Life is the struggle

Ever had the thought that you can’t do anymore. You don’t want to face it today?

The endless work we undertake each day I feel is sapping our ability to be happy.

It all seems so demoralising, how we rush around like headless chickens trying to find something, we don’t know what.

We are inundated with ideas of how to make our lives better. Goals we need to fulfill in order to be happy. Which implies work that needs to be done to fulfill them.

Worse still we have to do these tasks efficiency, quickly, and right now. Doubt, fear, hesitation, lack of goals and procrastination are labelled as enemies.

We think that happiness is a goal, like redecorating your house, or writing a book. A series of steps and actions that need to be done in order to complete for the goal.

You can see where it comes from. In our society the expected standard is to have an amazing life. This fuels our desperation to fill every moment with amazing experiences. A nice house and clothes, the latest gadgets and so on.

Productivity seems to have become more and more like a faith, or perhaps a cult. I feel it is part of our culture now. To want more, to have it all, that is the expectation place upon us.

If you are not growth hacking, streamlining, prioritising, Getting Things Done, then you are a freak. You have to use apps, todo lists, post it, or whatever is the ‘in’ thing right now.

It all seems like so much hard work just to organise ourselves before you even get to the work itself. Its the desperate constant activity I find exhausting.

Those productivity gurus with their systems, I wonder how many of then follow their own advice?

Smiling at the struggle

Camus quote of sisyphus

Getting stuff done requires effort, but I feel we have taken it too far.

How often do we ask ourselves if such a goal or activity is what we really want.

Further still our ideas about progress are way to idealistic. Progress to us is rational, ordered, and in a straight line. We don’t see that our successes can have more to do with outside forces.

Worse still, once we have reached our goal, it does not seem quite as good as we had expected it to be.

It feels like the labours of Sisyphus. Who in Greek mythology was punished by the gods to roll a boulder up a hill, but once at the top, to have it roll back down again.

It’s metaphor for wasted action.

What is to be done? How do we seek happiness and contentment when there always seems to be one more thing to do?

All this work and to what end?

Sisyphus is portrayed as a tragic hero, but is his situation as pointless, as hopeless as it appears?

The philosopher Albert Camus thinks otherwise. His take on the former King of Corinth is one of joy, and hope.

Sisyphus was condemned to this purpose by tricking the god Hades and shackling him. Thereby preventing death from taking him away into the Underworld. In short he made himself and everyone else immortal.

Life without death, just like the gods themselves.

However the god of war, Ares, couldn’t abide bloodshed without death. So he threatens Sisyphus with eternal strangulation unless he frees Hades.

Sisyphus relents, and once freed Hades gets his revenge on the man who thought he could best a god, eternal punishment.

The rock he pushes is the never ending toil we endure, but it is much more, it’s life itself, so argues Camus.

Life has no intrinsic meaning, yet we can create meaning of our own, imbue the struggle with passion and virtue we choose to give it.

Enjoying the struggle is perhaps to much to ask. But the search, the journey of discovery, the creativity, connections, the striving. That is worth it. The rock, the work, life, its all the same.

Death has not yet conquered us!

So grin and bear it it well.

The struggle is your life.

Image Credit: Sisyphus by Frederich John