Quotes By The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt

“Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.”


“Le seul moyen d'affronter un monde sans liberté est de devenir si absolument libre qu'on fasse de sa propre existence un acte de révolte. ”


“The final conclusion of the absurdist protest is, in fact, the rejection of suicide and persistence in that hopeless encounter between human questioning and the silence of the universe.”


“The spirit of rebellion can only exist in a society where a theoretical equality conceals great factual inequalities. The problem of rebellion, therefore, has no meaning except within our own Western society.”


“There are crimes of passion and crimes of logic. The boundary between them is not clearly defined”


“Actual freedom has not increased in proportion to man's awareness of it.”


“Therefore the first progressive step for a mind overwhelmed by the strangeness of things is to
realize that this feeling of strangeness is shared with all men and that human reality, in its entirety, suffers
from the distance which separates it from the rest of the universe. The malady experienced by a single
man becomes a mass plague. In our daily trials rebellion plays the same role as does the "cogito" in the
realm of thought: it is the first piece of evidence. But this evidence lures the individual from his solitude.
It founds its first value on the whole human race. I rebel—therefore we exist.”


“Human rebellion ends in metaphysical revolution. It progresses from appearances to acts, from the dandy to the revolutionary.”


“The future is the only transcendental value for men without God.”


“The Byronic
hero, incapable of love, or capable only of an impossible love, suffers endlessly. He is solitary, languid,
his condition exhausts him. If he wants to feel alive, it must be in the terrible exaltation of a brief and
destructive action. To love someone whom one will never see again is to give a cry of exultation as one
perishes in the flames of passion. One lives only in and for the moment, in order to achieve "the brief and
vivid union of a tempestuous heart united to the tempest" (lermontov). The threat of mortality which
hangs over us makes everything abortive. Only the cry of anguish can bring us to life; exaltation takes the
place of truth. To this extent the apocalypse becomes an absolute value in which everything is
confounded—love and death, conscience and culpability. In a chaotic universe no other life exists but that
of the abyss where, according to Alfred Le Poittevin, human beings come "trembling with rage and
exulting in
their crimes" to curse the Creator.”


“They did not know; nor did they know that the negation of everything is in itself a form of servitude and
that real freedom is an inner submission to a value which defies history and its successes.”


“The future is the only kind of property that the masters willingly concede to the slaves.”


“… man has an idea of a better world than this. But better does not mean different, it means unified… Religion or crime, every human endeavor in fact, finally obeys this unreasonable desire and claims to give life a form it does not have.”


“It is impossible to give a clear account of the world, but art can teach us to reproduce it-just as the world reproduces itself in the course of its eternal gyrations. The primordial sea indefatigably repeats the same words and casts up the same astonished beings on the same sea-shore.”


“Metaphysical rebellion is the movement by which man protests against his condition and against the
whole of creation. It is metaphysical because it contests the ends of man and of creation. The slave
protests against the condition in which he finds himself within his state of slavery; the metaphysical rebel
protests against the condition in which he finds himself as a man. The rebel slave affirms that there is
something in him that will not tolerate the manner in which his master treats him; the metaphysical rebel
declares that he is frustrated by the universe. For both of them, it is not only a question of pure and simple
negation. In both cases, in fact, we find a value judgment in the name of which the rebel refuses to
approve the condition in which he finds himself.”


“Become so very free that your whole existence is an act of rebellion.”


“Socialism is nihilistic, in the henceforth precise sense that Nietzsche confers on the word. A nihilist is not one who believes in nothing, but one who does not believe in what exists.”


“To remain silent is to give the impression that one has no opinions, that one wants nothing, and in certain cases it really amounts to wanting nothing.”


“The romantic hero is also "fatal" because, to the extent that he increases in power and genius, the power of evil increases in him. Every manifestation of power, every excess, is thus covered by this "It is so." That the artist, particularly the poet, should be demoniac is a very ancient idea, which is formulated provocatively in the work of the romantics. At this period there is even an imperialism of evil, whose aim is to annex everything, even the most orthodox geniuses. "What made Milton write with constraint," Blake observes, "when he spoke of angels and of God, and with audacity when he spoke of demons and of hell, is that he was a real poet and on the side of the demons, without knowing it." The poet, the genius, man himself in his most exalted image, therefore cry out simultaneously with Satan: "So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear, farewell remorse. . . . Evil, be thou my good." It is the cry of outraged innocence.”