You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
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.
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
I know of only one duty, and that is to love.
One recognizes one's course by discovering the paths that stray from it.
Rebellion cannot exist without a strange form of love.
A loveless world is a dead world.
True artists scorn nothing.
To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.
Don't walk in front of me… I may not follow
Don't walk behind me… I may not lead
Walk beside me… just be my friend.
The true work of art is always on the human scale. It is essentially the one that says, 'less.'
The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
A true masterpiece does not tell everything.
Man is an idea, and a precious small idea once he turns his back on love.
Men must live and create. Live to the point of tears.
To know oneself, one should assert oneself.
Those who lack the courage will always find a philosophy to justify it.
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Our civilization survives in the complacency of cowardly or malignant minds, a sacrifice to the vanity of aging adolescents.
The French Revolution gave birth to no artists but only to a great journalist, desmoulins, and to an under-the-counter writer, sade. The only poet of the times was the guillotine.
Fortunately there is gin, the sole glimmer in this darkness. Do you feel the golden, copper-coloured light it kindles in you? I like walking through the city of an evening in the warmth of gin.
If it were sufficient to love, things would be too easy. The more one loves the stronger the absurd grows.
People don't love each other at our age, Marthe--they please each other, that's all. Later on, when you're old and impotent, you can love someone. At our age, you just think you do. That's all it is.
It is terrifying to see how easily, in certain people, all dignity collapses. Yet when you think about it, this is quite normal since they only maintain this dignity by constantly striving against their own nature.
You see, I've heard of a man whose friend had been imprisoned and who slept on the floor of his room every night in order not to enjoy a comfort of which his friend had been deprived.
The absurd does not liberate; it binds. It does not authorize all actions. Everything is permitted does not mean that nothing is forbidden.
Thus I draw from the absurd three consequences, which are my
revolt, my freedom, and my passion. By the mere activity of
consciousness I transform into a rule of life what was an invitation
to death--and I refuse suicide.
A stranger to myself and to the world, armed solely with a thought that negates itself as soon as it asserts, what is this condition in which I can have peace only by refusing to know and to live, in which the appetite for conquest bumps into walls that defy its assaults?
Gilbert Jonas, painter, believed in his star.... His own faith was not, however, without its virtues because it consisted in admitting, in some obscure way, that he would obtain many things without deserving them.
From Paul to Stalin, the popes who have chosen Caesar have prepared the way for Caesars who quickly learn to despise popes.
And never have I felt so deeply at one and the same time so detached from myself and so present in the world.
For the absurd man, it is not a matter of explaining and solving, but of experiencing and describing. Everything begins with lucid indifference.
There are means that cannot be excused. And 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.
I know that man is capable of great deeds. But if he isn't capable of great emotion, well, he leaves me cold.
How had I not seen that there was nothing more important than an execution, and that when you come right down to it, it was the only thing a man could truly be interested in?
We all carry within us places of exile, our crimes, our ravages. Our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to transform them in ourselves and others.
A symbol always transcends the one who makes use of it and makes him say in reality more than he is aware of expressing.
There is not one talent for living and another for creating. The same suffices for both. And one can be sure that the talent that could not produce but an artificial work could not sustain but a frivolous life.
I am strangely tired, not from having talked so much but at the mere thought of what I still have to say.
It is easy to shield the outer body from poisoned arrows, but it is impossible to shield the mind from the poisoned darts that originate within itself. Greed, anger, foolishness and the infatuations of egoism -- these four poisoned darts originate within the mind and infect it with deadly poison.
Your success and happiness are forgiven you only if you generously consent to share them. But to be happy it is essential not to be too concerned with others. Consequently, there is no escape. Happy and judged, or absolved and wretched.
Stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves.
The only picture of Tarrou he would always have would be the picture of a man who firmly gripped the steering-wheel of his car when driving, or else the picture of that stalwart body, now lying motionless. Knowing meant that: a living warmth, and a picture of death.
We writers must know that we can never escape the common misery and that our only justification, if indeed there is a justification, is to speak up, insofar as we can, for those who cannot do so.
If pimps and thieves were invariably sentenced, all decent people would get to thinking they themselves were constantly innocent.
In the end, man is not entirely guilty -- he did not start history. Nor is he wholly innocent -- he continues it.
Over there, in Europe, all was shame and anger. Here it was exile or solitude, among these languid and agitated madmen who danced in order to die.
It is a well-known fact that we always recognize our homeland at the moment we are about to lose it.
If Christianity is pessimistic as to man, it is optimistic as to human destiny. Well, I can say that, pessimistic as to human destiny, I am optimistic as to man.
A novel is never anything but a philosophy expressed in images. And in a good novel the philosophy has disappeared into the images.
Honor lay in obedience, which was often confused with crime. Military law punishes disobedience by death, and its honor is servitude. When all the world has become military, then crime consists in not killing if orders insist on it.
Our world does not need tepid souls. It needs burning hearts, men who know the proper place of moderation.
As I usually do when I want to get rid of someone whose conversation bores me, I pretended to agree.
But now the artist is in the amphitheatre. Of necessity, his voice is not quite the same; it is not nearly so firm.
I've seen of enough of people who die for an idea. I don't believe in heroism; I know it's easy and I've learned it can be murderous. What interests me is living and dying for what one loves.
And indeed it could be said that once the faintest stirring of hope became possible, the dominion of plague was ended.
They knew now that if there is one thing one can always yearn for, and sometimes attain, it is human love.
There are plagues, and there are victims, and it's the duty of good men not to join forces with the plagues.
No longer were there individual destinies; only a collective destiny, made of plague and emotions shared by all.
In short, whoever does violence to truth or its expression eventually mutilates justice, even though he thinks he is serving it. From this point of view, we shall deny to the very end that a press is true because it is revolutionary; it will be revolutionary only if it is true, and never otherwise.
The entire history of mankind is, in any case, nothing but a prolonged fight to the death for the conquest of universal prestige and absolute power.
Freedom is not a gift received from the State or leader, but a possession to be won every day by the effort of each and the union of all.
After all, I do not have so many ways of proving that I am free. We is always free at the expense of someone else. It is a bother,but it is normal.
Thinking of the future, establishing aims for oneself, having preferences-all this presupposes a belief in freedom, even if one occasionally ascertains that one doesn't feel it.
In every rebellion is to be found the metaphysical demand for unity, the impossibility of capturing it, and the construction of a substitute universe.
Revolution, in order to be creative, cannot do without either a moral or metaphysical rule to balance the insanity of history.
Remembrance of things past is just for the rich. For the poor it only marks the faint traces on the path to death.
One thinks differently about the same thing in the morning and in the evening. But where is the truth, in the night thought or in the spirit of midday? Two replies, two races of men.
He said: We must have one love, one great love in our life, since it gives us an alibi for all the moments when we are filled with motiveless despair.
I spent a long time looking at faces, drinking in smiles. Am I happy or unhappy? It's not very important question. I live with such frenzied intensity.
A time comes when one can no longer feel the emotion of love. The only thing left is tragedy. Living for someone or for something no longer has any meaning. Nothing seems to keep its meaning except the idea of dying for something.
Tragedy forms a closed world, in which we stumble over and knock against obstacles. In the theater, tragedy must be born and die in the restricted area of the stage.
The nobility of our calling will always be rooted in two commitments difficult to observe: refusal to lie about what we know, and resistance to oppression.
At that subtle moment when man glances backward over his life, Sisyphus returning toward his rock, in that slight pivoting he contemplates that series of unrelated actions which becomes his fate, created by him, combined under his memory's eye and soon
sealed by his death.
To impoverish that reality whose inhumanity constitutes man's majesty is tantamount to impoverishing him himself.
All existence for a man turned away from the eternal is but a vast mime under the mask of the absurd. Creation is the great mime…it is itself an absurd phenomenon.
is obvious that absurdism hereby admits that human life is the only necessary good since it is precisely
life that makes this encounter possible and since, without life, the absurdist wager would have no basis.
To say that life is absurd, the conscience must be alive.
But it is obvious that absurdism hereby admits that human life is the only necessary good since it is precisely life that makes this encounter possible and since, without life, the absurdist wager would have no basis. To say that life is absurd, the conscience must be alive.
We refuse to despair of mankind. Without having the unreasonable ambition to save men, we still want to serve them.
This world in itself is not reasonable, that is all that can be said. But what is absurd is the confrontation of this irrational and the wild longing for clarity whose call echoes in the human heart.
Our fate stands before us and we provoke him. Less out of pride than out of awareness of our ineffectual condition. We, too, sometimes feel pity for ourselves. ... Yet the most daring among us are the ones who feel it.
At any street corner the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face, As it is, in its distressing nudity, in its light without effulgence, it is elusive.
Every stone here sweats with suffering, I know that. I have never looked at them without a feeling of anguish. But deep in my heart I know that the most wretched among you have seen a divine face emerge from their darkness. That is the face you are asked to see.
I understood, by dint of digging into my memories, that modesty helped me to shine, humility helped me to triumph and virtue to oppress.
Tyrants know there is in the work of art an emancipatory force, which is mysterious only to those who do not revere it. Every great work makes the human face more admirable and richer, and this is its whole secret.
The ancients, even though they believed in destiny , believed primarily in nature , in which they participated wholeheartedly. To rebel against nature amounted to rebelling against oneself. It was butting one's head against a wall.
Purely historical thought is therefore nihilistic: it wholeheartedly accepts the evil of history and in this way is opposed to rebellion.
Germany collapsed as a result of having engaged in a struggle for empire with the concepts of provincial politics.
People don't love each other at our age --they please each other, that's all. Later on when you're old and impotent, you can love somebody. At our age, you just think you do. That's all it is.
The certainty of a God giving meaning to life far surpasses in attractiveness the ability to behave badly with impunity. The choice would not be hard to make. But there is no choice and that is where the bitterness comes in. The absurd does not liberate; it binds.
My dear friend, we mustn't give them even the slightest excuse to judge us! Otherwise, we end up in pieces.
No, Father, I've a very different idea of love. And until my dying day I shall refuse to love a scheme of things in which children are put to torture.
More and more, revolution has found itself delivered into the hands of its bureaucrats and doctrinaires on the one hand, and to the enfeebled and bewildered masses on the other.
The absurd is a shadow cast over everything we do and even if we try to live life as if it has meaning as if there are reasons for doing things the absurd will linger in the back of our minds as a nagging doubt that perhaps there is no point.
It is impossible to give a clear account of the world, but art can teach us to reproduce it-just as the world reproduces itself in the course of its eternal gyrations. The primordial sea indefatigably repeats the same words and casts up the same astonished beings on the same sea-shore.
What must be remembered in any case is that secret complicity that joins the logical and the everyday to the tragic.
Imagination offers people consolation for what they cannot be, and humor for what they actually are.
More and more, when faced with the world of men, the only reaction is one of individualism. Man alone is an end unto himself. Everything one tries to do for the common good ends in failure.
Rebellion, in man, is the refusal to be treated as an object and to be reduced to simple historical terms. It is the affirmation of a nature common to all men, which eludes the world of power.
The most eloquent eulogy of capitalism was made by its greatest enemy. Marx is only anti-capitalist in so far as capitalism is out of date.
There was the same dazzling red glare. The sea gasped for air with each shallow, stifled wave that broke on the sand. ...with every blade of light that flashed off the sand, from a bleached shell or a peice of broken glass, my jaws tightened. I walked for a long time.
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.
With the exception of professional rationalists, today people despair of true knowledge. If only the significant history of human thought were to be written, it would have to be he history of its successive regrets and its impotences.
Crime too is a form of solitude, even if one thousand get together to commit it. And it is right for me to die alone, after having lived and killed alone.
At the age of 40, having ordered meat very rare in restaurants all his life, he realized he actually liked it medium and not at all rare.
A lot of jobs don't allow you to be who you are. There is dignity in work only when it is work freely accepted.
Life can be magnificent and overwhelming -- that is the whole tragedy. Without beauty, love, or danger it would almost be easy to live.
There always comes a time when one must choose between contemplation and action. This is called becoming a man.
I realized then that a man who had lived only one day could easily live for a hundred years in prison. He would have enough memories to keep him from being bored.
Some cry: 'Love me!' Others: 'Don't love me!' But a certain genus, the worst and most unhappy, cries: 'Don't love me and be faithful to me!'
When a war breaks out, people say: It's too stupid; it can't last long. But though a 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.
I would rather not have upset him, but I couldn't see any reason to change my life. Looking back on it, I wasn't unhappy. When I was a student, I had lots of ambitions like that. But when I had to give up my studies I learned very quickly that none of it really mattered.
No code of ethics and no effort are justifiable a priori in the face of the cruel mathematics that command our condition.
I feel like getting married, or committing suicide, or subscribing to L'Illustration. Something desperate, you know.
A trial cannot be conducted by announcing the general culpability of a civilization. Only the actual deeds which, at least, stank in the nostrils of the entire world were brought to judgment.
God is not necessary to create culpability, or to punish. Our fellow men are enough for that, helped by ourselves.
After another moment's silence she mumbled that I was peculiar, that that was probably why she loved me but that one day I might disgust her for the very same reason.
Ale zawsze nadchodzi godzina w historii, kiedy ten, co ośmiela się powiedzieć, że dwa i dwa to cztery, jest karany śmiercią.
Always there comes an hour when one is weary of one's work and devotion to duty, and all one craves for is a loved face, the warmth and wonder of a loving heart.
He was expressing his certainty that my appeal would be granted, but I was carrying the burden of a sin from which I had to free myself. According to him, human justice was nothing and divine justice was everything. I pointed out it was the former that had condemned me.
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.
Poverty, first of all was never a misfortune for me; it was radiant with sunlight.. I owe it to my family, first of all, who lacked everything and who envied practically nothing.
What would become of the world if the condemned started to confide their heartaches to the executioners?
What, in fact, is a novel but a universe in which action is endowed with form, where final words are pronounced, where people possess one another completely, and where life assumes the aspect of destiny?
How did I picture the life after the grave?
I Fairly bawled out at him: 'A life in which I can remember this life on earth. That's all I want of it.
One might think, that a period which, within fifty years, uproots, enslaves or kills seventy million human beings, should only, and forthwith, be condemned. But also its guilt must be understood.
Freedom of the press is perhaps the freedom that has suffered the most from the gradual degradation of the idea of liberty.
Who, cher monsieur, will sleep on the floor for us? Whether I am capable of it myself? Look, I'd like to be and I shall be. Yes, we shall all be capable of it one day, and that will be salvation.
We Raymond and Meursault stared at each other without blinking, and everything came to a stop there between the sea, the sand, and the sun, and the double silence of the flute and the water. It was then that I realized that you could either shoot or not shoot.
Nature is a burning and frigid, transparent and limited universe in which nothing is possible but everything is given.
I realized people would soon forget me once I was dead. I couldn't even say that this was hard to stomach; really, there's no idea to which one doesn't get acclimatized in time.
It occurred to me that anyway one more Sunday was over that Maman was buried now, that I was going back to work, and that, really, nothing had changed.