"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

- Albert Camus

If one must imagine Sisyphus happy, how else might we imagine him? Who else might we imagine happy in their repetitive struggles up a hill? Maybe the gods’ assignment is not exclusively a punishment for Sisyphus, but a challenge giving him the option of punishing or rewarding himself.

  • Why do cyclists huff and puff up impossibly steep hills just to roll back down? Why do they risk getting kicked out by security guards, run over by motorists or colliding with concrete pillars, just to pedal up and roll back down inside of parking structures?
  • Why do thousands of hikers take extended leave from careers and relationships to hike the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trails, hoping that their jobs and loved ones will accept them back when they return?
  • Why do kids look forwards to frigid snowy afternoons to haul sleds and inflatable tubes for a few seconds of descent, all while risking severe bodily injury?
  • Why do gourmet chefs pay such close attention to the taste, color and texture of the dishes they prepare, fully hoping for them to be entirely devoured by guests?
  • Why do tens of thousands of travelers, artists, and the generally groovy gather each year to erect an effigy of mankind which is eventually burned down?
  • Why do travelers spend thousands of dollars on vacations, hoping to land back exactly from where they started from?

Sisyphus was free to begin with, and remains free now. His choice has only been clarified and simplified. The gods have placed immediately before him the choice of whether to make himself happy or miserable. Each run up his hill gives him an opportunity of being pleasantly engaged or miserably occupied. He chooses his own degree of elation or dejection. Each transit offers a simple choice between delight and drudgery.

Rock on, Sisyphus. See you on the hill.