it becomes itself again. That stage scenery masked by habit becomes what it is. It withdraws at a distance from us.
    • If the only significant history of human thought were to be written, it would have to be the history of its successive regrets and its impotences.
    • A fate is not a punishment.
    • The actor's realm is that of the fleeting.
    • This was her finest role and the hardest one to play. Choosing between heaven and a ridiculous fidelity, preferring oneself to eternity or losing oneself in God is the age-old tragedy in which each must play his part.
    • The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.
    • Opinions differ as to the reasons why he became the futile laborer of the underworld. To begin with, he is accused of a certain levity in regard to the gods. He stole their secrets.
    • Homer tells us also that Sisyphus had put Death in chains. Pluto could not endure the sight of his deserted, silent empire. He dispatched the god of war, who liberated Death from the hands of her conqueror.
    • You have already grasped that Sisyphus is the absurd hero. He is, as much through his passions as through his torture. His scorn of the gods, his hatred of death, and his passion for life won him that unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing. This is the price that must be paid for the passions of this earth. Nothing is told us about Sisyphus in the underworld. Myths are made for the imagination to breathe life into them.
    • There is no fate that can not be surmounted by scorn. If the descent is thus sometimes performed in sorrow, it can also take place in joy. This word is not too much. Again I fancy Sisyphus returning toward his rock, and the sorrow was in the beginning.
    • One does not discover the absurd without being tempted to write a manual of happiness. 'What! - by such narrow ways - ?' There is but one world, however. Happiness and the absurd are two sons of the same earth. They are inseparable. It would be a mistake to say that happiness necessarily springs from the absurd. Discovery. It happens as well that the felling of the absurd springs from happiness.
    • 'I conclude that all is well,' says Oedipus, and that remark is sacred. It echoes in the wild and limited universe of man. It teaches that all is not, has not been, exhausted. It drives out of this world a god who had come into it with dissatisfaction and a preference for futile suffering. It makes of fate a human matter, which must be settled among men.
    • I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
    • So many men are deprived of grace. How can one live without grace? One has to try it and do what Christianity never did: be concerned with the damned.
    • There is always a philosophy for lack of courage.
    • The greatest saving one can make in the order of thought is to accept the unintelligibility of the world -- and to pay attention to man.
    • Poor and free rather than rich and enslaved. Of course, men want to be both rich and free, and this is what leads them at times to be poor and enslaved.
    • Query: How to contrive not to waste one's time? Answer: By being fully aware of it all the while. Ways in which this can be done: By spending one's days on an uneasy chair in a dentist's waiting room; by remaining on one's balcony all a Sunday afternoon; by travelling by the longest and least-convenient train routes, and of course standing all the way; by queueing at the box-office of theatres and then not booking a seat.
    • When a war breaks out, people say: 'It's too stupid; it can't last long.' But though the war may well be 'too stupid,' that doesn't prevent its lasting. Stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves.
    • He tried to recall what he had read about the disease. Figures floated across his memory, and he recalled that some thirty or so great plagues known to history had accounted for nearly a hundred million deaths. But what are a hundred million deaths? When one has served in a war, one hardly knows what a dead man is, after a while. And since a dead man has no substance unless one actually sees him dead, a hundred million corpses broadcast through history are no more than a puff of smoke in the imagination.
    • There lay certitude; there, in the daily round. All the rest hung on mere threads and trivial contingencies; you couldn't waste your time on it. The thing was to do your job as it should be done.
    • 'What on earth prompted you to take a hand in this?' 'I don't know. My: my code of morals, perhaps.' 'Your code of morals. What code, if I may ask?' 'Comprehension.'
    • The important thing isn't the soundness or otherwise of the argument, but for it to make you think.
    • The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole men are more good than bad; that, however, isn't the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance which fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill. There can be no true goodness, nor true love, without the utmost clear-sightedness.
    • There always comes a time in history when the person who dares to say that 2+2=4 is punished by death. And the issue is not what reward or what punishment will be the outcome of that reasoning. The issue is simply whether or not 2+2=4.
    • Absolute freedom mocks at justice. Absolute justice denies freedom. To be fruitful, the two ideas must find their limits in each other.
    • The slave begins by demanding justice and ends by wanting to wear a crown. He must dominate in his turn.
    • One might think that a period which, in a space of fifty years, uproots, enslaves, or kills seventy million human beings should be condemned out of hand. But its culpability must still be understood... In more ingenuous times, when the tyrant razed cities for his own greater glory, when the slave chained to the conqueror's chariot was dragged through the rejoicing streets, when enemies were thrown to the wild beasts in front of the assembled people, the mind did not reel before such unabashed crimes, and the judgment remained unclouded. But slave camps under the flag of freedom, massacres justified by philanthropy or by a taste for the superhuman, in one sense cripple judgment. On the day when crime dons the apparel of innocence - through a curious transposition peculiar to our times - it is innocence that is called upon to justify itself.
    • If Nietzsche and Hegel serve as alibis to the masters of Dachau and Karaganda, that does not condemn their entire philosophy. But it does lead to the suspicion that one aspect of their thought, or of their logic, can lead to these appalling conclusions.
    • Every ideology is contrary to human psychology.
    • Every rebellion implies some kind of unity.
    • Every revolutionary ends as an oppressor or a heretic.
    • Nothing can discourage the appetite for divinity in the heart of man.
    • For those of us who have been thrown into hell, mysterious melodies and the torturing images of a vanished beauty will always bring us, in the midst of crime and folly, the echo of that harmonious insurrection which bears witness, throughout the centuries, to the greatness of humanity.
    • To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.
    • In order to cease being a doubtful case, one has to cease being, that's all.
    • Let's not beat around the bush; I love life - that's my real weakness. I love it so much that I am incapable of imagining what is not life.
    • N'attendez pas le Jugement dernier. Il a lieu tous les jours.
    • I do not have much liking for the too famous existential philosophy, and, to tell the truth, I think its conclusions false.
    • When the imagination sleeps, words are emptied of their meaning: a deaf population absent-mindedly registers the condemnation of a man. ... there is no other solution but to speak out and show the obscenity hidden under the verbal cloak.
    • A punishment that penalizes without forestalling is indeed called revenge.
    • The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience. It would be easy, however, to destroy that good conscience by shouting to them: if you want the happiness of the people, let them speak out and tell what kind of happiness they want and what kind they don't want! But, in truth, the very ones who make use of such alibis know they are lies; they leave to their intellectuals on duty the chore of believing in them and of proving that religion, patriotism, and justice need for their survival the sacrifice of freedom.
    • Manhattan. Sometimes from beyond the skyscrapers, across of thousands of high walls, the cry of a tugboat finds you in your insomnia in the middle of the night, and you remember that this desert of iron and cement is an island.
    • C'est bien la le genie: l'intelligence qui connait ses frontieres.
    • L'homme enfin n'est pas entierement coupable - il n'a pas commence l'histoire - ni tout a fait innocent, puisqu'il la continue.
    • A healthy attitude also includes faults.
    • A little thought estranges from life, whereas much thought reconciles to life. Unable to refine the real, thought pauses to mimic it.
    • A man wants to earn money in order to be happy, and his whole effort and best of a life are devoted to earning that money. Happiness is forgotten; the means are taken for the end.
    • Accepting the absurdity of everything around us is one step, a necessary experience: It should not become a dead end. It arouses a revolt that can be fruitful. An analysis of the idea of revolt could help us discover ideas capable of restoring a relative meaning to existence, although a meaning that would always be in danger.
    • After all, ironic philosophies produce passionate works.
    • All executioners are of the same family.
    • All I know most surely about morality and obligations, I owe to football.
    • All modern revolutions have ended in a reinforcement of the power of the State.
    • All of us, among the ruins, are preparing a renaissance beyond the limits of nihilism. But few of us know it.
    • Analysis of rebellion leads at least to the suspicion that, contrary to the postulates of contemporary thought, a human nature does exist, as the Greeks believed. Why rebel if there is nothing permanent in oneself worth preserving? ... Rebellion, though apparently negative, since it creates nothing, is profoundly positive in that it reveals the part of man which must always be defended.
    • Barbarism is never temporary. Sufficient allowance is never made for it, and, quite naturally, from art barbarism extends to morals.
    • Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.
    • Being able to remain on that dizzying crest - that is integrity and the rest is subterfuge.
    • Being aware of one's life, one's revolt, one's freedom, and to the maximum, is living, and to the maximum.
    • But I have been sought out, as each individual has been sought out. Artists of the past could at least keep silent in the face of tyranny. The tyrannies of today are improved; they no longer admit of silence or neutrality. One has to take a stand, be either for or against. Well, in that case, I am against.
    • But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?
    • By what right, moreover, could a Christian or a Marxist accuse me, for example, of pessimism? I was not the one to invent the misery of the human being or the terrifying formulas of divine malediction.
    • Charm is a way of getting the answer 'Yes' without asking a clear question.
    • Conformity is one of the nihilistic temptations of rebellion which dominate a large part of our intellectual history. It demonstrates how the rebel who takes to action is tempted to succumb, if he forgets his origins, to the most absolute conformity. And so it explains the twentieth century.
    • Creating is living doubly.
    • Differences are the roots without which the tree of liberty, the sap of creation and of civilization, dries up.
    • Does the end justify the means? That is possible. But what will justify the end? To that question, which historical thought leaves pending, rebellion replies: the means.
    • Even men without a gospel have their Mount of Olives. And one must not fall asleep on theirs either.
    • Even revolution, particularly revolution, which claims to be materialist, is only a limitless metaphysical crusade.
    • Even those who are fed up with morality ought to realize that it is better to suffer certain injustices than to commit them even in wars, and that such deeds do us more harm than a hundred underground forces on the enemy's side.
    • Every achievement is a servitude. It drives us to a higher achievement.
    • Every act of creation, by its mere existence, denies the world of master and slave. The appalling society of tyrants and slaves in which we survive will find its death and transfiguration only on the level of creation.
    • Every ethic based on solitude implies the exercise of power.
    • For capital punishment to be really intimidating, human nature would have to be different; it would have to be as stable and serene as the law itself. But then human nature would be dead.
    • For men of today there is an inner way, which I know well from having taken it in both directions, leading from the spiritual hilltops to the capitals of crime. And doubtless one can always rest, fall asleep on the hilltop or board with crime. But if one forgoes a part of what is, one must forgo being oneself; one must forgo living or loving otherwise than by proxy. There is thus a will to live without rejecting anything of life, which is the virtue I honor most in this world.
    • For some time the entire effort of our philosophers has aimed solely at replacing the notion of human nature with that of situation, and replacing ancient harmony with the disorderly advance of chance or reason's pitiless progress. Whereas the Greeks gave to will the boundaries of reason, we have come to put the will's impulse in the very center of reason, which has, as a result, become deadly.
    • For twenty centuries the sum total of evil has not diminished in the world.
    • From my first articles to my latest book I have written so much, and perhaps too much, only because I cannot keep from being drawn toward everyday life, toward those, whoever they may be, who are humiliated and debased. They need to hope, and if all keep silent or if they are given a choice between two kinds of humiliation, they will be forever deprived of hope and we with them.
    • From the evening breeze to this hand on my shoulder, everything has its truth. Consciousness illuminates it by paying attention to it.
    • From the humanitarian idylls of the eighteenth century to the bloodstained gallows the way leads directly; and the executioners of today, as everyone knows, are humanists.
    • From the moment that eternal principles are put in doubt simultaneously with formal virtue, and when every value is discredited, reason will start to act without reference to anything but its own successes... All that was God's will henceforth be rendered to Caesar.
    • Half a man's life is spent in implying, in turning away, and in keeping silent.
    • He who despairs over an event is a coward, but he who holds hope for the human condition is a fool.
    • He who rejects the entire past, without keeping any part of it which could serve to breathe life into the revolution, condemns himself to finding justification only in the future and, in the meantime, to entrusting the police with the task of justifying the provisional state of affairs... The future is the only transcendental value for men without God.
    • Heraclitus, the discoverer of the constant change of things, nevertheless set a limit to this perpetual process. This limit was symbolized by Nemesis, the goddess of moderation and the implacable enemy of the immoderate.
    • Historical reasoning is not a type of reasoning that, within the framework of its own functions, can pass judgment on the world. While pretending to judge it, it really tries to determine its course. Essentially a part of events, it directs them and is simultaneously pedagogic and all-conquering.
    • Historical thought was to deliver man from subjection to a divinity; but this liberation demanded of him the most absolute subjection to historical evolution. The man takes refuge in the permanence of the party in the same way that he formerly prostrated himself before the altar. That is why the era which dares to claim that it is the most rebellious that has ever existed only offers a choice of various types of conformity. The real passion of the twentieth century is servitude.
    • History without a value to transfigure it, is controlled by the law of expediency.
    • History, undoubtedly, is one of the limits of man's experience; in this sense the revolutionaries are right. But man, by rebelling, imposes in his turn a limit to history, and at this limit the promise of a value is born... The triumphant revolution must prove by means of its police, its trials, and its excommunications that there is no such thing as human nature. Humiliated rebellion, by its contradictions, its sufferings, its continuous defeats, and its inexhaustible pride, must give its content of hope and suffering to this nature.
    • I do not have much liking for the too famous existential philosophy, and, to tell the truth, I think its conclusions false. But at least it represents a great adventure of the mind... No, everything is not summed up in negation and absurdity. We know this. But we must first posit negation and absurdity because they are what our generation has encountered and what we must take into account.
    • I have seen people behave badly with great morality and I note every day that integrity has no need of rules.
    • I have shared and I still share many of the contemporary frenzies. But I have never been able to get myself to spit, as so many others do, on the word 'honor.'
    • I loathe none but executioners.
    • I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice. I don't want just any greatness for it, particularly a greatness born of blood and falsehood. I want to keep it alive by keeping justice alive.
    • If one believes Homer, Sisyphus was the wisest and most prudent of mortals. According to another tradition, however, he was disposed to practice the profession of highwayman. I see no contradiction in this.
    • If our age admits, with equanimity, that murder has its justifications, it is because of this indifference to life which is the mark of nihilism.
    • If you keep on excusing, you eventually give your blessing to the slave camp, to cowardly force, to organized executioners, to the cynicism of great political monsters; you finally hand over your brothers.
    • If, after all, men cannot always make history have a meaning, they can always act so that their own lives have one.
    • If something worth living for is worth dying for, what about something not worth dying for?
    • In certain men, the fire of eternity consuming them is great enough for them to burn in it the very heart of those closest to them.
    • In my case, I have always drawn my hope from the idea of fecundity.
    • In our daily trials rebellion plays the same role as does the 'cogito' in the realm of thought: it is the first piece of evidence. But this evidence lures the individual from his solitude. It founds its first value on the whole human race. I rebel - therefore we exist.
    • In the difficult hour we are living, what else can I desire than to exclude nothing and to learn how to braid with white thread and black thread a single cord stretched to the breaking-point? In everything I have done or said up to now, I seem to recognize these two forces, even when they are at cross-purposes.
    • In the light, the earth remains our first and our last love. Our brothers are breathing under the same sky as we; justice is a living thing. Now is born that strange joy which helps one live and die, and which we shall never again postpone to a later time. On the sorrowing earth it is the unresting thorn, the bitter brew, the harsh wind off the sea, the old and the new dawn.
    • In the twentieth century power wears the mask of tragedy.
    • In the universe suddenly restored to its silence, the myriad wondering little voices of the earth rise up. Unconscious, secret calls, invitations from all the faces, they are the necessary reverse and the price of victory. There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night.
    • Indeed, it is not so much identical conclusions that prove minds to be related as the contradictions that are common to them.
    • Is it possible eternally to reject injustice without ceasing to acclaim the nature of man and the beauty of the world? Our answer is yes. This ethic, at once unsubmissive and loyal, is in any event the only one that lights the way to a truly realistic revolution.
    • It is not much to be able to do violence when you have been simply preparing for it for years and when violence is more natural to you than thinking. It is a great deal, on the other hand, to face torture and death when you know for a fact that hatred and violence are empty things in themselves. It is a great deal to fight while despising war, to accept losing everything while still preferring happiness, to face destruction while cherishing the idea of a higher civilization.
    • Liberty ultimately seems to me, for societies and for individuals, for labor and for culture, the supreme good that governs all others.
    • Life can be magnificent and overwhelming - That is its whole tragedy. Without beauty, love, or danger it would almost be easy to live.
    • Life is this dichotomy itself, the mind soaring over volcanoes of light, the madness of justice, the extenuating intransigence of moderation.
    • Live to the point of tears.
    • Lucifer also has died with God, and from his ashes has arisen a spiteful demon who does not even understand the object of his venture.
    • Man is that force which ultimately cancels all tyrants and gods.
    • Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.
    • Messianism, in order to exist, must construct a defense against the victims.
    • National society can be preserved only by opening it up to a universal perspective.
    • Nature is still there, however. She contrasts her calm skies and her reasons with the madness of men. Until the atom too catches fire and history ends in the triumph of reason and the agony of the species. But the Greeks never said that the limit could not be overstepped. They said it existed and that whoever dared to exceed it was mercilessly struck down. Nothing in present history can contradict them.
    • No great work has ever been based on hatred or contempt... Every great work makes the human face more admirable and richer, and this is its whole secret.
    • No human being, even the most passionately loved and passionately loving, is ever in our possession.
    • None among us is authorized to despair of a single man, except after his death, which transforms his life into destiny and then permits a definitive judgment. But pronouncing the definitive judgment before his death, decreeing the closing of accounts when the creditor is still alive, is no man's right. On this limit, at least, whoever judges absolutely condemns himself absolutely.
    • Nothing is given to men, and the little they can conquer is paid for with unjust deaths. But man's greatness lies elsewhere. It lies in his decision to be stronger than his condition. And if his condition is unjust, he has only one way of overcoming it, which is to be just himself.
    • Of all kinds of fate the least deceptive is the one that is lived.
    • Of whom and of what indeed can I say: 'I know that!' This heart within me I can feel, and I judge that it exists. This world I can touch, and I likewise judge that it exists. There ends all my knowledge, and the rest is construction.
    • One can reject all history and yet accept the world of the sea and the stars.
    • One of the temptations of an artist is to believe himself solitary ...But this is not true. He stands in the midst of all, in the same rank
    • One recognizes one's course by discovering the paths that stray from it.
    • 'Only the modern city,' Hegel dares to write, 'offers the mind a field in which it can become aware of itself.' We are thus living in the period of big cities. Deliberately, the world has been amputated of all that constitutes its permanence: nature, the sea, hilltops, evening meditation. Consciousness is to be found only in the streets, because history is to be found only in the streets - this is the edict.
    • Our criminals are no longer helpless children who could plead love as their excuse. On the contrary, they are adults and they have a perfect alibi: philosophy, which can be used for any purpose - even for transforming murderers into judges.
    • Our most effective terrorists, whether they are armed with bombs or with poetry, hardly escape from infancy.
    • Philosophy secularizes the ideal. But tyrants appear who soon secularize the philosophies that give them the right to do so.
    • Politics and the fate of mankind are formed by men without ideals and without greatness. Those who have greatness within them do not go in for politics.
    • Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.
    • Rebellion's demand is unity; historical revolution's demand is totality.
    • Suffering is never provisional for the man who does not believe in the future.
    • Temporal idols demanding an absolute faith tirelessly decree absolute punishments.
    • The age of enlightenment, as people say, wanted to suppress the death penalty on the pretext that man was naturally good. Of course he is not (he is worse or better). After twenty years of our magnificent history we are well aware of this. But precisely because he is not absolutely good, no one among us can pose as an absolute judge and pronounce the definitive elimination of the worst among the guilty, because no one of us can lay claim to absolute innocence.
    • The aim of art, the aim of a life can only be to increase the sum of freedom and responsibility to be found in every man and in the world.
    • The Church has been so harsh with heretics only because she deemed that there is no worse enemy than a child who has gone astray. But the record of Gnostic effronteries and the persistence of Manichean currents have contributed more to the construction of orthodox dogma than all the prayers.
    • The contrary of a civilized nation is a creative nation.
    • The current motto for all of us can only be this: without giving up anything on the plane of justice, yield nothing on the plane of freedom.
    • The divine availability of the condemned man before whom the prison doors open in a certain early dawn, that unbelievable disinterestedness with regard to everything except for the pure flame of life - it is clear that death and the absurd are here the principles of the only reasonable freedom: that which a human heart can experience and live.
    • The doctrines of evolution and the notions of selection that accompany them have made of the future of society a final end. The political utopias that were grafted onto those doctrines placed at the end of time a golden age that justified in advance any enterprises whatever.
    • The Empire supposes a negation and a certainty: the certainty of the infinite malleability of man and the negation of human nature.
    • The fecundity and the importance of a literary form are often measured by the trash it contains.
    • The great novelists are philosopher-novelists whom write in images instead of arguments.
    • The important thing, as Abbe Galiani said to Mme d'Epinay, is not to be cured, but to live with one's ailments.
    • The irrational imposes limits on the rational, which, in its turn, gives it its moderation.
    • The majority of revolutions are shaped by, and derive their originality from, murder.
    • The man whose blood, and extravagances, and frail heart lead him to the commonest weaknesses must rely on something in order to get to the point of respecting himself and hence of respecting others. This is why I loathe a certain self-satisfied virtue, I loathe society's dreadful morality because it results, exactly like absolute cynicism, in making men despair and in keeping them from taking responsibility for their own life with all its weight of errors and greatness.
    • The miner who is exploited or shot down, the slaves in the camps, those in the colonies, the legions of persecuted throughout the world - they need all those who can speak to communicate their silence and to keep in touch with them.
    • The most painful thing to bear is seeing a mockery made of what one loves.
    • The myth of unlimited production brings war in its train as inevitably as clouds announce a storm.
    • The night on Golgotha is so important in the history of man only because, in its shadow, the divinity abandoned its traditional privileges and drank to the last drop, despair included, the agony of death. This is the explanation of the Lama sabactani and the heartrending doubt of Christ in agony. The agony would have been mild if it had been alleviated by hopes of eternity. For God to be a man, he must despair.
    • The nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in their most profound manifestations, are centuries that have tried to live without transcendence.
    • The philosopher, even if he is Kant, is a creator.
    • The punishment that aims to intimidate an unknown murderer certainly confers a vocation of killer on many another monster about whom there is no doubt.
    • The real universe which, by its radiance, calls forth bodies and statues receives from them at the same time a second light that determines the light from the sky.
    • The rule of our action, the secret of our resistance can be easily stated: everything that humiliates labor also humiliates the intelligence, and vice versa. And the revolutionary struggle, the centuries-old straining toward liberation can be defined first of all as a double and constant rejection of humiliation.
    • The triumph of the man who kills or tortures is marred by only one shadow: he is unable to feel that he is innocent. Thus, he must create guilt in his victim so that, in a world that has no direction, universal guilt will authorize no other course of action than the use of force and give its blessing to nothing but success. When the concept of innocence disappears from the mind of the innocent victim himself, the value of power establishes a definitive rule over a world in despair.
    • The unbeliever cannot keep from thinking that men who have set at the center of their faith the staggering victim of a judicial error ought at least to hesitate before committing legal murder.
    • There always comes a time when one must choose between contemplation and action. This is called becoming a man.
    • There are means that cannot be excused.
    • There are no frontiers between the disciplines that man sets himself for understanding and loving. They interlock, and the same anxiety merges them.
    • There are no just people - merely hearts more or less lacking in justice. Living at least allows us to discover this and to add to the sum of our actions a little of the good that will make up in part for the evil we have added to the world. Such a right to live, which allows a chance to make amends, is the natural right of every man, even the worst man... Without that right, moral life is utterly impossible.
    • There is merely bad luck in not being loved; there is misfortune in not loving. All of us, today, are dying of this misfortune. For violence and hatred dry up the heart itself; the long fight for justice exhausts the love that nevertheless gave birth to it.
    • There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.
    • There is not one human being who, above a certain elementary level of consciousness, does not exhaust himself in trying to find formulas or attitudes that will give his existence the unity it lacks. Appearance and action, the dandy and the revolutionary, all demand unity in order to exist, and in order to exist on this earth.
    • There is scarcely any passion without struggle.
    • There is so much stubborn hope in the human heart. The most destitute men often end up by accepting illusion. That approval prompted by the need for peace inwardly parallels the existential consent. There are thus gods of light and idols of mud. But it is essential to find the middle path leading to the faces of man.
    • These paltry and essential belongings, these relative truths are the only ones to stir me. As for the others, the 'ideal' truths, I have not enough soul to understand them. Not that one must be an animal, but I find no meaning in the happiness of angels.
    • Those who reject the agony of living and dying wish to dominate.
    • To a man devoid of blinders, there is no finer sight than that of the intelligence at grips with a reality that transcends it.
    • To come alive again, one needs a special grace, self-forgetfulness, or a homeland. Certain mornings, on turning a corner, a delightful dew falls on the heart and then evaporates. But its coolness remains, and this is what the heart requires always. I had to set out again.
    • To create is likewise to give a shape to one's fate.
    • To create today is to create dangerously. . . Danger makes men classical, and all greatness, after all, is rooted in risk.
    • To ensure the adoration of a theorem for any length of time, faith is not enough; a police force is needed as well.
    • To force solitude on a man who has just come to understand that he is not alone, is that not the definitive crime against man?
    • To impoverish that reality whose inhumanity constitutes man's majesty is tantamount to impoverishing him himself. I understand then why the doctrines that explain everything to me also debilitate me at the same time. They relieve me of the weight of my own life, and yet I must carry it alone.
    • To tell the truth, far from being romantic, I believe in the necessity of a rule and an order. I merely say that there can be no question of just any rule whatsoever.
    • To work and create 'for nothing,' to sculpture in clay, to know that one's creation has no future, to see one's work destroyed in a day while being aware that fundamentally this has no more importance than building for centuries - this is the difficult wisdom that absurd thought sanctions. Performing these two tasks simultaneously, negating on the one hand and magnifying on the other, is the way open to the absurd creator. He must give the void its colors.
    • Totalitarian tyranny is not based on the virtues of the totalitarians. It is based on the mistakes of the liberals.
    • Totality is, in effect, nothing other than the ancient dream of unity common to both believers and rebels, but projected horizontally onto an earth deprived of God.
    • Unity and diversity, and never one without the other...
    • Utopia replaces God by the future. Then it proceeds to identify the future with ethics; the only values are those which serve this particular future. For that reason Utopias have almost always been coercive and authoritarian.
    • Virtue cannot separate itself from reality without becoming a principle of evil. Nor can it identify itself completely with reality without denying itself.
    • We all carry within us our places of exile, our crimes and our ravages. But our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to fight them in ourselves and in others.
    • We have a right to think that truth with a capital letter is relative. But facts are facts. And whoever says that the sky is blue when it is gray is prostituting words and preparing the way for tyranny.
    • We have nothing to lose except everything.
    • We have to live and let live in order to create what we are.
    • We live in an unsacrosanct moment in history.
    • We must accept the dangers: the era of chairbound artists is over. But we must reject the bitterness ... Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society, even when perfect, is but a jungle. This is why any authentic creation is a gift to the future.
    • When law ventures, in the hope of dominating, into the dark regions of consciousness, it has little chance of being able to simplify the complexity it wants to codify.
    • When the meaning of life has been suppressed, there still remains life.
    • You will never be happy if you keep searching for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you keep looking for the meaning of life without living it.
    • As a writer Camus maintained his independence from both friends and enemies in the political and philosophical movements that attempted to subvert his writing to their own ends. ... Camus combines a taut writing style, as well as profound insights on society, with the courage to report back from the abyss of despair, unblinking.
    • albert camus

Quotes by Famous People

Who Were Also Born On November 7thWho Also Died On January 4th
Joni Mitchell
Albert Camus
Herman J. Mankiewicz
Mikhail Kalinin
Andrew Dickson White
William Stukeley
Irving Layton
Christopher Isherwood
Albert Camus

Copyright © www.quotesby.net