For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Myth of Sisyphys

by Camus, A (1955)

Key Passage

If  this  myth  is  tragic,  that  is  because  its  hero  is  conscious.  Where  would  his  torture  be,  indeed,  if  at every  step  the  hope  of  succeeding  upheld  him?  The  workman  of  today  works  everyday  in  his  life  at  the same  tasks,  and  his  fate  is  no  less  absurd.  But  it  is  tragic  only  at  the  rare  moments  when  it  becomes conscious.  Sisyphus,  proletarian  of  the  gods,  powerless  and  rebellious,  knows  the  whole  extent  of  his wretched  condition:  it  is  what  he  thinks  of  during  his  descent.  The  lucidity  that  was  to  constitute  his torture at the same time crowns his victory. There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn. (p.90)


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