“I'm a rollin' a rock up a steep-steep hill. When I reach the top it comes right back down. I meet Sisyphus when I hit the top. And we stroll back down together slowly.” -- lyrics from the band Hot Chip / New Jersey / Jan. 2008
“The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor. ... I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
~ Albert Camus, in his 1942 essay The Myth of Sisyphus
Some other interpretations of the Sisyphus myth (via Wikipedia):
- Sisyphus is the disk of the sun that rises every day in the east and then sinks into the west.
- Sisyphus is the personification of waves rising and falling.
- The myth of Sisyphus personifys politicians aspiring for political office who are constantly defeated, with the quest for power, in itself an “empty thing,” likened to rolling the boulder up the hill. (1st-century BCE Epicurean philosopher Lucretius)