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.
Human relationships always help us to carry on because they always presuppose further developments, a future - and also because we live as if our only task was precisely to have relationships with other people.
What made me run away was doubtless not so much the fear of settling down, but of settling down permanently in something ugly.
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.
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.
Mostly, I could tell, I made him feel uncomfortable. He didn't understand me, and he was sort of holding it against me. I felt the urge to reassure him that I was like everybody else, just like everybody else. But really there wasn't much point, and I gave up the idea out of laziness.
Thus I progressed on the surface of life, in the realm of words as it were, never in reality. All those books barely read, those friends barely loved, those cities barely visited, those women barely possessed! I went through the gestures out of boredom or absent-mindedness. Then came human beings; they wanted to cling, but there was nothing to cling to, and that was unfortunate--for them. As for me, I forgot. I never remembered anything but myself.
I feel like getting married, or committing suicide, or subscribing to L'Illustration. Something desperate, you know.
An intellectual? Yes. And never deny it. An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself. I like this, because I am happy to be both halves, the watcher and the watched. Can they be brought together? This is a practical question. We must get down to it. I despise intelligence really means: I cannot bear my doubts.
It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe.To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I'd been happy, and that I was happy still. For all to be accomplished, for me to feel less lonely, all that remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration.
Mother used to say that however miserable one is, there’s always something to be thankful for. And each morning, when the sky brightened and light began to flood my cell, I agreed with her.
I knew a man who gave twenty years of his life to a scatterbrained woman, sacrificing everything to her, his friendships, his work, the very respectability of his life and who one evening recognized that he had never loved her. He had been bored, thats 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.
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 the have the perfect alibi: philosophy, which can be used for any purpose - even for transforming murderers into judges.
Believe me there is no such thing as great suffering, great regret, great memory....everything is forgotten, even a great love. That's what's sad about life, and also what's wonderful about it. There is only a way of looking at things, a way that comes to you every once in a while. That's why it's good to have had love in your life after all, to have had an unhappy passion- it gives you an alibi for the vague despairs we all suffer from.
No code of ethics and no effort are justifiable a priori in the face of the cruel mathematics that command our condition.
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.
Do you believe in God, doctor?No - but what does that really mean? I'm fumbling in the dark, struggling to make something out. But I've long ceased finding that original.
A novel is never anything but a philosophy expressed in images. And in a good novel the philosophy has disappeared into the images.
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.
Some, often without knowing it, suffered from being deprived of the company of friends and from their inability to get in touch with them through the usual channels of friendship, letters, trains, and boats. Others, fewer these, Tarrou may have been one of them, had desired reunion with something they couldn't have defined, but which seemed to them the only desirable thing on earth. For want of a better name, they sometimes called it peace.
What I believe to be true I must therefore preserve. What seems to me so obvious, even against me, I must support.
God is not needed to create guilt or to punish. Our fellow men suffice, aided by ourselves. You were speaking of the Last Judgement. Allow me to laugh respectfully. I shall wait for it resolutely, for I have known what is worse, the judgement of men. For them, no extenuating circumstances; even the good intention is ascribed to crime. Have you at least heard of the spitting cell, which a nation recently thought up to prove itself the greatest on earth? A walled-up box in which the prisoner can stand without moving. The solid door that locks him in the cement shell stops at chin level. Hence only his face is visible, and every passing jailer spits copiously on it. The prisoner, wedged into his cell, cannot wipe his face, though he is allowed, it is true. to close his eyes. Well, that, mon cher, is a human invention. They didn't need God for that little masterpiece.