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To work and create “for nothing,” to sculpture in clay, to know one’s creation has no future, to see one’s work destroyed in a day while being aware that fundamentally this has no more importance than building for centuries—this is the difficult wisdom that absurd thought sanctions. Performing these two tasks simultaneously, negating on the one hand and magnifying on the other, it the way open to the absurd creator. He must give the void its colors.
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More from Albert Camus
All that remains is a fate whose outcome alone is fatal. Outside of that single fatality of death, everything, joy or happiness, is liberty. A world remains of which man is the sole master. What bound him was the illusion of another world. The outcome of his thought, ceasing to be renunciatory, flowers in images. It frolics—in myths, to be sure, but myths with no other depth than that of human suffering and, like it, inexhaustible. Not the divine fable that amuses and blinds, but the terrestrial face, gesture, and drama in which are summed up a difficult wisdom and an ephemeral passion.
The Ephemeral Creation
God is not needed to create guilt or to punish. Our fellow men suffice, aided by ourselves.
Some cry: “Love me!” Others: “Don’t love me!” But a certain genus, the worst and most unhappy, cries: “Don’t love me and be faithful to me!”
I sometimes think of what future historians will say of us. 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.
Of who and of what indeed can I say: “I know that!” This heart within me I can feel, and I judge that it exists. This world I can touch, and likewise judge that it exists. There ends all my knowledge and the rest is construction.
The Myth of Sisyphus: And Other Essays