David Navarro López

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Are you suffering a Sisyphean punishment?

Are you suffering a Sisyphean punishment?

Sisyphus was the son of King Aeolus of Thessaly and Enarete. He was the founder and first king of Ephyra (supposedly the original name of Corinth). See more here

As a punishment, King Sisyphus was made to endlessly roll a huge boulder up a steep hill.

The maddening nature of the punishment was reserved for King Sisyphus due to his hubristic belief that his cleverness surpassed that of Zeus himself.

Zeus accordingly displayed his own cleverness by enchanting the boulder into rolling away from King Sisyphus before he reached the top, which ended up consigning Sisyphus to an eternity of useless efforts and unending frustration.

Thus it came to pass that pointless or interminable activities are sometimes described as Sisyphean.

According to Albert Camus work “The myth of Sisiphus”, it is not the world that is absurd, nor human thought: the absurd arises when the human need to understand meets the unreasonableness of the world, when "my appetite for the absolute and for unity" meets "the impossibility of reducing this world to a rational and reasonable principle."

In our day to day life, we try to act corresponding to our own “logic”, what we think we should do.

Mothers give all their efforts to raise their children.

Soldiers would give their last drop of blood for their country.

Only to find out later that their efforts were useless.

(Here you can put your own experience at work, school, family, whatever)

Trying to get your targets, only to see that when you are just about to achieve them, they vanish before your eyes, can be very frustrating.

Then is when one faces the absolute absurd, when we try to understand why.

Immediately after, one starts to question if all these efforts were useless due to a wrong setting of goals, and start thinking if our criteria when setting these goals was blurred by unknown issues beyond our knowledge or understanding.

The same principles that pushed us to do things the way we did, seem to be useless and wrong when we face the results. And there is no way to know if we are right or wrong in advance.

This could lead us to a feeling of frustration due to the absurdity of the world.

Individual goals and paths are not always intended to make sense to all.

But as long as it makes sense to yourself, it should be enough.

As Camus concludes, “To embrace the absurd implies embracing all that the unreasonable world has to offer. Without a meaning in life, there is no scale of values. "What counts is not the best living but the most living."

So it could be reasonable to say, facing that no absolute and ultimate truth is available, that setting our goals accordingly to a high scale of values seem to be the only way to give sense to our lives, no matter what the rest of the world says, instead of trying to understand the why and how.

Image Credit http://photofranciscocaizapanta.blogspot.de/

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