Albert Camus (7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960) was a French pied-noir author, journalist, and philosopher. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. He wrote in his essay "The Rebel" that his whole life was devoted to opposing the philosophy of nihilism while still delving deeply into individual freedom. Although often cited as a proponent of existentialism, the philosophy with which Camus was associated during his own lifetime, he rejected this particular label. In an interview in 1945, Camus rejected any ideological associations: "No, I am not an existentialist. Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked..."
In 1949, Camus founded the Group for International Liaisons within the Revolutionary Union Movement after his split with Garry Davis' movement Citizens of the World, which the surrealist André Breton was also a member.The formation of this group, according to Camus, was to "denounce two ideologies found in both the USSR and the USA" regarding their idolatry of technology.
Camus was awarded the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature "for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times". He was the second-youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, after Rudyard Kipling, and the first African-born writer to receive the award. He is the shortest-lived of any Nobel literature laureate to date, having died in an automobile accident just over two years after receiving the award.
In Holland, everyone is an expert in painting and in tulips.
What would become of the world if the condemned started to confide their heartaches to the executioners?
The main thing is that everything become simple, easy enough for a child to understand; that each act be ordered, that good and evil be decided arbitrarily, thus clearly.
Old women even forget how to love their sons. The heart gets worn out, Monsieur.
I have no friends, I only have accomplices now. On the other hand, my accomplices are more numerous than my friends: they are the human race.
Crime too is a form of solitude, even if one thousand get together to commit it. And it is right for me to die alone, after having lived and killed alone.
Truth, like light, is blinding. Lies, on the other hand, are a beautiful dusk, which enhances the value of each object.
[Liberty] is a chore ... and a long-distance race, quite solitary, quite exhausting.
Ah! my friend, for whomever is alone, without a god and without a master, the weight of time is terrible. One must then choose a master, God being out of style.
[Paris] is dirty. It has pigeons and black yards. The people have white skin.
But the world itself has no reason, and I can say so, I who have experienced it all, from the creation to the destruction.
At any street corner the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face.
I realized people would soon forget me once I was dead. I couldn't even say that this was hard to stomach; really, there's no idea to which one doesn't get acclimatized in time.
Ah! I have lost my freedom, and hell is now beginning.
Manhattan. Sometimes from beyond the skyscrapers, across the hundreds of thousands of high walls, the cry of a tugboat finds you in your insomnia in the middle of the night, and you remember that this desert of iron and cement is an island.
Once one's up against it, the precise manner of one's death has obviously small importance.
... habit starts at the second crime. At the first one, something is ending.
To live is to hurt others, and through others, to hurt oneself. Cruel earth! How can we manage not to touch anything? To find what ultimate exile?
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.
Virtue cannot separate itself from reality without becoming a principle of evil.
It is easier to kill what we do not know.
Children will still die unjustly even in a perfect society. Even by his greatest effort, man can only propose to diminish, arithmetically, the sufferings of the world.
Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.
Our civilization survives in the complacency of cowardly or malignant minds—a sacrifice to the vanity of ageing adolescents.... In 1953, excess is always a comfort, and sometimes a career.
An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself. I am happy to be both halves, the watcher and the watched.
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.
[Love] is the type of disease that spares neither the intelligent nor the idiotic.
As a remedy to life in society I would suggest the big city. Nowadays, it is the only desert within our means.
The only conception of freedom I can have is that of the prisoner or the individual in the midst of the State. The only one I know is freedom of thought and action.
How hard, how bitter it is to become a man!
Men are never convinced of your reasons, of your sincerity, of the seriousness of your sufferings, except by your death. So long as you are alive, your case is doubtful; you have a right only to your skepticism.
Human relationships always help us to carry on because they always presuppose further developments, a future—and also because we live as if our only task was precisely to have relationships with other people.
Lies are never innocent. And yours makes beings and things important. That is what I cannot forgive you.
There will be no lasting peace either in the heart of individuals or in social customs until death is outlawed.
To insure the adoration of a theorem for any length of time, faith is not enough, a police force is needed as well.
All men have a sweetness in their life. That is what helps them go on. It is towards that they turn when they feel too worn out.
From Paul to Stalin, the popes who have chosen Caesar have prepared the way for Caesars who quickly learn to despise popes.
Accept life, take it as it is? Stupid. The means of doing otherwise? Far from our having to take it, it is life that possesses us and on occasion shuts our mouths.
Even when one sits in the prisoner's dock, it is interesting to hear talk about oneself.
Modern conquerors can kill, but do not seem to be able to create. Artists know how to create but cannot really kill. Murderers are only very exceptionally found among artists.
One leader, one people, signifies one master and millions of slaves.
It would be unjust, and moreover Utopian, for Shakespeare to direct the shoemakers' union. But it would be equally disastrous for the shoemakers' union to ignore Shakespeare.
When she laughed, I wanted her again. A while later, she asked me if I loved her. I answered that it did not mean anything, but that it seemed to me that I did not. She seemed sad.
The society based on production is only productive, not creative.
Germany collapsed as a result of having engaged in a struggle for empire with the concepts of provincial politics.
The myth of unlimited production brings war in its train as inevitably as clouds announce a storm.
A trial cannot be conducted by announcing the general culpability of a civilization. Only the actual deeds which, at least, stank in the nostrils of the entire world were brought to judgment.
I thought to myself that it was still another Sunday gone by, that Mother was now buried, that I was going to return to work and that, after all, nothing had changed.
Happiness is generous. It does not subsist on destruction.
To be famous, in fact, one has only to kill one's landlady.