Friday, January 19, 2007

Who in the heck is Albert Camus?

Have you ever heard of the saying "Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend."? It is entirely cheesy and has been embroidered on pillows, printed on plaques and written in greeting cards from here to the moon....but it is ultimately a true statement and was given to us by Albert Camus. However cliche this all may seem on the surface....the story gets better and better the deeper you look...

Albert Camus was an Algerian-French writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He was by no means a perfect man---he had his indiscretions, but he also gave us some of the most inspiring and truthful statements that I have ever read. Being the collector of quotations that I am, Albert Camus's quotations rank probably right at the top for me... My favorites include:
  • Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
  • Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day.
  • In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
  • What is a rebel? A person who says no.
  • But in the end, one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.
  • We are all special cases.
  • Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
  • But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?
  • Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without asking a clear question.
  • 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.
  • It is normal to give away a little of one's life in order not to lose it all.
  • Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.
  • Everyone would like to behave like a pagan, with everyone else behaving like a Christian.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ah, my dear, for anyone who is alone, without God and without a master, the weight of days is dreadful.
  • All great deeds and great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant's revolving door.
  • You are forgiven for your happiness and your success only if you generously consent to share them.

I could go on and on and list dozens more fantastic quotes from Camus....the ones I have listed though have a special place in my heart. The ones I highlighted are my all-time favorites. I think I like quotations so much because words have such incredible power. The intense emotion and knowledge that can be shared through a few words is mind-boggling. When I am going through a difficult time in my life, I pull out my book of quotations and randomly start flipping pages. After about 15-20 minutes, I always feel a bit more ducky.....


Kathy said...

"Everyone would like to behave like a pagan, with everyone else behaving like a Christian."

Oh so true! It's so hard to be a Christian sometimes.
Ocasionally there are times when you know exactly what is right... but it's a salad and the wrong thing is chocolate cake. If only I wanted the right thing. Then I ask...Lord, can you change my taste buds please? Now? Right now! Thank you.

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