Sisyphus was a Greek king who defied against the gods. He was so cunning that he even chained Death.
As punishment for his defiance, the gods cast Sisyphus to the Underworld, and condemned him to the task of pushing a boulder up a steep hill — only for it to roll down back down so he could push it up again… and again, and again, and again…
But in “The Myth of Sisyphus,” Camus writes that Sisyphus was hardly singled out for hardship — for mortal men are condemned to the same fate:
“The workman of today works every day in his life at the same tasks, and this fate is no less absurd.”
Meaning, the common man toils every day at living-making, only to be met with eventual death. With death in mind, the day-to-day living-making seems as fruitless as pushing a boulder up a hill. Because you labor and and you sweat — all so that your life may end in nothingness.
Such a fate is absurd, unless, that is, you become conscious of your condition. And devote your moments of consciousness to the last of your human freedoms: choosing your attitude.
When the Sisyphus’ boulder tumbles downward, he descends to retrieve it once more, and finds his moments of consciousness:
“That hour like a breathing-space which returns as surely as his suffering, that is the hour of consciousness. At each of those moments when he leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate. He is stronger than his rock.”
Just because living-making is an endless toil, doesn’t mean it’s meaningless. And just because you can’t control your fate, doens’t mean you can’t be response able to it.