The Myth Of Sisyphus: In The Attempt

Albert Camusアルベール・カミュ『シーシュポスの神話』日本語訳(Traduction japonaises)

Our day-to-day challenges are really exhausting such as feeling disappointed at the results after all the efforts you made, another problem coming up right after you solved one, tragic incidents happening all around. Our life and efforts sometimes seem to be a meaningless run on the running-wheel. In exploring the topics around “In The Attempt”, or ubiquitous human efforts to reach for something that is out of sight, this sense of meaninglessness starts to loom over our prospects. Let’s consider this problem by looking at the key concept in “Le mythe de Sisyphe” by Albert Camus.

Les dieux avaient condamné Sisyphe à rouler sans cesse un rocher jusqu’au sommet d’une montagne d’où la pierre retombait par son propre poids. Ils avaient pensé avec quelque raison qu’il n’est pas de punition plus terrible que le travail inutile et sans espoir.  Le mythe de Sisyphe by Albert Camus

The biggest pain of the punishment can be explained by the fact that although he is well aware of his unrequited effort, he never stops his labor that is of no use. How despairing it is to see the rock rolling down the hill after your reaching the top of the hill. However, Camus made a logical turn. The point is, Sisyphus doesn’t climb the hill only once but endlessly. You would be disappointed to see the rock rolling down once you reached the top, but what is more painful is that you know that tragedy inevitably happens and, nevertheless, you are enforced to perform the duty ceaselessly.


(…) A chacun de ces instants, où il quitte les sommets et s’enfonce peu à peu vers les tanières des dieux, il est supérieur à son destin. Il est plus fort que son rocher. (…) quand l’appel du bonheur se fait trop pesant, il arrive que la tristesse se lève au cœur de l’homme: c’est la victoire du rocher, c’est le rocher lui-même. (…) Mais les vérités écrasantes périssent d’être reconnues. Le mythe de Sisyphe by Albert Camus
(…) 頂上から神々の巣窟まで戻って行く度ごとに、シーシュポスは運命を制圧していた。転がる岩に勝利していたのだ。(…) 幸せの呼び声を重圧と感じるとき、哀しみが人の心に湧き上がる。それは岩の方の勝利だ。岩の重苦しさそのものだ。(…) しかし、この重い真実は、認識されることで消滅してくれるのだ。

Sisyphus is aware of a recurrence of torturing duty, but he makes an intentional decision to face the futile. That’s his triumph over fate. Our everyday life is full of these fertile practices – what you worked hard for bears no fruits, what you created is soon to be crumbled, what you believe you kept in mind is gone. But if you do your best, create and remember something while understanding all will be gone anyhow, you will feel that you are focused and committed and that it is nonetheless meaningful and valuable.


Il y a deux sortes d’hommes, ceux qui subissent le destin, et ceux qui choisissent de le subir. Le Coran

This passage tells us the value of resigning yourself to fate and choosing a rough and thorny path, instead of wailing over merciless fate. Through our everyday existence, we could choose a life in which you always stop to think about the consequences of your choices, do conscious decision-making and face an uphill struggle, instead of following a beaten path. We could also follow an unorthodox but ethical lifestyle with little modern convenience of well-commercialized goods and services.


Fate, for Camus, is no doubt our inevitable truth: death. In terms of literal death and loss of something, only after do we resign ourselves to fate, we can say “all is well”. Anything you do care about will be gone sooner or later. Only when are you aware of this truth, caring about something starts to bear true meaning and value. Being aware of the truth is not a tragedy but a euphoric leap.