Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Random Reflections on Sisyphus

I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one’s burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy. –Albert Camus, “ The Myth of Sisyphus”

Where am I is a question I like to ask myself. I stand at the foot of the mountain, and I am trying to regain my own sense of peace. I stay resolute that, though times are frustrating for me, I should not be in a hurry to find my burden again. My friend at work assured me I am free. I received an email today where I was told the feelings of freedom I have will come into focus more and more. It is silly, seems almost stupid, for me to have placed so much faith in a relationship with a woman who clearly held different values than I do.

No, I said in a post past that I do not drift in sardonic reflection. I have a friend who was tickled at that twist of phrase. Still- when another friend read that- he told me I am a bitter man, who is lost in depression, and that I have real trouble with being honest on my own blog. So there is disparity in the way I portray myself after a couple cups of coffee , and the way others see me… Understand in weeks these whiny reflections will be buried, and my writing will be raised to a higher plane

I will say that it is true I have enjoyed more energy, and enjoyed more satisfaction in that past few weeks. I have to admit, I do get down over falling out of a love relationship in which I had hoped to move, to share, to live out my life with a woman, in whom I find still great amounts of love, insight, passion, and intelligence. Still, when values clash, and dreams no longer coincide, I feel gratitude I can transcend this with help from friends, family, and God.

“Again I fancy Sisyphus returning to his rock, and the sorrow was in the beginning. When the images of earth cling too tightly to memory, when the call of happiness becomes too insistent, it happens that melancholy arises in man’s heart; this is the rock’s victory… these are our nights of Gethsemane.”

This is a myth I have remembered since childhood. No one in my childhood ever gave a face to Sisyphus. They just told by rote that he was a man who angered the gods, and how he was punished, but, in Camus’ essay, Sisyphus is shown for a couple differences. First, unlike other mortals, he was entitled (cursed) to remember his life above. Second, he is forced to live out eternity with full knowledge of his condition.

He never traveled down Lethe, the River of forgetfulness. He was not able to pay Charon for passage. He woke up in the underworld, aware of the torment that awaited him. The gift Camus found for Sisyphus was one of acceptance. Camus’ Sisyphus found that in living out eternity in full acceptance, he would- in his most simple rebellion- curse the very gods that put him there.

Still, my life continues to grow. I have no eternal peril planned for me. I am not a “proletarian of the gods. ” I am bound, however, to find purpose in my existence. I get to continue to celebrate each day with awe and wonder. My burdens show up everyday. I was told that the happiest people on the earth are the one’s with the lowest expectations. I was even told, ironically, that a study was published on the subject. I could not understand why someone needed to study something the Buddhists have known for centuries. ( one man told me the other day that his life had fallen apart faster than his ability to lower his expectations)

So I, a Dane by heritage, an American by birth, I embrace that part of my heritage that one study says Danish folk are the happiest people on the planet. Hamlet, indeed- a disgrace to the race with all his depression- should be forgotten . The other thing I hope to accomplish is to find one study that supports my belief that reading too many studies is bad for my health.

I thank you for reading…



Samantha said...

I'd like to make a comment on: "the happiest people on the earth are the one’s with the lowest expectations." I've never thought about it until I read your post. And in all honsety it's almost right. Except, maybe it's not the 'lowest expectations', it's just not extremely high ones that you, in no way, can fill, because then your just setting yourself up for faliure. But then theres the opposing side of the argument- you may not fail if you don't try, but you won't feel success either.

Keith said...

I appreciate the thought. Thank you.