It all begins with two ancient greek legends. 

Sisyphus was the human king of Ephyra. Defined by Camus as the archetypal absurd hero, this trickster figure was famous for his ruthlessness, slyness and deceitfulness. He commonly murdered travellers and guests in order to prove himself. His desire for earthly riches led him to cheat the gods over and over, and when they tried to punish him, Sisyphus enchained the spirit of Thanatos (Death), so that during this imprisonment, no human being died, including himself. Naturally, when the gods freed Death, his first victim was Sisyphus

There is a selfish, self-serving factor to the Sisyphean myth, as well as an arrogant factor in him trying to cheat Death. However, the most famous aspect about him was not how he lived, or how he died, but what happened after his death. For his sins, Sisyphus was condemned to push a gigantic boulder up one of the steep hills of Tartarus, only for the rock to fall down, and him to start all over again, ad aeternum. A futile, kafkaesque task, almost as absurd as trying to cheat Death, regardless of what Sisyphus’ ego told him. 

Then there was Prometheus, the great titan god of Fire. This second trickster figure also defied the gods, albeit with a completely different intent. By stealing fire from Olympos and giving it to Humanity, he is credited with the creation of technology, knowledge, science, art and civilization. In some versions of the this myth, he is also credited with the creation of humanity from clay, which is poetic, given that, arguably, the prime factors that make a human are exactly the aspects brought about by fire. Prometheus is known for his intelligence, compassion, and for being a champion of Man, despite not being man himself. 

When Zeus came to know about Prometheus’ treachery, he was also damned to eternal suffering. He was chained to a rock, and every day, an eagle would descend from the heavens and ravish his liver, which would grow again overnight, only to be devoured again the next day. 

We are all doomed, in the end. In our case, doomed not to eternal torture, but to the deafening silence of the great void. This being said, how do you want to live your life? And more importantly, how should we, as a species, conduct this great experiment that is Man? Do we want to live selfishly, focused on own happiness above all else, mindlessly hoarding and relishing in earthly possessions which will soon come to mean nothing when we pass? Or do we want to spend our lives using the titan’s gift for contributing to a brighter future that we will not get to see? 

You should know that, eventually, Prometheus was freed by Hercules, yet another of Man's Champions.

Sisyphus, however, keeps pushing that rock to this day. 

Leave a comment