A selection of reflections and quotes by this Algerian philosopher Albert Camus, referring to the existentialism of the 20th century.
The human being seeks to give meaning to their existence. Why we are here and what is the purpose of everything that surrounds us are questions that we all ask ourselves on occasion.
However, none of these questions ever finds any valid answer, perhaps because existence does not have any kind of meaning or meaning. It simply is. This leaves us with an absurd position when trying to give meaning or meaning to something that does not have it. This concept forms the basis of the philosophical thought of Albert Camus, journalist, dramatist, writer and philosopher of Algerian origin.
Born in 1913, this well-known writer who would receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957 worked throughout his work concepts such as the aforementioned absurdism, the search for freedom, rebellion against absurdity (including art as a way of manifesting it), morality (an essential element for him), manipulation or personal relationships. In this article, I selected 90 best quotes by Albert Camus to acquaint us with his thinking.
90 of the best quotes of Albert Camus
Below you can see some of the best quotes of Albert Camus that help to get a clearer idea of his philosophical thinking and better understand his work.
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1. The absurdity arises from the confrontation between the search of the human being and the irrational silence of the world
For Camus, life and existence do not have a meaning or meaning that we can find, so when we try to give meaning to reality and we realize that it acts indifferently to our claims to mean it, the feeling arises that we are committing a absurdity.
2. Any man, around the corner, can experience the sensation of the absurd, because everything is absurd
The explanations that we try to give to life and what happens to us can not sustain rationally, since reality is chaotic and without order. That is why we can all feel absurdity since there is no metaphysical sense for what we do or live.
3. Not being loved is a simple misfortune. The true fatality is to not know how to love
Maybe the person who loves is not reciprocated but is the one who is not capable of loving who is going to lead a sadder life.
4. What we do may not always bring happiness, but if we do not do anything, there will be no happiness
This reflection pushes us to act even though we can err and make mistakes because it is the only way to achieve our dreams.
5. A true friend is the one who arrives when everyone has gone
Sometimes we make the mistake of considering a friend as the one who is when things are going well. It is in hard, difficult moments when you will notice who is there and really cares about you.
6. Happy and judged or acquitted and miserable
Camus pushes us to live independently of the judgment of others regarding our actions in order to be happy.
7. Each generation, without doubt, believes itself destined to remake the world. Mine knows, however, that it will not redo it. But his task may be bigger. It consists of preventing the world from stopping
Camus lived between 1913 and 1960. His generation lived through the horrors of the First World War, the rise of fascism and the Second World War.
8. Do not walk in front of me, I may not follow you. Do not walk behind me, it may not guide you. Walk next to me and be your friend
This phrase reflects the notion of equality between people, the need to consider us all equally and that there is no one above or below.
9. They send today… because you obey!
A single person can not direct anything if others do not give him authority. In the absence of obedience, power is lost. We are invited to fight against what we consider unfair.
10. Finding what is true is not looking for what you want
The truth can be painful and not conform to our wishes and intentions, but that does not mean that it should stop being sought. The fact that things are meaningless can be difficult to conjugate, but such a possibility must be explored.
11. I scream that I do not believe in anything and that everything is absurd, but I can not doubt my cry and I need, at least, to believe in my protest
As much as things may not have a meaning, they are still there. What we elaborate in order to try to understand them and what we do about them is important.
12. If all experiences are indifferent, the experience of duty is as legitimate as any other. One can be virtuous on a whim
Elements such as duty and obligation are taken as absolute and cause us to do things that we do not want or would not do if it were up to us. If we do things, it is not necessarily because we have the duty to do them. We can do them because we want. In the same way, we do not have to behave in a certain way because we should or others consider that it is habitual or necessary.
13. I qualify as stupid who fears to enjoy
This phrase tells us that we must dare to enjoy life and what it offers us.
14. Success is easy to obtain. The difficult thing is to deserve it
Getting something does not mean that it is deserved. It happens with aspects such as power, loyalty or even love.
15. When man subjects God to a moral judgment, he kills him in his heart
Camus considered that morality should be far from religiosity, although he considered the latter as a way of trying to make sense of existence.
16. Man has two faces: he can not love without loving himself
To love others it is necessary to love oneself. The person who does not love himself to some degree can not manifest love.
17. All generosity towards the future lies in giving everything to the present
Fighting against what we consider unfair today is what will make the situation tomorrow better for those who live it.
18. In the depths of winter I finally learned that an invincible summer lives inside me
As bad as we are going through and as much as we suffer, in all of us there is something good and hope, even if it is buried, of a better future.
19. In man there are more things worthy of admiration than contempt
Despite the brutality and cruelty that the human being is capable of manifesting, inside people, there are many more positive and admirable aspects: love, loyalty, perseverance, effort, art, search for freedom and justice…
20. In politics it is the media that must justify the end
Using any means in order to achieve a certain objective is not admissible. Wanting to reach a certain result does not exempt from the guilt of the means used for it, especially when you are playing with lives.
21. Totalitarian tyranny is not built on the virtues of the totalitarian but on the faults of the democrats
The rise of totalitarian and fascist powers is not because their ideology is correct but because certain aspects of democratic procedures are not applied correctly and leave part of reality aside, causing a suffering that in some people generates reactance.
22. Stupidity always insists
There will always be people or situations that act irresponsibly and without taking into account the repercussions of their actions on themselves or on others, repeating even mistakes of the past.
23. The only way to deal with this world without freedom is to become so absolutely free that your mere existence is an act of rebellion
Even if we are forbidden, we must live no matter how much they judge us. Living free can mean being persecuted, but it is necessary if we want to live and not just survive.
24. People are never convinced of your reasons, your sincerity, your seriousness or your sufferings, unless you die
Camus states in this sentence that the intentions and motivations of each person will be continually challenged by others.
25. What is man? But there, high because we know it. Man is that force that always ends up expelling tyrants and gods
The human being as a seeker of freedom and rights, always ends up rebelling against abuses and coercion.
26. The need to be correct, the sign of a vulgar mind
For Camus, we must be free. Being politically correct and striving to be politically correct limits one’s freedom.
27. Charm is the way to get the “yes” answer without having asked a clear question
In this sentence the author expresses that the ability to seduce and persuade supposes the ability to establish a profound influence on others.
28. No man is hypocritical in his pleasures
We can be hypocrites in our acts, thoughts or intentions. But when it comes to feeling pleasure and joy we are sincere and free.
29. For most men, war is the end of loneliness. For me it is the infinite loneliness
In the war, sides are established, sides in which those who ascribe may feel part of something. However, deep down, it means making the other person not meaningful, ceasing to be human to be an enemy regardless of what that person meant beforehand. In war we are alone.
30. A man without ethics is a wild beast released into this world
The fact that we are free does not imply doing what we want when we want. It is necessary to act on the basis of ethics and take into account that our actions affect others.
31. Innocent is the one who does not need to explain himself
Who is not guilty has nothing to justify for as much as others pretend that he does.
32. The great Carthage led three wars: after the first it still had power; after the second it was still habitable; after the third one is no longer on the map
War destroys us and weakens us progressively.
33. A free press can be good or bad, but without freedom the press will never be anything other than bad
The author indicates the need for freedom so that the truth can be sought without being coerced or censored by political or economic interests. Censorship implies that the professional can not reflect his perception completely.
34. Man is the only creature that refuses to be what it is
For the author, the human being is the only being that represses himself and is repressed in his instincts and in the expression of his nature.
35. To create is to live twice
Creativity is a way of expressing freedom and rebelling against the absurdity of the world. In addition to expressing ourselves, it gives life to what we carry within a palpable form for the rest of the world.
36. One can not stand on the side of those who make history, but at the service of those who suffer it
There is a lot of talk about the great figures of history and when people talk about a specific event, people tend to think about these figures. However, those who really suffered the consequencesand lived and participated in the change are often unknown and forgotten people.
We do not remember the child who died of hunger due to the approval of a certain policy, the doctor who saved the lives of hundreds of war wounded, the civilians bombarded by something in which they had no power of decision or the private soldier who died defending the ideas of others.
37. If man fails to reconcile justice and freedom, he fails in everything
Freedom and justice must go hand in hand to set up a society that can be free as a whole, not just for some subjects.
38. You can not gain experience by doing experiments. You can not create the experience. You must experience it
The experience is only acquired through experience. We must live if we want to have experience. This phrase drives us to live and not just to theorize about what things suppose.
39. We will rarely trust someone who is better than us
The perception of inequality usually generates distrust if the other is seen as superior.
40. Duty is what you expect from others
Duty is nothing more than someone’s expectation of what he expects others to do.
41. Autumn is a second spring, where each leaf is a flower
This phrase has two readings: on the one hand, it can refer to the process of maturing with age, while on the other it can refer to the period of peace prior to a conflict.
42. In a man’s attachment to his life there is something stronger than all the miseries of the world
The desire to live is one of the most powerful forces. Living, even in the most adverse circumstances, is always worth it.
43. I have seen people act badly with a lot of morals and I check every day that honesty does not need rules
Being honest does not mean doing what the world tells us to do. We must be ethical, but not blindly follow what social moral dictates.
44. The sad have two reasons to be: they ignore and despair
For Camus sadness is due to the despair that causes ignorance.
45. Who needs pity, but those who have no compassion for anyone!
Generally those who show no mercy are those who have lived through concrete situations that have made them perceive reality in a certain way.
46. Men cry because things are not as they should be
The human being tries to give meaning to a reality that does not have it and that they can not control or understand, which generates their frustration.
47. What is a rebel? A man who says no
Being a rebel means refusing to accept what is stipulated and not acting according to the preset if it goes against our principles.
48. If the world were clear, art would not exist
Camus sees art as a form of rebellion against absurdity, of expressing our anxiety and our anguish at its indeterminacy.
49. All the misfortunes of men come from not speaking clearly
The existence of conflicts is due to the lack of understanding among people, caused mainly by the use of ambiguity and the non-expression of what is really thought.
50. There is nothing more despicable than respect based on fear
Authority based on fear is not authentic authority, but its forcing.
51. Illness is the most fearsome tyrant
When we think of a tyrant, we usually think of a person, but other elements of life are equally frightening. As for example the disease.
52. They told me that some dead people were needed to reach a world where they would not kill themselves
Camus criticizes the idea that the end justifies the means, especially when the medium totally contradicts the end.
53. Artists think according to words and philosophers according to ideas
Art and thought focus on different aspects of the same reality.
54. For every freeman who falls, ten slaves are born and the future becomes darker a little more
The loss of people who illustrate an ideal such as freedom means that the rest of the population loses inspiration and ends up abandoning their search.
55. The moment I am no longer a writer, I will have stopped being a writer
The person who expresses himself is much more than a person who expresses himself. If only that would not be able to express anything since it would not have content.
56. Giving is meaningless only if one possesses
This phrase reflects that a person can not surrender if he is not the owner of himself, if he does not consider that he has something of his own to deliver.
57. Judging whether life is worth living or not is the fundamental answer to the sum of philosophical questions
For Camus the main philosophical problem is to know if life is worth living.
58. Everyone insists on their innocence at all costs, even if it means accusing the rest of the human race and even the sky
Most people are indulgent with themselves and do not consider themselves responsible for what happens, attributing to others everything aversive.
59. Myths have more power than reality. Revolution as myth is the definitive revolution
The idealization of a virtue, person or objective supposes a greater source of inspiration than reality, since it allows us to observe a utopia of perfection to which to aspire.
60. All modern revolutions have ended in a strengthening of state power
Most revolutions, whether successful or not, have led to power being even more powerful if it changes hands.
61. I still believe that this world does not have a superior meaning. But I know that something makes sense.
There is no purpose behind reality, although it can be organized and sometimes interpreted rationally.
62. Who could claim that an eternity of bliss can compensate for a moment of human pain?
Again, Camus expresses his belief that the end never justifies the means.
63. It is not a question of knowing whether, by pursuing justice, we will be able to preserve freedom. It is about knowing that, without freedom, we will not accomplish anything and we will lose both future justice and ancient beauty
Freedom is the basis of justice, and without it, it is not possible for the second to be established in the future or for the beauty of our past to be appreciated by limiting options.
64. Freedom is only the opportunity to be better
Camus defends the importance of freedom to develop and express itself, giving the opportunity to improve our lives and the world.
65. All passion specialists tell us: there is no eternal love if it is not opposed. There is no passion without struggle.
Achieving love and / or our dreams and goals involves striving to overcome the difficulties that arise. Nothing is free: we have to put our effort. In love, in addition, the struggle to maintain it stimulates its continuity.
66. Two men who live the same number of years the world always gives them the same number of experiences. It is up to us to be aware of them
Two people who live the same years will experience the same, although the experience may be different. Simply, each person must be aware of what they live and give it its due importance.
67. To feel your own life, your rebellion, your freedom and as much as possible, is to live as much as possible
The author pushes us to live life intensely in this phrase.
68. Happiness is the greatest of the conquests, what we do against the destiny imposed on us
The human being must struggle and fight constantly throughout life if he wants to achieve happiness. We have to fight against fate and what is imposed on us to do what we really want to do.
69. Like great works, deep feelings always declare more than they consciously say
When we speak of a deep feeling, the words we use are not usually able to express the great value we give him or the sensations that cause us. It goes beyond consciousness or rationality. And that without taking into account the possibility that we restrict their expression voluntarily.
70. Any form of contempt, if it intervenes in politics, prepares or establishes fascism
Fascism involves the imposition of a way of thinking based on the supremacy of it in relation to others, which are despised. Hate and contempt towards different ways of being or thinking is their basis.
71. Genius: the intelligence that knows its borders
The genius is not to have an intelligence above the average, but to be aware of their own limitations and act on them.
72. For an absurd spirit reason is vain and there is nothing beyond reason
The absurdity as the search for meaning for something that does not have it. An explanation is sought only rationally to reality, and even so the self knows that reason is not enough to explain something that can not be explained.
73. Friendship can become love. Love in friendship… never
For Camus, the passage from friendship to love is a path of no return. Who loves someone can not stop loving him to transform it into something of less intensity.
74. When, by profession or by vocation, one has meditated a lot on man, it happens that one experiences nostalgia for primates. These do not have thoughts of second intention
Human beings usually use ambiguity and double meanings, as well as acting and speaking with ulterior motives such as seeking benefits for oneself.
75. I have always believed that while the hopeful man in the human condition is a madman, the one who despairs of events is a coward
In this sentence the author reflects that it is better to be hopeful in an unsound way than to give in to despair.
76. I understand why the doctrines that explain everything weaken me at the same time. They free me of the weight of my own life and, nevertheless, it is necessary that I carry it alone
Attachment to a specific theory or belief allows us to establish a framework for action while making us less responsible for our actions, to have a certain sense. But this prevents us from being totally responsible for what happens with our lives and to fight with less energy to change things.
77. The attention span of man is limited and must be constantly spurred by provocation
It is necessary to stimulate the human being so that he can attend to the different aspects of reality and act, or else he stays stuck.
78. The only really serious philosophical problem is suicide
To say if life is worth living is one of the main problems that philosophy must face, being the affirmative answer for Camus.
79. I rebel, then we are
Rebellion and nonconformity with reality and its absurdity is what allows us to fight for what we believe and develop ourselves.
80. It was in Spain where my generation learned that one can be right and be defeated, that force can destroy the soul, and that sometimes courage does not get a reward
This phrase makes clear reference to the Spanish Civil War and the victory and establishment of the Francoist side in spite of the republican resistance.
81. Being king of your humors is the privilege of the most evolved animals
The management of emotions is a characteristic characteristic of animals with greater intellect and greater freedom.
82. Blessed is the heart that can bend because it will never break
Flexibility and accepting that other points of view may exist allow us to remain whole and adapt to the circumstances.
83. Sometimes I think about what historians of the future will say about us. A single sentence will be enough to define modern man: he fornicated and read newspapers
This phrase criticizes the tendency to just survive and focus on oneself without contributing anything to the world around us.
84. It is not the child’s suffering that revolts, but the fact that it is not justified
It is not the fact of suffering but the fact that this fact has no meaning which causes frustration, anger, indignation and rebellion.
85. How hard, how bitter it is to become a man
Growing up and maturing as a human being means learning and understanding different aspects of reality with all its harshness and cruelty, or the equally painful fact that we do not understand them.
86. Nobody realizes that some people spend tremendous energy simply to be normal
Many people suffer and make great efforts and sacrifices in order to fit within the concept of normality. They try to adjust, for which they cut part of their being or they make excessive efforts for this purpose. Both the people who excel and the one who does not reach what others demand.
87. An intellectual is a person whose mind looks at itself
Camus’s idea of intellectuality assumes that the person is able to observe and analyze himself successfully without needing to judge others.
88. Man needs to exalt justice to fight against injustice, and create happiness to rebel against a universe of unhappiness
The human being must fight against what he considers aversive, through the exaltation of his opposite.
89. Every time a man is chained, we are chained to him. Freedom must be for everyone or for anyone.
In this sentence, Camus expresses the need for all of us to be free, not just a few.
90. All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning
As ridiculous as it may seem, it may end up with something big that changes the world for the better.
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