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The Myth of Sisyphus

by Emily (follow)
life (68)      happiness (53)      freedom (13)     

"Blessed Sysiphus" by Tim Snell

According to ancient myth, Sisyphus angered the Gods, and is punished in an unusual and interesting way. He is condemned to spend eternity rolling a stone up a hill, only to have it roll down again. His task is physically strenuous, void of mental challenge, and completely futile.

The myth of Sisyphus (say: “sissy-fuss”), is used to examine our ideas of what makes a worthwhile life. Since he is not accomplishing anything, is his life worth living? Is there any way he can improve his situation? Can he ever be truly happy? Who is this man, inside, and can he ever express his true self?

Poet Robert Garrioch imagines that Sisyphus is partly to blame for his lack of freedom, because he gives up his ability to use his mind. In Garrioch’s poem, Sisyphus is like a modern-day tradesman or office worker, mindlessly slaving away day after day without ever really paying attention or connecting to the world – just living from one payday to the next.

Others take pity on Sisyphus, saying that he cannot ever be mentally free while his body is bound to the same pointless task.

What do you think? What makes a life worth living?

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