by Albert Camus
The Fall Power Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Justin O'Brien's translation.
On my own admission, I could live happily only on condition that all the individuals on earth, or the greatest possible number, were turned toward me, eternally in suspense, devoid of independent life and ready to answer my call at any moment, doomed in short to sterility until the day I should deign to favor them. In short, for me to live happily it was essential for the creatures I chose not to live at all. They must receive their life, sporadically, only at my bidding (3.30).
If this is his rubric, it’s unlikely that Jean-Baptiste will ever be happy. And yet, at the end of his confession, he declares that he is happy. Make that "happy unto death!" Has he achieved his desire to have control over everyone?
Prophets and quacks multiply; they hasten to get there with a good law or a flawless organization before the world is deserted. Fortunately, I arrived! I am the end and the beginning; I announce the law. In short, I am a judge-penitent (5.22).
When Jean-Baptiste speaks of his Copernicus-like reasoning as "the solution," it's likely he means not only for himself, but for the entire world.
Of what did it consist? Well, I was something like a group leader or the secretary of a cell. The others, in any case, and even those who lacked faith, got into the habit of obeying me (6.7).
Jean-Baptiste derives power as a religious figure – the pope – and yet even those who lack faith obey him. This echoes his earlier description of himself before his "fall," when he believed in some higher order, yet had no religion.