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Albert Camus Quotes


Albert Camus2

“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?”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from The Myth of Sisyphus

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Albert Camus Quotes about Art & Writing


“A character is never the author who created him. It is quite likely, however, that an author may be all his characters simultaneously.” – Albert Camus
“A novel is never anything but a philosophy put into images. And in a good novel, the whole of the philosophy has passed into the images. But if once the philosophy overflows the characters and action, and therefore looks like a label stuck on the work, the plot loses its authenticity and the novel its life. Nevertheless, a work that is to last cannot dispense with profound ideas. And this secret fusion between experiences and ideas, between life and reflection on the meaning of life, is what makes the great novelist.” – Albert Camus
“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.” – Albert Camus, Quotes from The Myth of Sisyphus


“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.”

– Albert Camus


“It is the failing of a certain literature to believe that life is tragic because it is wretched.”

– Albert Camus


‘Art, at least, teaches us that man cannot be explained by history alone and that he also finds a reason for his existence in the order of nature.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from Rebellion and Art


“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. It cannot, under any circumstances, be to reduce or suppress that freedom, even temporarily.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from The Artist and His Time

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Albert Camus Quotes about Beauty

Albert Camus


“We have exiled beauty; the Greeks took up arms for her.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from Helen’s Exile


“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.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from Helen’s Exile


“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.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from Helen’s Exile


“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.”

– Albert Camus

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Albert Camus Quotes about Death


“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.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from Lyrical and Critical Essays


“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.”

– Albert Camus


“Outside of that single fatality of death, everything, joy or happiness, is liberty.”

– Albert Camus


“He realized now that to be afraid of this death he was staring at with animal terror meant to be afraid of life. Fear of dying justified a limitless attachment to what is alive in man. And all those who had not made the gestures necessary to live their lives, all those who feared and exalted impotence — they were afraid of death because of the sanction it gave to a life in which they had not been involved. They had not lived enough, never having lived at all.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from American Journals

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Albert Camus Quotes about Happiness


“To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.”

– Albert Camus


“Only it takes time to be happy. A lot of time. Happiness, too, is a long patience.”

– Albert Camus


“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.”
– Albert Camus

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Albert Camus Quotes about Imagination


“The contradiction is this: man rejects the world as it is, without accepting the necessity of escaping it. In fact, men cling to the world and by far the majority do not want to abandon it.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from The Rebellion and Art


“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.”

– Albert Camus

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Albert Camus Quotes about Life

Albert Camus, gagnant de prix Nobel, portrait en buste, posé au bureau, faisant face à gauche, cigarette de tabagisme


“There is not love of life without despair about life.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from Lyrical and Critical Essays        


“We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from The Myth of Sisyphus


“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.”

– Albert Camus


“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from The Unquiet Vision: Mirrors of Man in Existentialism


“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.”

– Albert Camus, Lyrical and Critical Essays


“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.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from The Failing of Prophecy


“Life continues, and some mornings, weary of the noise, discouraged by the prospect of the interminable work to keep after, sickened also by the madness of the world that leaps at you from the newspaper, finally convinced that I will not be equal to it and that I will disappoint everyone—all I want to do is sit down and wait for evening. This is what I feel like, and sometimes I yield to it.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from Lyrical and Critical Essays         


“Life can be magnificent and overwhelming — that is its whole tragedy. Without beauty, love, or danger it would be almost easy to live. And M. Sartre’s hero does not perhaps give us the real meaning of his anguish when he insists on those aspects of man he finds repugnant, instead of basing his reasons for despair on certain of man’s signs of greatness.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from Review of Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre


“The realization that life is absurd cannot be an end, but only a beginning. This is a truth nearly all great minds have taken as their starting point. It is not this discovery that is interesting, but the consequences and rules of action drawn from it.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from Review of Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre


“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.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from Summer in Algiers


“What must be remembered in any case is that secret complicity that joins the logical and the everyday to the tragic.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from The Myth of Sisyphus


“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.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from The Myth of Sisyphus         


“Everything considered, a determined soul will always manage.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from The Myth of Sisyphus

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Albert Camus Quotes about Love


“We always deceive ourselves twice about the people we love — first to their advantage, then to their disadvantage.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from A Happy Death    


“No human being, even the most passionately loved and passionately loving, is ever in our possession.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from Rebellion and Art


“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.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from The Fall     


“My dear, in the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm. I realized through it all, that… In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”

– Albert Camus

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Albert Camus Quotes about Morality & Ethics


“Whatever we may do, excess will always keep its place in the heart of man, in the place where solitude is found. 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.”

– Albert Camus


“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.”

– Albert Camus


“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. … the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance which fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill.”

– Albert Camus


“Absolute freedom mocks at justice. Absolute justice denies freedom. To be fruitful, the two ideas must find their limits in each other.”

– Albert Camus


“Whatever we may do, excess will always keep its place in the heart of man, in the place where solitude is found. 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.”

– Albert Camus


“What is a rebel? A man who says no.”

– Albert Camus


“Then we understand that rebellion cannot exist without a strange form of love. Those who find no rest in God or in history are condemned to live for those who, like themselves, cannot live; in fact, for the humiliated.”

– Albert Camus

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Albert Camus Quotes about Nature


“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.”

– Albert Camus


“Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.”

– Albert Camus

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Albert Camus Quotes about Religion


“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.”

– Albert Camus


“When the throne of God is overturned, the rebel realizes that it is now his own responsibility to create the justice, order, and unity that he sought in vain within his own condition, and in this way to justify the fall of God. Then begins the desperate effort to create, at the price of crime and murder if necessary, the dominion of man.”

– Albert Camus


“It’s better to bet on this life than on the next.”

– Albert Camus


“I shall tell you a great secret, my friend. Do not wait for the Last Judgment. It takes place every day.”

– Albert Camus

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Albert Camus Quotes about Society


“Don’t let them tell us stories. Don’t let them say of the man sentenced to death “He is going to pay his debt to society,” but: “They are going to cut off his head.” It looks like nothing. But it does make a little difference. And then there are people who prefer to look their fate in the eye.”

– Albert Camus


“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.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from Homage to an Exile


“Perhaps we cannot prevent this world from being a world in which children are tortured. But we can reduce the number of tortured children. And if you don’t help us, who else in the world can help us do this?”

– Albert Camus


“In every rebellion is to be found the metaphysical demand for unity, the impossibility of capturing it, and the construction of a substitute universe.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from Rebellion and Art


“With rebellion, awareness is born.”

– Albert Camus


“The contradiction is this: man rejects the world as it is, without accepting the necessity of escaping it. In fact, men cling to the world and by far the majority do not want to abandon it.”

– Albert Camus

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Albert Camus Quotes about The Absurd Man

Albert Camus

 

“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.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from The Myth of Sisyphus


“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.”

– Albert Camus


“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.”

– Albert Camus

Albert Camus Quotes about Truth


“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?”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from The Myth of Sisyphus 


“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.”

– Albert Camus, Quotes from The Myth of Sisyphus


“The important thing isn’t the soundness or otherwise of the argument, but for it to make you think.”

– Albert Camus


“An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.”

– Albert Camus


“The words that reverberate for us at the confines of this long adventure of rebellion are not formulas for optimism, for which we have no possible use in the extremities of our unhappiness, but words of courage and intelligence which, on the shores of the eternal seas, even have the qualities of virtue.”

– Albert Camus

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Albert Camus Quotes about Wealth


“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.”

– Albert Camus


“Having money is a way of being free of money.”

– Albert Camus

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Quotes about Albert Camus


“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.”

Ottar G. Draugsvold, Quotes from in Nobel Writers on Writing (2000)

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