This world, I thought to myself, is such a fantastic miracle that it’s hard to know whether one ought to laugh or cry. Perhaps one should do both, but it isn’t easy to do both at the same time.

Jostein Gaarder, “The Solitaire Mystery”

It was the same with everything- with the whole world, I thought to myself. As long as we are children, we have the ability to experience things around us- but then we grow used to the world. To grow up is to get drunk on sensual experience.

Jostein Gaarder, “The Solitaire Mystery”

It is quite extraordinary the kind of thoughts and ideas we have, but our very deepest thoughts jump out only when we are asleep.

Jostein Gaarder, “The Solitaire Mystery”

If Nature had been comfortable, mankind would never have invented architecture, and I prefer houses to open air. In a house we all feel of the proper proportions. Everything is subordinated to us, fashioned for our use and pleasure. Egotism itself, which is so necessary to a proper sense of human dignity, is entirely the result of indoor life. Out of doors one becomes abstract and impersonal. One’s individuality absolutely leaves one.

Oscar Wilde, “The Decay of Lying”

If our brain was simple enough for us to understand it, we would be so stupid we wouldn’t be able to understand it after all.

Jostein Gaarder, “The Solitaire Mystery”

I enjoyed my own nature to the fullest and we all know that therein lies happiness, although, to soothe one another mutually, we occasionally pretend to condemn such joys as selfishness…
I lived consequently without any other continuity than that, from day to day, of I, I, I….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…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.

Albert Camus, “The Fall”

The life, joys, pains, all the events and incidents of a creator’s life were nothing compared to his adventures with language. An artistic achievement is always more than the mere chronicle of a writer’s life. Often it is also his existence, remoulded and transcended by his use of language.

Olivier Todd, Introduction from Albert Camus’, “The Fall.”

I love life - that’s my real weakness. I love it so much that I am incapable of imagining what is not life. Such avidity has something plebeian about it, don’t you think? Aristocracy cannot imagine itself without a little distance surrounding itself and its own life. One dies if necessary, one breaks rather than bending. But I bend, because I continue to love myself.

Albert Camus, “The Fall”

(this rather resonates with a line from a bright eyes song that goes, and never trust a heart that’s so bent it can’t break.) 

What can one do, what should we do with our soul if God does not exist? And indeed if He doesn’t, does anything go? If God disappears from our view of life, on what do we build this moral code? Does any code hold? ……Talking about God does not imply that one is with or near God….Paradise and Hell, to Camus, are here on this Earth.

Olivier Todd, Introduction from Albert Camus’, "The Fall"

The act of love, for instance, is a confession. Selfishness screams aloud, vanity shows off, or else true generosity reveals itself.

Albert Camus, “The Fall”

Beauty (should you choose to use the word that way) is deep, not superficial; hidden, sometimes, rather than obvious; consoling, not troubling; indestructible, as in art, rather than ephemeral, as in nature. Beauty, the stipulatively uplifting kind, perdures.

Susan Sontag,’An Argument about Beauty’, “At the Same Time (Essays and Speeches) 

I had to recover my memory. By gradual degrees I saw more clearly, I learned a little of what I knew. Until then I had always been aided by an extraordinary ability to forget. I used to forget everything beginning with my resolutions. Fundamentally, nothing mattered. War, suicide, love, poverty got my attention, of course, when circumstances forced me, but a courteous, superficial attention. At times, I would pretend to get excited about some cause foreign to my daily life. But basically, I didn’t take part in it, except, of course, when my freedom was thwarted. How can I express it? Everything slid off - yes, just rolled off me.

Albert Camus, “The Fall”

How we adore our friends, he says, once they’re gone! Why is it only then we are so nice about our loved ones? Perfectly simple; we no longer have any obligation to them.

Olivier Todd, Introduction from Albert Camus’, “The Fall”

And of course you are mad, if by mad we mean one who possesses a mind that questions and rejects every civilized norm.

Stephen Fry, “Revenge”

Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “Americus, Book I”