"For myself, I cannot live without my art. But I have never placed it above everything. If, on the other hand, I need it, it is because it cannot be separated from my fellow men, and it allows me to live, such as I am, on one level with them. It is a means of stirring the greatest number of people by offering them a privileged picture of common joys and sufferings. It obliges the artist not to keep himself apart; it subjects him to the most humble and the most universal truth. And often he who has chosen the fate of the artist because he felt himself to be different soon realizes that he can maintain neither his art nor his difference unless he admits that he is like the others. 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. And if they have to take sides in this world, they can perhaps side only with that society in which, according to Nietzsche’s great words, not the judge but the creator will rule, whether he be a worker or an intellectual."
— Albert Camus, from his Nobel Prize speech in 1957
"On the promontory I had loved in former days, between the drenched pillars of the ruined temple, I seemed to be walking behind someone whose footsteps I could still hear on the tombstones and mosaics, but whom I would never catch up with again."
— Albert Camus - “Return to Tipasa”
"This very heart which is mine will forever remain indefinable to me. Between the certainty I have of my existence and the content I try to give to that assurance, the gap will never be filled. For ever I shall be a stranger to myself."
— Albert Camus - The Myth of Sisyphus
"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, The Myth of Sisyphus
"At such moments the collapse of their courage, willpower, and endurance was so abrupt that they felt that they could never drag themselves out of the pit of despond into which they had fallen. Therefore they forced themselves never to think about the problematic day of escape, to cease looking to the future, and always to keep, so to speak, their eyes fixed on the ground at their feet. But, naturally enough, this prudence, this habit of feinting with their predicament and refusing to put up a fight, was ill rewarded. For, while averting that revulsion which they found so unbearable, they also deprived themselves of those redeeming moments, frequent enough when all is told, when by conjuring up pictures of a reunion to be, they could forget all about the plague. Thus, in a middle course between these heights and depths, they drifted through life rather than lived, the prey of aimless days and sterile memories, like wandering shadow that could have acquired substance only by consenting to root themselves in the solid earth of their distress."
— Albert Camus, The Plague
"Sexual life was given to man to distract him perhaps from his true path. It’s his opium. With it everything falls asleep. Outside it, things resume life. At the same time, chastity kills the species, which is perhaps the truth."
— Albert Camus, Notebooks 1942-1951
"Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning, but “steal” some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject that rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be."
— Albert Camus, Notebooks 1951-1959
"In every guilty man, there is an innocent part. This is what makes any absolute condemnation revolting. We do not think enough about pain."
— Albert Camus, in a letter to Jean Grenier
"Just as we now love one another by telephone and work not on matter but on machines, we kill and are killed by proxy. What is gained in cleanliness is lost in understanding."
— Albert Camus
"All that remains is a fate whose outcome alone is fatal. Outside of that single fatality of death, everything, joy or happiness, is liberty. A world remains of which man is the sole master. What bound him was the illusion of another world. The outcome of his thought, ceasing to be renunciatory, flowers in images. It frolics – in myths, to be sure, but myths with no other depth than that of human suffering and, like it, inexhaustible. Not the divine fable that amuses and blinds, but the terrestrial face, gesture, and drama in which are summed up a difficult wisdom and an ephemeral passion."
— "Absurd Creation," The Myth of Sisyphus - Albert Camus
"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."
— "Absurd Creation," The Myth of Sisyphus - Albert Camus
"A man wants to earn money in order to be happy, and his whole effort and the best of a life are devoted to the earning of that money. Happiness is forgotten; the means are taken for the end."
— "Absurd Creation," The Myth of Sisyphus — Albert Camus
"…Never have I felt so deeply and at one and the same time so detached from myself and at so present in the world. Yes, I am present. And what strikes me at this moment is that I can go no further – like a man sentenced to life imprisonment, to whom everything is present. But also like a man who knows that tomorrow will be the same, and every other day. For when a man becomes conscious of what he is now, it means he expects nothing further."
— "The Wind at Djemila," Lyrical and Critical Essays - Albert Camus
"No, it was neither I nor the world that counted, but solely the harmony and silence that gave birth to the love between us. A love I was not foolish enough to claim for myself alone, proudly aware that I shared it with a whole race born in the sun and sea, alive and spirited, drawing greatness from its simplicity, and upright on the beaches, smiling in complicity at the brilliance of its skies."
— "Nuptials at Tipasa," Lyrical and Critical Essays - Albert Camus
"At this extreme point of acute awareness everything came together, and my life seemed a solid block to be accepted or rejected. I needed a grandeur. I found it in the confrontation between my deep despair and the secret indifference of one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. I drew from it the strength to be at one and the same time both courageous and aware."
— "Death in the Soul," Lyrical and Critical Essays, Albert Camus