A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.
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.
Against eternal injustice, man must assert justice, and to protest against the universe of grief, he must create happiness.
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.
As a remedy to life in society I would suggest the big city. Nowadays, it is the only desert within our means.
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.
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.
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.
Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
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 man needs slaves like he needs clean air. To rule is to breathe, is it not? And even the most disenfranchised get to breathe. The lowest on the social scale have their spouses or their children.
I am not made for politics because I am incapable of wanting or accepting the death of the adversary.
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 the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
It is a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money.
It is necessary to fall in love… if only to provide an alibi for all the random despair you are going to feel anyway.
Martyrs, my friend, have to choose between being forgotten, mocked or used. As for being understood – never.
Men are convinced of your arguments, your sincerity, and the seriousness of your efforts only by your death.
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.
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 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 foot-hold. It is a fact that we are suffering from nihilism.
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 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 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.
To correct a natural indifference I was placed half-way 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.
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.
We always deceive ourselves twice about the people we love – first to their advantage, then to their disadvantage.
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.
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.
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.