Our class discussion Tuesday and last Thursday got me thinking about the importance of thought and it’s connections to your actions. For Sisyphus, his actions were a revolt against the absurd, and he was happy in his decision to remain rolling the bolder up the mountain to see if fall again. Sisyphus could have been angry with the world or revolted in another way, yet he sustained pleasure in the idea of revolting by doing the monotonous task.
Throughout this class, we have talked so much about our perception of the world shaping our actions or how we feel about our situations, yet I can’t help but think isn’t there a choice in deciding how we feel. We all have the freedom to walk around upset, angry, or mad at the world, but isn’t it more important to have the freedom to chose how we feel. I know some mornings the last thing I want to do is smile, interact, and overcome my exact feelings, yet when I make that decision to continue to do it even though I don’t want to my perception changes. I’m not saying people have to cover their true feelings, but I do think it is important to look at our situations and reassess how we perceive them and how they control our emotions. The philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote in his book The Conquest of Happiness, "Happiness is not, except in very rare cases, something that drops into the mouth like a ripe fruit... Happiness must be, for most men and women, an achievement rather than a gift of the gods, and in this achievement, effort, both inward and outward, must play a great part." Here, Russell is saying that happiness is a choice. It is not something that comes naturally or can found through certain things. It is a conscious decision that we each have to make whether the situation is good or bad.
Although my eyes have been opened to the positive aspects of existentialism, there is still negative ideals that none of us like to face. Merleau-Ponty points out that although we may think we are free, we are never completely free. For Sartre, we try not to act in “bad faith” yet we continue to act in bad faith. I guess what I am getting at is how one can look at these perceptions of life which do parallel our existence and overcome the angst. Where is the happiness? How can it be achieved? I don’t have any great ideas, but I think it is through the acceptance of the now and the appreciation of the life at hand we find happiness.