Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.

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More from Albert Camus

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.

We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking. In that race which daily hastens us towards death, the body maintains its irreparable lead.

Likewise, a man’s sole creation is strengthened in its successive and multiple aspects: his works. One after another they complement one another, correct or overtake one another, contradict one another, too. If something brings creation to an end, it is not the victorious and illusory cry of the blinded artist: “I have said everything,” but the death of the creator which closes his experiences and the book of his genius.

…since the order of the world is shaped by death, mightn’t it be better for God if we refuse to believe in Him and struggle with all out might against death, without raising our eyes toward the heaven where he sits in silence?

But perhaps the great work of art has less importance in itself than in the ordeal it demands of a man and the opportunity it provides him of overcoming his phantoms and approaching a little closer to his naked reality.

The Ephemeral Creation