A single sentence will suffice for modern man. He fornicated and read the papers. After that vigorous definition, the subject will be, if I may say so, exhausted.
The truth is that every intelligent man, as you know, dreams of being a gangster and of ruling over society by force alone. As it is not so easy as the detective novels might lead one to believe, one generally relies on politics and joins the cruelest party.What does it matter, after all, if by humiliating one's mind one succeeds in dominating every one? I discovered in myself sweet dreams of oppression.
They knew now that if there is one thing one can always yearn for, and sometimes attain, it is human love.
If something is going to happen to me, I want to be there.
Believe me, for certain men at least, not taking what one doesn't desire is the hardest thing in the world.
Today we are always as ready to judge as we are to fornicate.
What's true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well. It helps men to rise above themselves.
In any case, the one man paved the way for the deeds of the other, in a sense foreshadowed and even legitimized by them.
But it's not easy, because friendship is absent-minded or at least powerless. It cannot achieve what it wants. Perhaps, after all, it doesn't want strongly enough. Perhaps we do not love life enough.
We are all exceptional cases. We all want to appeal against something! Each of us insists on being innocent at all cost, even if he has to accuse the whole human race and heaven itself.
And, on a wide view, I could see that it makes little difference whether one dies at the age of thirty or threescore and ten-since, in either case, other men and women will continue living, the world will go on as before. Also, whether I died now or forty years hence, this business of dying had to be got through, inevitably. Still, somehow this line of thought wasn't as consoling as it should have been; the idea of all those years of life in hand was a galling reminder!
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.
But too many people now climb onto the cross merely to be seen from a greater distance, even if they have to trample somewhat on the one who has been there so long.
We're going forward, but nothing changes.
At that time, I often thought that if I had had to live in the trunk of a dead tree, with nothing to do but look up at the sky flowing overhead, little by little I would have gotten used to it.
Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can't be sure.
Empires and churches are born under the sun of death.
When one has no character, one HAS to apply a method. Here it did wonders incontrovertibly, and I am living on the site of one of the greatest crimes in human history.
Big tears of frustration and exhaustion were streaming down his cheeks. But because of all the wrinkles, they weren't dripping off. They spread out and ran together again, leaving a watery film over his ruined face.
On my way out I was even going to shake his hand, but I remembered just in time that I'd killed a man.
False judges are held up in the world's admiration and I alone know the true ones.
Am well. Thinking of you always. Love
I explained to him, however, that my nature was such that my physical needs often got in the way of my feelings.
She was wearing a pair of my pajamas with the sleeves rolled up. When she laughed I wanted her again. A minute later she asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn't mean anything but that I didn't think so. She looked sad.
He had been bored, that's all, bored like most people. Hence he had made himself out of whole cloth a life full of complications and drama. Something must happen - and that explains most human commitments. Something must happen, even loveless slavery, even war or death. Hurray then for funerals!
And indeed it could be said that once the faintest stirring of hope became possible, the dominion of plague was ended.
I felt as I hadn't felt for ages. I had a foolish desire to burst into tears. for the first time I'd realized how all these people loathed me.
Since we're all going to die, it's obvious that when and how don't matter.
How could sincerity be a condition of friendship? A liking for the truth at all costs is a passion that spares nothing and that nothing can withstand.
But again and again there comes a time in history when the man who dares to say that two and two make four is punished with death. The schoolteacher is well aware of this. And the question is not one of knowing what punishment or reward attends the making of this calculation. The question is one of knowing whether two and two do make four
I had been right I was still right I was always right. I had lived my life one way and I could just as well lived it another. I had done this and I hadn t done that. I hadn t done this thing and I had done another. And so?
So the thing that bothered me most was that the condemned man had to hope the machine would work the first time.
I have a very old and very faithful attachment for dogs. I like them because they always forgive.
But what does it mean, the plague? It's life, that's all.
I had only a little time left and I didn't want to waste it on God.
Some other memories of the funeral have stuck in my mind. The old boy's face, for instance, when he caught up with us for the last time, just outside the village. His eyes were streaming with tears, of exhaustion or distress, or both together. But because of the wrinkles they couldn't flow down. They spread out, crisscrossed, and formed a smooth gloss on the old, worn face.
I like these people swarming on the sidewalks, wedged into a little space of houses and canals, hemmed in by fogs, cold lands, and the sea streaming like a wet wash. I like them, for they are double. They are here and elsewhere.
But, you know, I feel more fellowship with the defeated than with saints. Heroism and sanctity don't really appeal to me, I imagine. What interests me is being a man.
I have no idea what's awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing.
There is not love of life without despair about life.
I longed to be forgotten in order to be able to complain to myself.
For who would dare to assert that eternal happiness can compensate for a single moment's human suffering
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.
There was the same dazzling red glare. The sea gasped for air with each shallow, stifled wave that broke on the sand. ...with every blade of light that flashed off the sand, from a bleached shell or a peice of broken glass, my jaws tightened. I walked for a long time.
I used to advertise my loyalty and I don't believe there is a single person I loved that I didn't eventually betray.
I know that man is capable of great deeds. But if he isn't capable of great emotion, well, he leaves me cold.
I may not have been sure about what really did interest me, but I was absolutely sure about what didn't.
What really counted was the possibility of escape, a leap of freedom, out of the implacable ritual, a wild run for it that would give whatever chance for hope there was. Of course, hope meant being cut down on some street corner, as you ran like mad, by a random bullet. But when I really thought it through, nothing was going to allow me such a luxury. Everything was against it; I would just be caught up in the machinery again.
My dear friend, we mustn't give them even the slightest excuse to judge us! Otherwise, we end up in pieces.
In this respect, our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words, they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences. A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they have taken no precautions.
More Albert Camus Quotations (Based on Topics)
Man - World - Life - Death & Dying - Liberty & Freedom - People - God - Mind - Happiness - Love - Rebellion - Thought & Thinking - Art - Work & Career - Reasoning - Fate & Destiny - Facts - Society & Civilization - Truth - View All Albert Camus Quotations
More Albert Camus Quotations (By Book Titles)
- The Fall
- The Plague
- The Stranger
Lao Tzu - John Stuart Mill - John Locke - Immanuel Kant - Friedrich Nietzsche - David Hume - Xenophanes - Philo - Friedrich von Schelling - Epicurus