Saturday, May 18, 2013

Caturday ~ Dear Diary

The diary of sad cats everywhere.  The cat mentions Sisyphus in the last sentence.  Do you know that story?

Sisyphus, in Greek mythology, was punished for his deceitfulness by being compelled to push an immense boulder up a hill forever, watching it roll back down every time he reached the top.  The Myth of Sisyphus is a philosophical essay by Albert Camus (French 1942, English 1955), in which he introduces his philosophy of the absurd about our futile search for meaning.  In the last chapter, Camus compares the absurdity of our lives with Sisyphus having to repeat over and over and over the same meaningless task.  The poor kitty above is Sisyphus, pushing that big watermelon up out of the water.  (And don't we wonder what it was doing there in the first place?)

The most memorable part of the philosophy class I took around 1970, when I first learned about Sisyphus, was this sentence:
"One must imagine Sisyphus happy."
Our professor had us imagine him reaching the top of the mountain.  Sisyphus could stand tall and straight, watching the boulder bounce away from him down the steep slope.  He could look out over the nearby hills and valleys as he starts making his way back to the bottom.  How is the task of Sisyphus different from getting up every morning and going to work?  Or staying home and washing the same dishes for the umpteenth time?  Or wiping your child's runny nose — again?

"One must imagine Sisyphus happy."  But the cat doesn't look a bit happy, does he?  (If the video quits working, watch it on YouTube.)

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