160 Albert Camus Quotes on the Meaning of Life

This collection of the best Albert Camus quotes will make you reflect on your day-to-day experiences.

So if you need something that will realign your mindset towards how you perceive things in this world, then this list might just be a perfect fit!

Albert Camus is an internationally acclaimed novelist, dramatist, and essayist.

In his works of fiction, he voiced out his ideals and showed the world the incompatibilities and absurdities in our everyday existence.

Check out the full collection below.

And make sure to read these John Locke quotes and Bertrand Russell quotes.

Best Albert Camus Quotes

Albert Camus Quote - Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.

1. “Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.”

2. “When I look at my life and its secret colors, I feel like bursting into tears.”

3. “But in the end, one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.”

4. “Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?”

Albert Camus Quote - 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.

5. “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.”

6. “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”

7. “I may not have been sure about what really did interest me, but I was absolutely sure about what didn’t.”

8. “To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.”

9. “Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me, just be my friend.”

Albert Camus Quote - Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.

10. “Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.”

11. “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.”

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of Jean-Paul Sartre quotes.

12. “You know what charm is—a way of getting the answer, ‘Yes,’ without having asked any clear question.”

13. “Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.”

14. “In the midst of winter, I found there was within me, an invincible summer, and that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger—something better, pushing right back.”

Albert Camus Quote - Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.

15. “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.”

16. “Live to the point of tears.”

17. “Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.”

18. “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

19. “An intellectual? Yes, and never deny it. An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.”

Albert Camus Quote - There is no love of life without despair about life.

20. “There is no love of life without despair about life.”

Albert Camus Quotes on Life and Its Absurdities

21. “Life can be magnificent and overwhelming—that is the whole tragedy. Without beauty, love, or danger, it would almost be easy to live.”

22. “Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest—whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories—comes afterwards.”

23. “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 have lived it another. I had done this and I hadn’t done that. I hadn’t done this thing, but I had done another.”

24. “The literal meaning of life is whatever you’re doing that prevents you from killing yourself.”

Albert Camus Quote - It's common knowledge that life isn't worth living, anyhow.

25. “‘But,’ I reminded myself, ‘It’s common knowledge that life isn’t worth living, anyhow.’”

26. “I was assailed by memories of a life that wasn’t mine anymore, but one in which I’d found the simplest and most lasting joys—the smells of summer, the part of town I loved, a certain evening sky, Marie’s dresses, and the way she laughed.”

27. “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.”

28. “I would rather not have upset him, but I couldn’t see any reason to change my life.”

29. “It was previously a question of finding out whether or not life had to have a meaning to be lived. It now becomes clear, on the contrary, that it will be lived all the better if it has no meaning.”

Albert Camus Quote - Thus, I draw from the absurd three consequences which are, my revolt, my freedom, and my passion.

30. “Thus, I draw from the absurd three consequences which are, my revolt, my freedom, and my passion. By the mere activity of consciousness, I transform into a rule of life what was an invitation to death—and I refuse suicide.”

31. “On good days, if you trust life, life has to answer you.”

32. “In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.”

33. “At the heart of all beauty lies something inhuman.”

34. “When the soul suffers too much, it develops a taste for misfortune.”

Albert Camus Quote - People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.

35. “People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.”

36. “Since we’re all going to die, it’s obvious that when and how don’t matter.”

37. “Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.”

38. “It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.”

39. “What is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying.”

Albert Camus Quote - I rebel; therefore I exist.

40. “I rebel; therefore I exist.”

41. “What is a rebel? A man who says no.”

42. “Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.”

43. “The most important thing you do everyday you live is deciding not to kill yourself.”

44. “Have you no hope at all? And do you really live with the thought that when you die, you die and nothing remains?”

Albert Camus Quote - You can't create experience, you undergo it.

45. “You can’t create experience, you undergo it.”

46. “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.”

47. “Man stands face to face with the irrational. He feels within him his longing for happiness and for reason. The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.”

48. “I feel like getting married, or committing suicide, or subscribing to ‘L’Illustration’—something desperate, you know.”

49. “There are crimes of passion and crimes of logic. The boundary between them is not clearly defined.”

Albert Camus Quote - After a while you could get used to anything.

50. “After a while you could get used to anything.”

51. “We all carry within us places of exile—our crimes, our ravages. Our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to transform them in ourselves and others.”

52. “I explained to him, however, that my nature was such that my physical needs often got in the way of my feelings.”

53. “There are more things to admire in men than to despise.”

54. “Everything I know about morality and the obligations of men, I owe it to football.”

Albert Camus Quote - All I can say is that on this earth, there are pestilences and there are victims.

55. “All I can say is that on this earth, there are pestilences and there are victims; and as far as possible, one must refuse to be on the side of the pestilence.”

56. “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.”

57. “If something is going to happen to me, I want to be there.”

58. “There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always, plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.”

59. “The slave begins by demanding justice and ends by wanting to wear a crown.”

Albert Camus Quote - One plays at being immortal, and after a few weeks, one doesn't even know whether or not one can hang on till the next day.

60. “One plays at being immortal, and after a few weeks, one doesn’t even know whether or not one can hang on till the next day.”

61. “To stay or to go—it amounted to the same thing.”

62. “Start by looking for what is valid in every man.”

63. “We need the sweet pain of anticipation to tell us we are really alive.”

64. “Liberty is the right not to lie.”

Albert Camus Quote - The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.

65. “The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.”

66. “We don’t have the time to completely be ourselves. We only have the room to be happy.”

67. “Here lives a free man. Nobody serves him.”

68. “I said that the world is absurd, but I was too hasty. This world in itself is not reasonable, that is all that can be said. But what is absurd is the confrontation of this irrational and the wild longing for clarity whose call echoes in the human heart.”

69. “They hurt each other without wanting to, just because each represented to the others the cruel and demanding necessity of their lives.”

Albert Camus Quote - There is always a certain hour of the day and of the night when a man's courage is at its lowest ebb, and it was that hour only that he feared.

70. “There is always a certain hour of the day and of the night when a man’s courage is at its lowest ebb, and it was that hour only that he feared.”

71. “Alas, after a certain age, every man is responsible for his face.”

72. “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.”

Albert Camus Quotes on God, Truth, and Beliefs

73. “I would rather live my life as if there is a god and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t and die to find out there is.”

74. “Always go too far, because that’s where you’ll find the truth.”

Albert Camus Quote - I do not believe in God and I am not an atheist.

75. “I do not believe in God and I am not an atheist.”

76. “I had only a little time left and I didn’t want to waste it on God.”

77. “Believe me, religions are on the wrong track the moment they moralize and fulminate commandments. God is not needed to create guilt or to punish. Our fellow men suffice, aided by ourselves.”

78. “Do not wait for the last judgment. It comes every day.”

79. “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.”

Albert Camus Quote - Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable.

80. “Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable.”

81. “Man is always prey to his truths. Once he has admitted them, he cannot free himself from them.”

82. “Some people talk in their sleep. Lecturers talk while other people sleep.”

83. “There is scarcely any passion without struggle.”

84. “The evil that is in the world almost always comes from ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.”

Albert Camus Quote - Idleness is fatal only to the mediocre.

85. “Idleness is fatal only to the mediocre.”

86. “Where there is no hope, it is incumbent on us to invent it.”

87. “We are all special cases.”

88. “I know simply that the sky will last longer than I.”

89. “Peace is the only battle worth waging.”

Albert Camus Quote - But, you know, I feel more fellowship with the defeated than with saints. Heroism and sanctity don't really appeal to me, I imagine.

90. “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.”

91. “The need to be right—the sign of a vulgar mind.”

92. “The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.”

93. “There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night.”

94. “Don’t lies eventually lead to the truth? And don’t all my stories, true or false, tend toward the same conclusion? Don’t they all have the same meaning? So what does it matter whether they are true or false if, in both cases, they are significant of what I have been and what I am? Sometimes it is easier to see clearly into the liar than into the man who tells the truth. Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object.”

Albert Camus Quote - What's true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well.

95. “What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well. It helps men to rise above themselves.”

96. “Existence is illusory and it is eternal.”

97. “Stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves.”

98. “Beginning to think is beginning to be undermined. Society has but little connection with such beginnings. The worm is in man’s heart—that is where it must be sought. One must follow and understand this fatal game that leads from lucidity in the face of existence to flight from light.”

99. “Everything is true, and nothing is true!”

Albert Camus Quote - There is no longer a single idea explaining everything, but an infinite number of essences giving a meaning to an infinite number of objects.

100. “There is no longer a single idea explaining everything, but an infinite number of essences giving a meaning to an infinite number of objects. The world comes to a stop, but also lights up.”

101. “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.”

102. “I didn’t like having to explain to them, so I just shut up, smoked a cigarette, and looked at the sea.”

103. “Empires and churches are born under the sun of death.”

104. “I felt as though I was partly unlearning what I had never learned and yet knew so well: I mean, how to live.”

Albert Camus Quote - It is in the thick of calamity that one gets hardened to the truth. In other words, to silence.

105. “It is in the thick of calamity that one gets hardened to the truth. In other words, to silence.”

106. “But when a man has had only four hours of sleep, he isn’t sentimental. He sees things as they are: that is to say, he sees them in the garish light of justice; hideous, witless justice.”

107. “Every revolutionary ends up either by becoming an oppressor or a heretic.”

108. “How hard it must be to live only with what one knows and what one remembers, cut off from what one hopes for!”

109. “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

Albert Camus Quote - In such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.

110. “In such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.”

111. “Thinking is learning all over again how to see, directing one’s consciousness, making every image a privileged place.”

Albert Camus Quotes on Art, Love, and Passions

112. “Nothing in life is worth turning your back on, if you love it.”

113. “I used to advertise my loyalty and I don’t believe there is a single person I loved that I didn’t eventually betray.”

114. “When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him.”

Albert Camus Quote - And he knew, also, what the old man was thinking as his tears flowed, and he, Rieux, thought it too.

115. “And he knew, also, what the old man was thinking as his tears flowed, and he, Rieux, thought it too—that a loveless world is a dead world, and always there comes an hour when one is weary of prisons, of one’s work, and of devotion to duty, and all one craves for is a loved face, the warmth and wonder of a loving heart.”

116. “Why should it be essential to love rarely in order to love much?”

117. “I have always loved everything about you—even what I didn’t understand. And I have always known that, at heart, I would have you no different. But most people don’t know how to love. Nothing is enough for them.”

118. “They must have their dreams. It’s the only thing they do well. Dreaming. They dream up obligations—new ones every day. They long for undiscovered countries, fresh demands, another call. While some of us are left with the knowledge that love can never wait. A shared bed, a hand in yours, that’s the only thing that matters. The worst thing of all is fear—the fear of being alone.”

119. “For there is merely bad luck in not being loved; there is misfortune in not loving.”

Albert Camus Quote - If those whom we begin to love could know us as we were before meeting them, they could perceive what they have made of us.

120. “If those whom we begin to love could know us as we were before meeting them, they could perceive what they have made of us.”

121. “We are living in the era of premeditation and the perfect crime. Our criminals are no longer helpless children who could plead love as their excuse. On the contrary, they are adults and they have the perfect alibi: philosophy, which can be used for any purpose—even for transforming murderers into judges.”

122. “I’ve seen enough of people who die for an idea. I don’t believe in heroism; I know it’s easy and I’ve learned it can be murderous. What interests me is living and dying for what one loves.”

123. “Those who love, friends and lovers, know that love is not only a blinding flash, but also a long and painful struggle in the darkness for the realization of definitive recognition and reconciliation.”

124. “Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning, but steal some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world, but you need to breathe, and you need to be.”

Albert Camus Quote - How unbearable, for women, is the tenderness which a man can give them without love.

125. “How unbearable, for women, is the tenderness which a man can give them without love. For men, how bittersweet this is.”

126. “No doubt our love was still there, but quite simply it was unusable, heavy to carry, inert inside of us, sterile as crime or condemnation. It was no longer anything except a patience with no future and a stubborn wait.”

127. “There are means that cannot be excused, and I would like to be able to love my country and still love justice. I don’t want just any greatness for it, particularly a greatness born of blood and falsehood. I want to keep it alive by keeping justice alive.”

128. “True debauchery is liberating because it creates no obligations. In it you possess only yourself, hence it remains the favorite pastime of the great lovers of their own person.”

129. “That’s the way man is, cher monsieur. He has two faces—he can’t love without self-love.”

Albert Camus Quote - The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.

130. “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”

131. “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 their skepticism.”

132. “Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk.”

133. “I know that man is capable of great deeds. But if he isn’t capable of great emotion, well, he leaves me cold.”

134. “The truth is that everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits.”

Albert Camus Quote - 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.

135. “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.”

136. “And never have I felt so deeply at one and the same time so detached from myself and so present in the world.”

137. “Friendship is less simple. It is long and hard to obtain but when one has it there’s no getting rid of it; one simply has to cope with it.”

138. “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.”

139. “To create is to live twice.”

Albert Camus Quote - From the moment absurdity is recognized, it becomes a passion.

140. “From the moment absurdity is recognized, it becomes a passion—the most harrowing of all. But whether or not one can live with one’s passions, whether or not one can accept their law, which is to burn the heart they simultaneously exalt—that is the whole question.”

141. “It is not your paintings I like, it is your painting.”

142. “You have so much inside you, and the noblest happiness of all. Don’t just wait for a man to come along. That’s the mistake so many women make. Find your happiness in yourself.”

143. “True generosity toward the future consists in giving everything to the present.”

144. “Man cannot do without beauty, and this is what our era pretends to want to disregard.”

Albert Camus Quote - Creating is living doubly.

145. “Creating is living doubly. The groping, anxious quest of a Proust, his meticulous collecting of flowers, of wallpapers, and of anxieties, signifies nothing else.”

146. “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.”

147. “I’m going to tell you something: thoughts are never honest. Emotions are.”

148. “To think the way you do, you have to be a man who lives either in tremendous despair, or in tremendous hope. On both, perhaps.”

149. “She was waiting, but she didn’t know what for. She was aware only of her solitude, and of the penetrating cold, and of a greater weight in the region of her heart.”

Albert Camus Quote - How could sincerity be a condition of friendship?

150. “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.”

151. “Sometimes, carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement.”

152. “The tragedy is not that we are alone, but that we cannot be. At times I would give anything in the world to no longer be connected by anything to this universe of men.”

153. “Like great works, deep feelings always mean more than they are conscious of saying.”

154. “You will never be able to experience everything. So please, do poetic justice to your soul and simply experience yourself.”

Albert Camus Quote - I was very fond of you, but now I'm so, so tired.

155. “I was very fond of you, but now I’m so, so tired. I’m not happy to go, but one needn’t be happy to make another start.”

156. “The human heart has a tiresome tendency to label as fate only what crushes it. But happiness likewise, in its way, is without reason, since it is inevitable.”

157. “Those who prefer their principles over their happiness, they refuse to be happy outside the conditions they seem to have attached to their happiness.”

158. “Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.”

159. “Without memories, without hope, they lived for the moment only.”

Albert Camus Quote - Abstract evidence retreats before the poetry of forms and colors.

160. “Abstract evidence retreats before the poetry of forms and colors.”

Which of These Albert Camus Quotes Gave Light to Your Own Worldview?

Albert Camus was dedicated to finding the meaning in life. He constantly questioned whether or not life is worth living—if human existence simply is futile and pointless. And through his works, we learn that there may be times when we can’t find our purpose. But acknowledging that that is only part of our existence gives us the freedom to live life as it is and to make the most out of our everyday.

Which Albert Camus quote was your favorite? What do you think about his philosophy of “Absurdism”? Talk to us in the comments section below.


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Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

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