The desire for possession is insatiable, to such a point that it can survive even love itself. To love, therefore, is to sterilize the person one loves.
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.
Topics: Work, Futility, Weight, Labor
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.
Topics: Crime, Criminals
Can one be a saint if God does not exist? That is the only concrete problem I know of today.
As usual I finish the day before the sea, sumptuous this evening beneath the moon, which writes Arab symbols with phosphorescent streaks on the slow swells. There is no end to the sky and the waters. How well they accompany sadness!
The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
On certain mornings, as we turn a corner,
an exquisite dew falls on our heart
and then vanishes.
But the freshness lingers, and this, always,
is what the heart needs.
The earth must have risen in just such a light
the morning the world was born.
If Christianity is pessimistic as to man, it is optimistic as to human destiny. Well, I can say that, pessimistic as to human destiny, I am optimistic as to man.
We call first truths those we discover after all the others.
More and more, when faced with the world of men, the only reaction is one of individualism. Man alone is an end unto himself. Everything one tries to do for the common good ends in failure.
Martyrs must choose between being forgotten, mocked or made use of. As for being understood, never.
Perhaps we cannot prevent this world from being a world in which children are tortured. But we can reduce the number of tortured children. And if you don’t help us, who else in the world can help us do this?
Liberty is dangerous.
The rebel can never find peace. He knows what is good and, despite himself, does evil. The value which supports him is never given to him once and for all—he must fight to uphold it, unceasingly.
Topics: Revolution, Peace
The principles which men give to themselves end by overwhelming their noblest intentions.
A free press can of course be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom it will never be anything but bad… . Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better, whereas enslavement is a certainty of the worse.
Topics: Freedom, Opportunity, Uncertainty, Media, Doubt
In our wildest aberrations we dream of an equilibrium we have left behind and which we naively expect to find at the end of our errors. Childish presumption which justifies the fact that child-nations, inheriting our follies, are now directing our history.
Topics: History, Historians
The real passion of the twentieth century is servitude.
Topics: Twentieth Century
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.
Our civilization survives in the complacency of cowardly or malignant minds—a sacrifice to the vanity of aging adolescents. In 1953, excess is always a comfort, and sometimes a career.
Topics: Twentieth Century
Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Jean-Paul Sartre French Philosopher
- Simone de Beauvoir French Philosopher
- Henri Bergson French Philosopher
- Voltaire French Philosopher, Author
- Denis Diderot French Philosopher, Writer
- Octave Mirbeau French Author
- Michel Foucault French Philosopher
- Andre Gide French Novelist
- Michel de Montaigne French Essayist
- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon French Philosopher