Monday, January 17, 2011

Sisyphus #7

[Right on time, the reporter shows up for his interview with Sisyphus. The two have become quite close. It's hard to tell who is the most interested in their regular talks. As usual, the reporter talks while Sisyphus pushes the rock up the hill and Sisyphus, once freed of his burden, gives his take on things as they walk back down to the bottom of the hill.]

Reporter: [arriving just in time as Sisyphus begins his task.] Day in and day out, the rock stays the same size, you have to push it over the same path, and you never get it over the hill and you remain the same. Nothing changes for you does it?

Sisyphus: Nope. I want to talk to you about change, but I'll save that for the trip down.
R: You know, my editor is running these talks as a regular feature and we're getting response from our readers. I've brought some of their letters with me. If it's okay with you, I'll read some of them as we walk.
S: Okay by me.
R: [reading some of the letters] Most of our readers understand your situation in terms of a loss of personal freedom and ceaseless futile labor and many of them identify with that. Several of them see your making peace with your sentence simply as a failure. One woman says the whole idea is absurd.
Here's one. Some high school kid is writing a paper of Zeus and wants to know what he was really like. Several readers want to know what you really look like and we have a few who are looking for secrets for success and happiness. Some really want to change their lives but don't see any hope in doing so. I did interview this one 90-year-old man who told me that just that day he had changed his mind about something that was important. [He finishes reading from the letters just as they reach the summit. Sisyphus gives it his best, but, no surprise, the rock falters and then falls back. Sisyphus speaks as they start back down.]
S: Speaking of change, you should have known Heraclitis
R: He was a Greek philosopher, wasn't he.
S: The world knows him as Greek. I knew him when he was just a poor little rich kid growing up in Ephesus which is now a part of Turkey. I guess Greek philosopher sounds more classy than a Turkish philosopher. He's probably known more for his observation that everything is in a state of change. He's the one who said that no one could ever step in the same river twice because the river was never the same nor is the person.
R: That's a good thing, isn't it?
S: Depends on how you look at it. Heraclitis, himself was cynical about human nature. He thought life was pointless. That's why he is called the Dark Philosopher.
R: So, why should I have know him?
S: Well, you don't have to be as cynical as Heraclitus was to accept that life is always changing, if you realize that you can choose how you change.
R: Are we talking about personal change or changing society?
S: Both. Human beings instinctively fear change. But a lot of your religious, economic and social structures, including your definitions of reality have undergone major upheavals. That's not all bad. Yours is also a time of great opportunity spiritually and materially.
R: What makes the difference anxiety and hope?
S: That would take more time than we have. You can find a good start, however, in your Christian gospel. I'm thinking of that verse in I John about perfect love casting out fear.
R: I'll pass that on, this could be the start of a very useful dialogue. Thanks.
S: You're welcome. See you next week.

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