by Albert Camus
The Fall Justice and Judgment Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Justin O'Brien's translation.
People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves. What do you expect? The idea that comes most naturally to man, as if from his very nature, is the idea of his innocence (4.10).
Jean-Baptiste says that men judge in order to not be judged themselves – but the very basis of his profession is to judge others and himself; one enables the other.
In order to forestall the laughter, I dreamed of hurling myself into the general derision. In short, it was still a question of dodging judgment. I wanted to put the laughers on my side, or at least to put myself on their side (4.23).
It seems that, to Jean-Baptiste, laughter represents judgment by other men. There is, then, an element of absurdity to his life that he finds shameful. Others judge him, find him ridiculous, and laugh at him – and Jean-Baptiste goes to great lengths to avoid this assessment.
In any case, the very word "justice" gave me strange fits of rage. I continued, of necessity, to use it in my speeches to the court. But I took my revenge by publicly inveighing against the humanitarian spirit (4.23).
One possibility is that what angers Jean-Baptiste so much about "justice" is the hypocrisy built into the system. Judges, guilty themselves, condemn others and call it justice. Lawyers speak of innocence without any comprehension of what the word means. Where’s the justice in that?