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Questioning the Meaning of it All

A recent Aperture video gives a concise overview of absurdism: the philosophical theory that existence in general is absurd. It begins with the Greek mythological story of Sisyphus. The gods were displeased with his arrogance and punished him with the futile task of pushing a rock up a hill, then having the rock roll back down every time he reached the top.

Classical interpretations of the myth view it as an allegory for the futility of trying to escape death. No matter how powerful or clever a person is, we're all doomed to meet the same fate. More modern audiences have found something more relatable about Sisyphus' struggle: seeing it not as a simple parable about the inevitability of death but more like a metaphor for the drudgery and monotony of their own lives.

Every day we wake up, make coffee, take commute to work, stare at a computer for hours, get yelled at by our boss, stare at the computer some more, then travel back home, binge Netflix or YouTube while eating dinner, go to bed and then wake up and do it all over again. Just like Sisyphus we seem condemned to repeat the same meaningless tasks over and over and over.

Most of us do this every day for the rest of our lives as though we're sleepwalking, never waking up or stopping to ask why. For some of us, one day we're standing on a street corner preparing to go to work, when in an instant we're struck by the strangeness of it all. Suddenly nothing appears to have purpose. Life is haphazard and meaningless. You look around and you whisper to yourself: Why are all of these people even in such a hurry? For that matter, why am I? What's the point of all this? Why am I even alive?

You can watch the video here (0-1 min. 57 sec.).

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