I think it's so wonderfully and beautifully put, but can't find the source, and am curious as to whether or not it's a genuine quotation.

  • 2
    "The one source that I have found for the quote is in Barry Schwartz’s book, The Paradox of Choice. He attributes it to Camus, but as I said before, I have failed to find the actual quote in any of Camus’ works, including the one which is most often implicated as it’s source, The Stranger. Notably, Schwartz does not offer a source for the quote, either... It does encapsulate much of Camus’ philosophy (the question of suicide is, after all, the foundation of his thought), but in the end, it almost certainly was not Camus who wrote it." Camus blog.
    – Conifold
    Nov 19 '19 at 1:40
  • Did you check Camus' book A Happy Death? -- goodreads.com/quotes/… Nov 19 '19 at 2:59
  • P.S. I've never read that book. After reading The Stranger, I don't think I want to read any of Camus' other books. However, his philosophy intrigues me. He's one of my faves. Nov 19 '19 at 3:00

The quote is not Camus'. But, apparently, misquoting Camus, or even fabricating quotes is something of an enterprise. Gaetani even has papaer on it The noble art of misquoting Camus. They include "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", "Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend"; "Life is a sum of all your choices. So, what are you doing today?", "By your actions or your silence, you, too, enter the fray", and so on. Perhaps his style invites imitation.

This one comes from a fake letter of unclear origins, ironically signed "falsely yours":

"My dear, I don’t know what to do today, help me decide. Should I cut myself open and pour my heart on these pages? Or should I sit here and do nothing, nobody’s asking anything of me after all. Should I jump off the cliff that has my heart beating so and develop my wings on the way down? Or should I step back from the edge, and let the others deal with this thing called courage. Should I stare back at the existential abyss that haunts me so and try desperately to grab from it a sense of self? Or should I keep walking half-asleep, only half-looking at it every now and then in times in which I can’t help doing anything but? Should I kill myself or have a cup of coffee? Falsely yours, Albert Camus’."

The quote spread over the internet from The Paradox of Choice by an American psychologist Barry Schwartz, and Al Gini's Why It's Hard To Be Good. Neither names any sources. A poster on fuckyeahcamus blog, who did extensive searches on it, including The Stranger, where it also is not, muses "As we know and is exemplified through the proliferation of quotes misattributed to minds like Gandhi or Einstein (“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree…”), the Internet loves to put words into the mouths of well-known intellectuals."

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