In the quote, “Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal,” Albert Camus is emphasizing the effort that many individuals put into fitting societal norms and expectations, often at the expense of their own identity and peace of mind.
The concept of “normality” is subjective and largely dictated by societal expectations and conventions. It can range from behavior and appearance to lifestyle and belief systems. To align oneself with these established norms, some people may suppress their natural tendencies, unique personalities, or unconventional interests. This conformity requires a considerable amount of energy and can result in stress, dissatisfaction, or even a loss of self-identity.
Camus, with his existentialist leanings, emphasizes the importance of authenticity and personal freedom. This quote can be seen as a critique of the societal pressures that force individuals to conform and abandon their authentic selves. The quote encourages recognition and empathy towards those who struggle with these pressures, highlighting the invisible emotional labor that goes into maintaining a facade of normality.
Ultimately, Camus seems to be suggesting that it might be more fulfilling to live authentically, even if it means deviating from what is conventionally considered “normal.”