Some Monday inspiration about how to find meaning in life. Sisyphus did it, and neither you nor I are pushing boulders up hills—or are we?
“The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus
A common interpretation of Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus is that Sisyphus puts on a happy face so as not to be crushed by his task’s absurdity. But I think that’s wrong.
Camus makes it clear (“The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.”) that Sisyphus is happy because of, not in spite of, his task. By that reading Sisyphus manages a bit of magic—he ceases to interpret his life work as meaningless and instead embraces it fully.
Sisyphus finds his meaning by taking responsibility, by shouldering the burden of his unique boulder, no matter its absurdity. And that’s exactly how you or I can do the same.
Featured image, titled Avaricious and Prodigal, is from Gustave Doré’s (1832-1883) illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy.