113 Albert Camus quotes

Albert Camus was a French philosopher, author, and journalist. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 44 in 1957.

Philosophically, Camus’s views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. He is also considered to be an existentialist, even though he rejected the term throughout his lifetime.

Albert Camus quotes part 1

To abandon oneself to principles is really to die – and to die for an impossible love which is the contrary of love.

The society based on production is only productive, not creative.

Don’t wait for the last judgment – it takes place every day.

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.

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.

When you have really exhausted an experience you always reverence and love it.

What is a rebel? A man who says no.

All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant’s revolving door.

Those who weep for the happy periods which they encounter in history acknowledge what they want; not the alleviation but the silencing of misery.

We call first truths those we discover after all the others.

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.

In order to exist just once in the world, it is necessary never again to exist.

Martyrs, my friend, have to choose between being forgotten, mocked or used. As for being understood – never.

To know oneself, one should assert oneself.

It is normal to give away a little of one’s life in order not to lose it all.

All modern revolutions have ended in a reinforcement of the power of the State.

Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.

Alas, after a certain age every man is responsible for his face.

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

After all manner of professors have done their best for us, the place we are to get knowledge is in books. The true university of these days is a collection of books.

The real passion of the twentieth century is servitude.

Man is an idea, and a precious small idea once he turns his back on love.

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.

Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.

The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

How can sincerity be a condition of friendship? A taste for truth at any cost is a passion which spares nothing.

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.

The myth of unlimited production brings war in its train as inevitably as clouds announce a storm.

To be happy we must not be too concerned with others.

Methods of thought which claim to give the lead to our world in the name of revolution have become, in reality, ideologies of consent and not of rebellion.

A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.

I know of only one duty, and that is to love.

Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.

Those who lack the courage will always find a philosophy to justify it.

Every man needs slaves like he needs clean air. To rule is to breathe, is it not? And even the most disenfranchised get to breathe. The lowest on the social scale have their spouses or their children.

Every revolutionary ends up either by becoming an oppressor or a heretic.

It’s a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money.

By definition, a government has no conscience. Sometimes it has a policy, but nothing more.

Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without asking a clear question.

Without freedom, no art; art lives only on the restraints it imposes on itself, and dies of all others.

Note, besides, that it is no more immoral to directly rob citizens than to slip indirect taxes into the price of goods that they cannot do without.

What the world requires of the Christians is that they should continue to be Christians.

In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.

We continue to shape our personality all our life. If we knew ourselves perfectly, we should die.

To insure the adoration of a theorem for any length of time, faith is not enough, a police force is needed as well.

There is the good and the bad, the great and the low, the just and the unjust. I swear to you that all that will never change.

Truly fertile Music, the only kind that will move us, that we shall truly appreciate, will be a Music conducive to Dream, which banishes all reason and analysis. One must not wish first to understand and then to feel. Art does not tolerate Reason.

Culture: the cry of men in face of their destiny.

As a remedy to life in society I would suggest the big city. Nowadays, it is the only desert within our means.

It is a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money.

There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.

Albert Camus quotes part 2

A taste for truth at any cost is a passion which spares nothing.

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.

The only real progress lies in learning to be wrong all alone.

He who despairs of the human condition is a coward, but he who has hope for it is a fool.

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.

At any street corner the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face.

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.

Don’t believe your friends when they ask you to be honest with them. All they really want is to be maintained in the good opinion they have of themselves.

We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives… inside ourselves.

The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.

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.

But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?

Real nobility is based on scorn, courage, and profound indifference.

We rarely confide in those who are better than we are.

We are all special cases.

Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object.

A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession.

Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.

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.

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.

To assert in any case that a man must be absolutely cut off from society because he is absolutely evil amounts to saying that society is absolutely good, and no-one in his right mind will believe this today.

Man wants to live, but it is useless to hope that this desire will dictate all his actions.

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.

Men must live and create. Live to the point of tears.

You have to be very rich or very poor to live without a trade.

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.

At 30 a man should know himself like the palm of his hand, know the exact number of his defects and qualities, know how far he can go, foretell his failures – be what he is. And, above all, accept these things.

A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.

I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t and die to find out there is.

Virtue cannot separate itself from reality without becoming a principle of evil.

Your successes and happiness are forgiven you only if you generously consent to share them.

Some people talk in their sleep. Lecturers talk while other people sleep.

We turn toward God only to obtain the impossible.

An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.

Men are convinced of your arguments, your sincerity, and the seriousness of your efforts only by your death.

Those who write clearly have readers, those who write obscurely have commentators.

There will be no lasting peace either in the heart of individuals or in social customs until death is outlawed.

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

To be famous, in fact, one has only to kill one’s landlady.

The need to be right is the sign of a vulgar mind.

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.

The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.

Retaliation is related to nature and instinct, not to law. Law, by definition, cannot obey the same rules as nature.

Only a philosophy of eternity, in the world today, could justify non-violence.

It is not your paintings I like, it is your painting.

Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.

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.

After all, every murderer when he kills runs the risk of the most dreadful of deaths, whereas those who kill him risk nothing except promotion.

Integrity has no need of rules.

One leader, one people, signifies one master and millions of slaves.

Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.

The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.

Stupidity has a knack of getting its way.

Ah, mon cher, for anyone who is alone, without God and without a master, the weight of days is dreadful.

Men are never really willing to die except for the sake of freedom: therefore they do not believe in dying completely.

Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.

How hard, how bitter it is to become a man!

We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking. In that race which daily hastens us towards death, the body maintains its irreparable lead.

You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer ‘yes’ without having asked any clear question.

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.