125+ Albert Camus Quotes: Words of Wisdom from the Iconic French Philosopher
Albert Camus’ quotes are often thought-provoking and profound. Albert Camus was a French philosopher, author, and journalist who was born in 1913 and died in 1960. He is known for his existentialist beliefs and focus on the human condition.
Camus is most famous for his novel “The Stranger” and his work “The Myth of Sisyphus.” He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957 for his body of work. Some of his most popular quotes are showcased below.
118 Most Memorable Albert Camus Quotes
These are some of the most memorable and famous quotes by Albert Camus:
- A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.
- A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession.
- A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Ah, mon cher, for anyone who is alone, without God and without a master, the weight of days is dreadful.
- Alas, after a certain age every man is responsible for his face.
- 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.
- All modern revolutions have ended in a reinforcement of the power of the State.
- All that I know most surely about morality and obligations I owe to football.
- An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.
- As a remedy to life in society I would suggest the big city. Nowadays, it is the only desert within our means.
- 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.
- Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
- 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.
- Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.
- 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.
- Conscious of not being able to separate myself from my time, I have decided to become part of it.
- Culture: the cry of men in face of their destiny.
- Don’t wait for the last judgment it takes place every day.
- Each generation doubtless feels called upon to reform the world. Mine knows that it will not reform it, but its task is perhaps even greater. It consists in preventing the world from destroying itself.
- Every artist preserves deep within him a single source from which, throughout his lifetime, he draws what he is, and what he says. When the source dries up, the work withers and crumbles.
- Every great work makes the human face more admirable and richer, and that is its whole secret.
- Every man, and for stronger reasons, every artist, wants to be recognized. So do I.
- Every revolutionary ends up either by becoming an oppressor or a heretic.
- Every time somebody speaks of my honesty, there is someone who quivers inside me.
- 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.
- Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.
- He who despairs of the human condition is a coward, but he who has hope for it is a fool.
- How hard, how bitter it is to become a man!
- I am not made for politics because I am incapable of wanting or accepting the death of the adversary.
- I grew up with the sea, and poverty for me was sumptuous; then I lost the sea and found all luxuries gray and poverty unbearable.
- I have never been able to renounce the light, the pleasure of being, and the freedom in which I grew up.
- I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice.
- I was born poor and without religion, under a happy sky, feeling harmony, not hostility, in nature. I began not by feeling torn, but in plenitude.
- I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live as if there isn’t and to die to find out that there is.
- In order to exist just once in the world, it is necessary never again to exist.
- In order to exist, man must rebel, but rebellion must respect the limits that it discovers in itself limits where minds meet, and in meeting, begin to exist.
- In order to speak about all and to all, one has to speak of what all know and of the reality common to us all. The sea, rains, necessity, desire, the struggle against death… these are things that unite us all.
- In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.
- In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
- Integrity has no need of rules.
- It is a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money.
- It is normal to give away a little of one’s life in order not to lose it all.
- Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.
- Lying is not only saying what isn’t true. It is also, in fact especially, saying more than is true and, in the case of the human heart, saying more than one feels. We all do it, every day, to make life simpler.
- Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.
- Man wants to live, but it is useless to hope that this desire will dictate all his actions.
- Men are convinced of your arguments, your sincerity, and the seriousness of your efforts only by your death.
- Men are never really willing to die except for the sake of freedom: therefore they do not believe in dying completely.
- Men must live and create. Live to the point of tears.
- 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.
- No cause justifies the deaths of innocent people.
- No matter what cause one defends, it will suffer permanent disgrace if one resorts to blind attacks on crowds of innocent people.
- Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
- 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.
- Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.
- One leader, one people, signifies one master and millions of slaves.
- Only a philosophy of eternity, in the world today, could justify nonviolence.
- Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.
- Real nobility is based on scorn, courage, and profound indifference.
- Retaliation is related to nature and instinct, not to law. Law, by definition, cannot obey the same rules as nature.
- Some people talk in their sleep. Lecturers talk while other people sleep.
- Stupidity has a knack of getting its way.
- 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.
- The day when I am no more than a writer I shall cease to be a writer.
- 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.
- 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.
- The modern mind is in complete disarray. Knowledge has stretched itself to the point where neither the world nor our intelligence can find any foothold. It is a fact that we are suffering from nihilism.
- The myth of unlimited production brings war in its train as inevitably as clouds announce a storm.
- The need to be right is the sign of a vulgar mind.
- The only real progress lies in learning to be wrong all alone.
- The only really committed artist is he who, without refusing to take part in the combat, at least refuses to join the regular armies and remains a freelance.
- The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
- The real passion of the twentieth century is servitude.
- The role of the intellectual cannot be to excuse the violence of one side and condemn that of the other.
- The society based on production is only productive, not creative.
- The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.
- 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.
- There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.
- There is in me an anarchy and frightful disorder. Creating makes me die a thousand deaths, because it means making order, and my entire being rebels against order. But without it I would die, scattered to the winds.
- There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.
- 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.
- There will be no lasting peace either in the heart of individuals or in social customs until death is outlawed.
- Those who lack the courage will always find a philosophy to justify it.
- Those who weep for the happy periods which they encounter in history acknowledge what they want; not the alleviation but the silencing of misery.
- Those who write clearly have readers, those who write obscurely have commentators.
- 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 noone in his right mind will believe this today.
- To be famous, in fact, one has only to kill one’s landlady.
- To be happy we must not be too concerned with others.
- To correct a natural indifference I was placed halfway 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.
- To cut short the question of the law of retaliation, we must note that even in its primitive form it can operate only between two individuals of whom one is absolutely innocent, and the other absolutely guilty. The victim, to be sure, is innocent. But can the society that is supposed to represent the victim lay claim to innocence?
- To govern means to pillage, as everyone knows.
- To insure the adoration of a theorem for any length of time, faith is not enough, a police force is needed as well.
- To know oneself, one should assert oneself.
- Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.
- 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.
- Truth is mysterious, elusive, always to be conquered. Liberty is dangerous, as hard to live with as it is elating. We must march toward these two goals, painfully but resolutely, certain in advance of our failings on so long a road.
- Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object.
- Violence is both unavoidable and unjustifiable.
- Virtue cannot separate itself from reality without becoming a principle of evil.
- We are all special cases.
- We call first truths those we discover after all the others.
- We continue to shape our personality all our life. If we knew ourselves perfectly, we should die.
- We rarely confide in those who are better than we are.
- We turn toward God only to obtain the impossible.
- 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.
- What is a rebel? A man who says no: but whose refusal does not imply a renunciation.
- What the world requires of the Christians is that they should continue to be Christians.
- When you have really exhausted an experience you always reverence and love it.
- Why should it be essential to love rarely in order to love much?
- 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.
- Without freedom, no art; art lives only on the restraints it imposes on itself, and dies of all others.
- You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.
- You have to be very rich or very poor to live without a trade.
10 ‘The Stranger’ Albert Camus Quotes
Here are some quotes from one of Albert Camus’ most significant works, ‘The Stranger’:
- I may not have been sure about what really did interest me, but I was absolutely sure about what didn’t.
- Since we’re all going to die, it’s obvious that when and how don’t matter.
- I looked up at the mass of signs and stars in the night sky and laid myself open for the first time to the benign indifference of the world.
- If something is going to happen to me, I want to be there.
- Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can’t be sure.
- After awhile you could get used to anything.
- It is better to burn than to disappear.
- I’ve never really had much of an imagination. But still I would try to picture the exact moment when the beating of my heart would no longer be going on inside my head.
- One always has exaggerated ideas about what one doesn’t know.
- I felt the urge to reassure him that I was like everybody else, just like everybody else.
8 Albert Camus Quotes on Love
Here are some poignant Albert Camus quotes on love:
- I know of only one duty, and that is to love.
- It is necessary to fall in love… if only to provide an alibi for all the random despair you are going to feel anyway.
- Man is an idea, and a precious small idea once he turns his back on love.
- To love, therefore, is to sterilize the person one loves.
- The desire for possession is insatiable, to such a point that it can survive even love itself.
- There is no love of life without despair of life.
- To abandon oneself to principles is really to die and to die for an impossible love which is the contrary of love.
- We always deceive ourselves twice about the people we love first to their advantage, then to their disadvantage.
5 Albert Camus Quotes on Life
Check out these profound Albert Camus quotes on life:
- Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.
- Working conditions for me have always been those of the monastic life: solitude and frugality. Except for frugality, they are contrary to my nature, so much so that work is a violence I do to myself.
- 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.
- But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?
- 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.
3 Happiness Albert Camus Quotes
Here are a few quotes on happiness by Albert Camus:
- Your successes and happiness are forgiven you only if you generously consent to share them.
- Heroism is accessible. Happiness is more difficult.
- Against eternal injustice, man must assert justice, and to protest against the universe of grief, he must create happiness.
7 ‘The Fall’ Albert Camus Quotes
Here are some quotes from Albert Camus’ one of the most critically acclaimed book ‘The Fall’:
- You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question.
- I used to advertise my loyalty and I don’t believe there is a single person I loved that I didn’t eventually betray.
- People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.
- I love life – that’s my real weakness. I love it so much that I am incapable of imagining what is not life.
- I like people who dream or talk to themselves interminably; I like them, for they are double. They are here and elsewhere.
- But the heart has its own memory and I have forgotten nothing.
- Of course, true love is exceptional – two or three times a century, more or less. The rest of the time there is vanity or boredom.
8 Albert Camus The Rebel Quotes
Check out these profound quotes from Albert Camus’ book length essay, ‘The Rebel’:
- Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.
- If we believe in nothing, if nothing has any meaning and if we can affirm no values whatsoever, then everything is possible and nothing has any importance.
- Rebellion cannot exist without a strange form of love.
- Beauty, no doubt, does not make revolutions. But a day will come when revolutions will have need of beauty.
- Become so very free that your whole existence is an act of rebellion.
- The final conclusion of the absurdist protest is, in fact, the rejection of suicide and persistence in that hopeless encounter between human questioning and the silence of the universe.
- With rebellion, awareness is born.
- There are crimes of passion and crimes of logic. The boundary between them is not clearly defined.
5 Albert Camus Quotes on Absurdity
Here are a few Albert Camus quotes on absurdity:
- At any street corner the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face.
- Basically, at the very bottom of life, which seduces us all, there is only absurdity, and more absurdity. And maybe that’s what gives us our joy for living, because the only thing that can defeat absurdity is lucidity.
- The absurd depends as much on man as on the world. For the moment, it is all that links them together.
- The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
- I draw from the Absurd three consequences: my revolt, my liberty, my passion.
3 Albert Camus Friendship Quotes
Below are a few friendship quotes by Albert Camus:
- Martyrs, my friend, have to choose between being forgotten, mocked or used. As for being understood never.
- How can sincerity be a condition of friendship? A taste for truth at any cost is a passion which spares nothing.
- 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.
8 Albert Camus Quotes the Myth of Sisyphus
Here are some quotes from Albert Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus,” one of the best literary and philosophical works of all time:
- I see many people die because they judge that life is not worth living. I see others paradoxically getting killed for the ideas or illusions that give them a reason for living (what is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying). I therefore conclude that the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions.
- We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking.
- This heart within me I can feel, and I judge that it exists. This world I can touch, and I likewise judge that it exists. There ends all my knowledge, and the rest is construction. (…) Forever I shall be a stranger to myself.
- As in all religions, man is freed of the weight of his own life.
- There is so much stubborn hope in a human heart.
- If it were sufficient to love, things would be too easy. The more one loves the stronger the absurd grows.
- Although “The Myth of Sisyphus” poses mortal problems, it sums itself up for me as a lucid invitation to live and to create, in the very midst of the desert.
- Likewise the mind that aims to understand reality can consider itself satisfied only by reducing it to terms of thought.
Who Is Albert Camus?
Albert Camus was a French writer, philosopher, and journalist. He was born on November 7, 1913 in Mondovi, Algeria, and died on January 4, 1960 in a car accident in Villeblevin, France.
He is best known for his novel “The Stranger,” which explores the theme of existentialism, and for his philosophy, which emphasizes the freedom and responsibility of the individual. Camus’s work is considered some of the most important and influential of the 20th century, and it continues to be widely read and studied today.
He was also an active member of the French Resistance during World War II, working as a journalist for an underground newspaper and helping refugees and Jewish people escape from Nazi-occupied France.
When Was Albert Camus Born?
Albert Camus was born on November 7, 1913.
What Was Albert Camus’ Occupation?
Albert Camus was a writer, philosopher, and journalist. He wrote novels, plays, essays, and works of philosophy. He also worked as a journalist for various newspapers and magazines.
What Was Albert Camus’ Most Famous Work?
Albert Camus’s most famous work is probably “The Stranger,” a novel that explores the theme of existentialism.
What Was Albert Camus’ Philosophy?
Albert Camus’s philosophy is often referred to as “existentialism,” which emphasizes the freedom and responsibility of the individual. He also explored themes of freedom, morality, and the human condition.
What Was Albert Camus’ Relationship Like With Jean-paul Sartre?
Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre were friends and colleagues during the early years of their careers, but they later had a falling out due to their differing views on existentialism and politics.
Was Albert Camus a Religious Person?
Albert Camus was an atheist and rejected traditional religious beliefs. He believed that individuals must create their own meaning in life.
What Was Albert Camus’s Political Views?
Albert Camus was a humanist and believed in the values of freedom, democracy, and social justice. He was also a strong critic of totalitarianism and fascism.
Was Albert Camus Married?
Albert Camus was married twice. His first marriage was to Simone Hié, a painter and writer, and his second marriage was to Francine Faure, a pianist.
Did Albert Camus Have Any Children?
Albert Camus had two children, Catherine and Jean.
Was Albert Camus Ever Imprisoned or Exiled?
In March 1940, Camus, who was unemployed at the time, had gone into exile in France, just as the Nazi invasion was about to take place.
What Were Some of Albert Camus’ Other Famous Works?
Some of Albert Camus’s other famous works include “The Plague,” “The Myth of Sisyphus,” “The Rebel,” and “The Fall.”
What Was the Reception of Albert Camus’s Work During His Lifetime?
During his lifetime, Albert Camus’s work was well-received by critics and the public. He was awarded several literary prizes and was considered one of the most important thinkers of his time.
What Is the Existentialism That Albert Camus Is Known For?
Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes the freedom and responsibility of the individual. Camus’s existentialism focuses on the human condition and the search for meaning in a meaningless world.
How Did Albert Camus Die?
Camus died in a car accident on January 4, 1960. He was a passenger in a car that collided with a tree in Villeblevin, France. He died instantly from his injuries.