Is Sisyphus Happy?

No event is unique
and occurs once and for all,
but rather every event has occurred,
occurs, and will occur, perpetually.

The same individuals have appeared,
appear, and reappear
in every return of the cycle.

In every cycle
Socrates will be tried,
condemned, and executed.

Death and defeat will come again to Beowulf
to his kingdom
and to every kingdom

The only argument for life Camus could find was:
the struggle itself toward the height is enough,
must be enough
to fill the heart.

One must try to imagine Sisyphus happy.

Poetry by Ashe The PoetBay support member heart!
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Written on 2015-06-01 at 01:41

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The simple answer for me is yes Sisyphus is happy.
I will endeavour to explain this idea.
Firstly as far as Camus is concerned, he introduces imagination as a possibility , indeed as a must must imagine Sisyphus happy, therefore alluding to the fact that Sisyphus himself can /must use his imagination to be content/happy
sisyphus is however condemned to push the rock but it follows that because he can imagine himself in any predicament this puts the whole into a very different arena.
Sisyphus also does not need to reason or understand his position he just has to continue which puts him in a stronger position for happiness because the rejection or absence of such need is also a kind of freedom.
His happiness is not dependant on reward nor does the constant rolling down of the rock have to be a source of frustration.
The task is perpetual but so is Sisyphus therefore he has beaten death and any sort of rules to be adhered to...making him superhuman, master of his fate and his approach and that is in my mind what makes him his own hero....if indeed he even has to be...the key is the ability of Sisyphus to overcome the seeming lack of choice by indeed choosing.

Wumbulu The PoetBay support member heart! it...I could write a book analysing this poem...the first words I heard from my philosophy professor “You might not learn anything from my lectures, but I guarantee, you'll be confused on a much higher level.”

Coo & Co The PoetBay support member heart!
I enjoyed this too, Ashe :-)
It's interesting to muse on history and to perceive certain cycles throughout time. At BirdBrains we're particularly interested in the notion that unchangeable elements of human nature account for certain themes.
Perhaps Camus wrote, 'one must imagine Sisyphus happy' to try to find a sort of happiness in himself, we suggest (tentatively, for we do not know Camus well).

Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
I enjoyed this, Ashe. It certainly got everyone to thinking. I have to agree with Camus, up to a point. I see us as nothing but bags of DNA doing what DNA has to do: sustain itself. That's just how it is. It doesn't fill the heart. Your perspective of Sisyphus is refreshing. Why wouldn't he be happy, or, at least, contented? As Dave indicates, punching into the same job every day, performing the same tasks, can be satisfying. You know what you have to do. You know when you're done. I wonder if Sisyphus is on the clock.

Jamsbo Rockda The PoetBay support member heart!
This is extremely well written and probably too deep for my education. Sisyphus I did not know but made sure I learned of. It seems that I have been in many jobs that were similar to his sad plight. Bravo!

Usually my reaction to a poem is immediate but this one has made me pause for quite awhile. I agree that time is both linear and circular, hence the Eastern (and my) perspective of the wheel of life, the circle of earth, sun, moon, seasons, rebirth. Perhaps Frost thought that too - "Our very life depends on everything’s / Recurring till we answer from within."

I am less sure about the sufficiency of struggle, though there can be nobility in it . . . still we seem conditioned to achievement, to results and resolution, identifying with those who prevail in the end. I can't imagine endless striving and failing as enough "to fill the heart."
2015-06-01 Moods The PoetBay support member heart!
hm, this says too much for me... you write so well! Thanks for that *hugs* xx

one trick pony The PoetBay support member heart!
there is much talk these days of "mindfulness," and "living in the moment," and "enjoy the process." when life is all roses, or lilacs, it's easy. when it's not, it isn't (easy). i cannot imagine sisyphus happy; or, if i can, he isn't at his task.

i wonder at the genesis of this poem, which is disturbing. i don't know if i can agree with camus, that the struggle is enough in itself to fill the heart. it sounds too much like "enjoy the process."

what a wondrous, thought-provoking poem. thank you.