Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sisyphus and Regular Life

I think Camus is right, I can easily see the character Sisyphus as happy. Rolling a Boulder up a hill may seem meaningless to us, however we need to keep in mind that that is our subjective view of the situation. From Sisyphus’ point of view the act may very well have meaning. Some people try to become great lawyers or doctors; however these professions have different value for everyone. An Engineer might not see a philosopher as someone with a meaningful life, however the philosopher will probably have a different opinion. Sisyphus might just like to roll boulders up a hill, who we to tell him that his job is meaningless. Sometimes people are forced to do mundane tasks in life. Some people have jobs that consist of filing papers for a company. The company will always have new papers to file, so no matter what this person does they have they will never be finished.

Some people might say that Sisyphus was forced to this task; however the employee has to do something in order to make a living. They have their own obligations, to fulfill. However we would be wrong to say that the person has, without a doubt, an unhappy and meaningless life. They can still enjoy their life even if it is filled with these tasks.
Some people might say that because Sisyphus will never accomplish his goal, that he is living a horrible and meaningless life, however same can be said about our day to day activities. A philosopher for example will spend their entire life trying to figure out meaning, and find out the answers to all of life’s questions. Despite their effort however I doubt they will ever come up with a concrete answer to all of their questions and problems. Their life will be similar to that of Sisyphus. A person trying to become a great lawyer will face a similar problem, at the end of their life they will never reach the top of their hill, In the end they will always fail, because in the end they will always die, and up until that point there will always be new challenge. There is no time in life where they will be able to look back on the things that they did and say, that they are done. There will always be goals and problems they will have to face. We are all like Sisyphus. Each foot up the Hill Sisyphus tried to roll a rock up is like the goals and problems we set in our regular lives. The only thing we can do is to try to enjoy our own life and the decisions we make.


  1. I think that we can achieve a goal, work towards it and achieve while still living. We can look back on it, get all the satisfaction in the world and continue living. The only thing that leads to a realization of absurdity is that everything is temporary. Nothing will last forever and the achievements we have can only be enjoyed for as long as we live. However, Camus's insight is easily adaptable. Once you accept the fact that nothing is permanent, not even your life, then you can continue living for as long as possible in order to enjoy working for a goal, that you may achieve or for a goal that you may never achieve, but attain happiness in the act of trying.

  2. Alin, I agree with you--realizing that nothing is permanent is one of the most important things in life because once you do, you can make meaning, and like you said work for a goal and make your life worth living.

  3. There is one large difference between our everyday situation and that of Sisyphus: Sisyphus isn't living towards death. Death is a reassurance to us that no matter what happens in our lives, one thing is for sure, we will eventually die. This is a relief because it allows us to put everything into perspective. However, Sisyphus does not have this luxury. But like Jared said, happiness is subjective. Sisyphus's freedom to turn a curse into a blessing by choosing to push the boulder up the hill, not for eternity, but for as long as the Gods will let him, indeed reverses the curse into a blessing.

  4. I never said it makes life worthless, just objectively to everyone else and in the grand scheme it is sort of worthless. It only has the value that we are able to give it. So yes Sisyphus accepting the curse would be a way to turn it into a blessing


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