Without freedom, no art; art lives only on the restraints it imposes on itself, and dies of all others.
Every artist preserves deep within him a single source from which, throughout his lifetime, he draws what he is, and what he says. When the source dries up, the work withers and crumbles.
The artist forges himself to the others, midway between the beauty he cannot do without and the community he cannot tear himself away from. That is why true artists scorn nothing: they are obliged to understand rather than to judge.
I was born poor and without religion, under a happy sky, feeling harmony, not hostility, in nature. I began not by feeling torn, but in plenitude.
To abandon oneself to principles is really to die -- and to die for an impossible love which is the contrary of love.
There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.
He who despairs of the human condition is a coward, but he who has hope for it is a fool.
A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.
For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.
Don't wait for the last judgment -- it takes place every day.
The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.
Stupidity has a knack of getting its way.
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 live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live as if there isn't and to die to find out that there is.
Ah, mon cher, for anyone who is alone, without God and without a master, the weight of days is dreadful.
The desire for possession is insatiable, to such a point that it can survive even love itself. To love, therefore, is to sterilize the person one loves.
For centuries the death penalty, often accompanied by barbarous refinements, has been trying to hold crime in check; yet crime persists. Why? Because the instincts that are warring in man are not, as the law claims, constant forces in a state of equilibrium.
Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.
Each generation doubtless feels called upon to reform the world. Mine knows that it will not reform it, but its task is perhaps even greater. It consists in preventing the world from destroying itself.
Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.
Some people talk in their sleep. Lecturers talk while other people sleep.
Men must live and create. Live to the point of tears.
The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.
The absurd depends as much on man as on the world. For the moment, it is all that links them together.
You have to be very rich or very poor to live without a trade.
The real passion of the twentieth century is servitude.
We call first truths those we discover after all the others.
Retaliation is related to nature and instinct, not to law. Law, by definition, cannot obey the same rules as nature.
It is normal to give away a little of one's life in order not to lose it all.
A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession.
An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.
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.
But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?
But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads.
You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.
Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.
The myth of unlimited production brings war in its train as inevitably as clouds announce a storm.
The modern mind is in complete disarray. Knowledge has stretched itself to the point where neither the world nor our intelligence can find any foot-hold. It is a fact that we are suffering from nihilism.
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.
One leader, one people, signifies one master and millions of slaves.
To correct a natural indifference I was placed half-way between misery and the sun. Misery kept me from believing that all was well under the sun, and the sun taught me that history wasn't everything.
The world is never quiet, even its silence eternally resounds with the same notes, in vibrations which escape our ears. As for those that we perceive, they carry sounds to us, occasionally a chord, never a melody.
By definition, a government has no conscience. Sometimes it has a policy, but nothing more.
I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice.
The need to be right is the sign of a vulgar mind.
At any street corner the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face.
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.
Truth is mysterious, elusive, always to be conquered. Liberty is dangerous, as hard to live with as it is elating. We must march toward these two goals, painfully but resolutely, certain in advance of our failings on so long a road.
There is no love of life without despair of life.
Martyrs, my friend, have to choose between being forgotten, mocked or used. As for being understood -- never.
To know oneself, one should assert oneself.
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.
Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.
I know of only one duty, and that is to love.
No matter what cause one defends, it will suffer permanent disgrace if one resorts to blind attacks on crowds of innocent people.
Those who lack the courage will always find a philosophy to justify it.
The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
As a remedy to life in society I would suggest the big city. Nowadays, it is the only desert within our means.
It is necessary to fall in love... if only to provide an alibi for all the random despair you are going to feel anyway.
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.