‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ – Albert Camus


(image taken from; https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/43/Punishment_sisyph.jpg)

As of late, I have become increasingly interested in the essay ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ by Albert Camus. The essay depicts the plight of the mythological figure Sisyphus, who was condemned to push a boulder up a mountain, only to watch it roll back down again, and to continue the cycle once more. Here, Camus likens Sisyphus’ plight to the light of modern man, and that which is outlined in the philosophy of absurdism; Man’s desire to find meaning in the universe, and being unable to. Throughout my body of work as of late, I have been increasingly interested in the notion of ‘transcendence’ in relation to the human desire to find purpose within our society and wider universe. therefore, this concept of the ‘absurd’ is of incredible interest to me. the work that I am creating at the present time is focused on notions of failure, and the idea that although I try to mimic, or even transmute phenomena that relate to transcendence, and wider spiritual and scientific understanding of continuation and the cycle of life, death and rebirth. There is always a sense of failure, in relation to never fully achieving that which I desire, due to my inability to fully comprehend the sheer magnitude of the information and knowledge stored in the universe. Thus, the myth is interesting; Camus explains that the term ‘faith’ is burdened with a heavy religious meaning, but for the French writer it is not a matter of if one believes in a God or not; it is far more important to believe in oneself, and this provides purpose in an endless quest (to understand the universe and the meaning of life). ‘Camus examines how an honest affirmation of life can come into existence without pinning it down to external influences. It is life that matters, the pure ability to be part of this world.’ (taken from http://www.camus-society.com/myth-of-sisyphus.html) Camus also remarks at the end of the essay; ‘One always finds one’s burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.’ Likewise, we must find our own purpose in the world, relating to the notion that although there is ultimately no end to the search for the answers to the mysteries of the universe, and the age-old idea of the meaning of life. We must simply find our happiness in the search, for it is not what you do, it’s how you do it. The journey is always more important than the destination; for one learns more about themselves in that period of rumination.


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