We Are All Sisyphus

I arrived in a new city and had to start my game efforts from scratch. I went to clubs, cafes, malls, and the town square to meet women. I commited at least one hour a day to this task. Within three weeks, I had sex with two women, but I do not greatly enjoy their company, so I threw them back into the sea. Finally, after another week of labor, I made a catch that I wanted to keep. We had a handful of nice dates, but then it ended, partly due to reasons out of my control. I was still fatigued from my month of strenuous effort, but I had no choice but to run back onto the field. After a short break, I labored again for three weeks, approaching every day, until I succeeded on a girl who in the end was not worth keeping. Then I made a better conquest on a girl I wanted to keep. Finally I could relax! But only a short time, because soon I will have to start over from nothing, approaching for days or weeks until finding what I want.

I sat in front of my computer to write an article. I stared at the blinking cursor on the screen, waiting for my mind to arrange words in a way that people can understand and enjoy. After one hour, two hours, maybe three hours of work, I constructed something I wanted my name attached to. I published it and it was received well. I was commended for my ideas, and then a couple weeks later, the article was forgotten, just another entry on the internet blog heap, and I must start over again with a new idea, a new article, and hope that it’s received just as well.

Sisyphus was condemned by the gods to roll a large boulder up a hill, only to have it fall back down again, a futile task he had to repeat for all eternity. It has been said that this is the worst punishment that can be given to man, but we all have been given the exact same punishment. Sisyphus is a reflection of human existence, the neverending labor we must expend, the repetition of our lives.

I see [Sisyphus] going back down with a heavy yet measured step toward the torment of which he will never know the end. That hour like a breathing-space which returns as surely as his suffering, that is the hour of consciousness. At each of those moments when he leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate. He is stronger than his rock.

Sisyphus is indeed the happiest man in the world because he has purpose. He suffers no malaise or existential crisis, and every time he pushes his rock to the top of the mountain I imagine he experiences the purest form of happiness. After this moment, he walks back down the mountain, mentally preparing for another run, and then repeats the same task until experiencing his whirl of happiness yet again. If you want to find a happy man, find a man pushing a rock, one that will eternally roll back down the hill, his enjoyment spaced out in just far enough doses so that he does not numb himself to the pleasure. The pitiful man is one who lacks a rock, who sits at the bottom of the hill, idle, bored, empty, watching Sisyphus’ labor, wondering what he can do with his eternity of time.

At that subtle moment when man glances backward over his life, Sisyphus returning toward his rock, in that silent pivoting he contemplates that series of unrelated actions which becomes his fate, created by him, combined under his memory’s eye and soon sealed by his death.

The two, three, or four weeks I spend looking for my ideal girl is me pushing up the rock, and then—success! I am at the top of the mountain and I enjoy the break that comes from the fruit of my labor, but sure enough this break will end. She will leave me or I will leave her, and I must trudge back down the hill to the resting point of my rock, and begin the exact same process, again and again, until my mortality asserts itself. I do not mind my rock, because I look at men who don’t have one, and pity them for the emptiness that they can never seem to fill.

The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

I can’t say I enjoy pushing a big rock up the mountain, but I’ve done it so many times, and I’ve become so used to the reward of making it to the top, that I don’t know how I could live without it. In a world void of spirituality, void of real meaning, the best thing we can do is find a mountain and a gigantic rock. The brief moment of happiness we experience at the top of the mountain is more than enough to make our lives worth living.

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