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How do you view Sisyphus and the Rock?

MoonKnight1
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 10:31:28 PM
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I'm sure that most people are casually knowledgeable about the Greek fable concerning Sisyphus? He's the guy that rolls a rock uphill and just before he gets to the top he loses his grip and the dang thing rolls back downhill so he goes back and tries again. For all of eternity it seems.

There are two basic lessons that one can interpret from this. One is that life is futile. No matter what you do you always end up at the bottom and have to trudge your way back up only to fail again.

I don't subscribe to that interpretation.

No, what I take away from the tale is Persistence. Determination. Hope.

He keeps rolling that boulder up the hill over and over again only to fail every time. But he keeps trying because he knows that it only takes one time, one success to overcome the hurdle. He doesn't care if he fails a thousand times because he is so tantalizingly close that he is absolutely sure that this next time will be the charm!

Plus, the more you roll that giant boulder up the hill the more it erodes away so before long that boulder is going to be a pebble. Then you don't even have to roll it anymore you can carry it. Once you are on top of that hill with nothing more to roll you can take that stone and pitch it over the side of a cliff.

Life can be futile, demoralizing. a real drag at times. But it can also be amazing, uplifting and joyful.You just have to look at it with the right perspective! Winking


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Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. - William Faulkner

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Tamwood
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 11:29:41 PM
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4saken1
Thursday, March 14, 2019 2:08:12 AM
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It seems to me that this parable was designed to placate the masses. No matter how often you try and fail, keep on trying and maybe things will eventually get better. While this can be true in some cases, the system is designed to benefit those already at the top benefiting on the hard work of those beneath them who have the misguided hope that things will ever get significantly better for them. Sure, there are success stories which serve to give hope to the hoi polloi, but for the vast majority it is all just a wash.

Keep working hard.
Accept your lot in life if things don't work out.
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Thundercron
Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:21:08 AM
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4saken1 wrote:
It seems to me that this parable was designed to placate the masses. No matter how often you try and fail, keep on trying and maybe things will eventually get better. While this can be true in some cases, the system is designed to benefit those already at the top benefiting on the hard work of those beneath them who have the misguided hope that things will ever get significantly better for them. Sure, there are success stories which serve to give hope to the hoi polloi, but for the vast majority it is all just a wash.

Keep working hard.
Accept your lot in life if things don't work out.


You must be a real peach at parties. Laughing
Xylob
Thursday, March 14, 2019 8:44:49 AM
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I'm kinda with 4Saken on this - Howie's take seems incredibly naive. There's a difference between hope and false hope...
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padreglcc
Thursday, March 14, 2019 8:58:23 AM
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Sisyphus is a classic punishment tale. His punishment is because of his wickedness. He defies the gods and is cruel to his subjects time and again. Of course he would be punished in the afterlife. But his particular punishment is meant to fit one of his crimes: trying to obtain immortality. In the myths, he bargains away the secret location of one of Zeus' lovers to her father in exchange for water of eternal life. Zues has him killed but he is too clever and chains up death (either Hades or Thanatos, depending on the story) in another attempt to live forever. Thus his punishment is eternity - in meaningless, toilsome labor that can never be finished. The story's classic use, like many Greek fables, is a warning against hubris, against thinking you're better than you are or better than the gods are. Sisyphus' story is intended to teach not to get a big head, not to try to be too cleaver, and to live a basically good life. Like all myths and fables, people can draw various interpretations from the story, but at it's core it is absolutely a punishment for hubris tale.
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MoonKnight1
Thursday, March 14, 2019 9:19:32 AM
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Xylob wrote:
I'm kinda with 4Saken on this - Howie's take seems incredibly naive. There's a difference between hope and false hope...

Sure, I accept that.

I'm also the kind of person that sees the glass as neither half full nor half empty. It's always full, half of it is filled with water and the other half with air.

Hope is hope no matter whether it's false or not. What is the opposite of hope? Despair? I prefer the former.

It all depends on what you do with it, hope is nothing without action. You can hope and wish and want all you like but if you just sit around doing nothing but hoping things will get better by themselves then yes, that is false hope.

Absolutely the fable is about punishment for pride and hubris. But it's also about redemption. He was promised that if he got the boulder to the top of the hill then his sins would be forgiven. So he tries over and over to get that penance.

The fact that he keeps going despite extreme adversity and hardship shows determination. When given a chance to redeem oneself what would any of us do? Continue trying or give up when it gets too hard?

Howie's Saying of the Week

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. - William Faulkner

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MoonKnight1
Thursday, March 14, 2019 9:41:20 AM
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BTW, I love a good philosophical debate!

No one is really right or wrong, anything can be interpreted in numerous different ways by different people. I do enjoy hearing the perspective of others!

Howie's Saying of the Week

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. - William Faulkner

Check out my eBay store: Hall Liquidations
Thundercron
Thursday, March 14, 2019 12:24:30 PM
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Don't know why, but the first thing I realized/thought of when I read the comments this morning:

Howie loves Shawshank.
Xylob and 4saken don't care for it because it's unrealistic.
Padre assigns it to review for a class research project.

I don't know....it's early....
MoonKnight1
Thursday, March 14, 2019 12:35:55 PM
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Thundercron wrote:
Don't know why, but the first thing I realized/thought of when I read the comments this morning:

Howie loves Shawshank.
Xylob and 4saken don't care for it because it's unrealistic.
Padre assigns it to review for a class research project.

I don't know....it's early....

Rolling on the Floor

What is this "Shawshank" that you speak of? Whistle

Howie's Saying of the Week

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. - William Faulkner

Check out my eBay store: Hall Liquidations
lcfrick
Thursday, March 14, 2019 12:39:34 PM
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I had the horrific realization that comic collecting to me is like that fable.

No matter how many comics I collect, I will never truly finish my collection.

In the past 5 years I've been nearing a complete collection only to start collecting: Batman New 52, IDW Transformers Retailer Incentive covers, Usagi Yojimbo, Daredevil, Punisher, and most recently pre-Crisis Batman/Detective Comics/Brave and the Bold.

And I know when I start to wrap up the Batman/DC/BatB I'll inevitably find something new to collect. No clue what that is right now, but it was the opportunity to obtain a bunch of issues cheap which got me started on Transformers RI, Daredevil, Punisher, and Batman/DC/BatB.

I guess this is technically more like moving the goalposts (and the fact that I do enjoy the collecting part), but it's still a bit sobering to think that every time I near completion I start something new and have to start over.
Xylob
Thursday, March 14, 2019 8:47:54 PM
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MoonKnight1 wrote:


I'm also the kind of person that sees the glass as neither half full nor half empty. It's always full, half of it is filled with water and the other half with air.
I'm pragmatic (infuriatingly so according to my wife).
It's half a glass.
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bluedevil2002
Friday, March 15, 2019 10:12:30 AM
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lcfrick wrote:
I guess this is technically more like moving the goalposts (and the fact that I do enjoy the collecting part), but it's still a bit sobering to think that every time I near completion I start something new and have to start over.


My hope is that I can finish my current collections at some point before starting any new ones. The problem with that is when I get down to the last few issues I need, and my orders get smaller, I start looking at the next collection on my wish list and start ordering that. Or there's that one last issue that's just a (banned) to find, so I start working on something else.
padreglcc
Friday, March 15, 2019 10:39:48 AM
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Thundercron wrote:
Don't know why, but the first thing I realized/thought of when I read the comments this morning:

Howie loves Shawshank.
Xylob and 4saken don't care for it because it's unrealistic.
Padre assigns it to review for a class research project.

I don't know....it's early....

This is awesome. Good analysis!
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Shadowdodger
Friday, March 15, 2019 2:21:48 PM
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The Rock has syphilis? Devil Laughing
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MoonKnight1
Friday, March 15, 2019 2:28:20 PM
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Shadowdodger wrote:
The Rock has syphilis? Devil Laughing

I knew it was just a matter of time. The only question was, "Who?"

Thanks, Jamie! Tongue

Howie's Saying of the Week

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. - William Faulkner

Check out my eBay store: Hall Liquidations
Shadowdodger
Friday, March 15, 2019 4:52:37 PM
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MoonKnight1 wrote:
Shadowdodger wrote:
The Rock has syphilis? Devil Laughing

I knew it was just a matter of time. The only question was, "Who?"

Thanks, Jamie! Tongue


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Thundercron
Sunday, March 17, 2019 2:37:29 PM
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Whoa! I just saw a bumper sticker that said "imagine Sisyphus happy." I had never heard of Sisyphus before reading Howie's post, now I saw that bumper sticker. Always weird how that works.
MoonKnight1
Sunday, March 17, 2019 3:43:56 PM
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Thundercron wrote:
Whoa! I just saw a bumper sticker that said "imagine Sisyphus happy." I had never heard of Sisyphus before reading Howie's post, now I saw that bumper sticker. Always weird how that works.

Thanks, Corey. Now I need to find that bumper sticker. Tongue

Howie's Saying of the Week

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. - William Faulkner

Check out my eBay store: Hall Liquidations
Thundercron
Sunday, March 17, 2019 4:48:38 PM
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As for how I view the parable, I take Howie's approach on this. As the sole breadwinner of a family of six (my wife can't work), it can be very easy to get frustrated scrapping for the next two bucks month to month. Probably would have given up a long time ago if I took a fatalistic approach to it all. I always think of a line from Blues Brothers (aka The Greatest Musical Of All Time), right after it appeared they wouldn't be getting paid for their first gig, Jake says to the band, "The next gig is gonna be dynamite. Huge! You'll see!". I always remind myself of that when things don't come together quite as well during the month. Because next month--it's gonna be great!!

I really like Shawshank, too.
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