Tag Archives: meaning

Meaningless Suffering


When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place. His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden.

– Viktor Frankl from Man’s Search for Meaning

One must imagine Sisyphus happy. 

-Albert Camus from the Myth of Sisyphus


One must imagine Sisyphus happy only because through his tedious, repetitive task, has he found meaning to his existence. And that is to say that there is no meaning, but only the task itself that is filled with a physical and psychological suffering that most would find excruciating to bear. He perseveres simply through acceptance and a renunciation of hope. Tomorrow will be as futile as today, and infused with just as much pain. The rock moves forward, and the muscles ache, but there is no break – there can never be a break. It is not the idea of a break that inspires him forward, but rather the denial of one while his joy is derived from watching the rock tumble down, once more to be heaved upwards.

“It will all be over soon” is not a consolation but a reminder that once “it” is over, another trial begins. The same thing in a new form. Suffering is everyone’s destiny. And Sisyphus accepts his. We repeat our mistakes, bear the consequences of our actions, repeat our mistakes, suffer accordingly, reflect on what we have done, and repeat our mistakes. Yet our fault is not in repeating our mistakes, but deluding ourselves in believing we have learned from them, and expecting to not make them again.

When Sisyphus’ boulder came to its peak he never once believed it would not come down again, and therefore felt no disappointment when it did. He accepted his suffering, it was what it was, and so we must imagine Sisyphus happy.

What Dreams May Come


Over the past year I have blogged a few times about dreams I have had. Those were just the ones I could remember in more or less vivid detail, but there were dozens of others that I could recall yet not describe, being unable to reconstruct the actions.  Each time I wake up from one such dream I find I am either scared, saddened, confused, or any combination thereof. I had yet another one last night. I do not remember the details, but it shares a common thread with all the others.

In every similar dream I am in some sort of large city, either wandering the streets, climbing up stairwells of tall buildings, going in and out of doors, and essentially repeating the same movements over and over again until I become disoriented and lost. Each time there is some object that drains me in one way or another. Either a table at a coffee shop that spools out portions of my mind. Or a planter of small crystal beads that overwhelms my psyche through an inundation of memories. Or a needle that draws my blood and simultaneously my emotions. I never remember the end of the dream, and always wake up just before I completely waste away into nothingness due to the overpowering experience of having everything taken out of me, leaving me to wake up terribly distraught, often crying, and altogether empty. The worst is when I don’t remember the dream, but wake up feeling this way. By now I know the reason, and can only imagine some looming city skyline devouring my existence through ordinary objects placed along my path.

It always starts out about the same. I am walking somewhere with a destination in mind – to work, to take a picture of a pretty building, to dinner with a friend, etc. Then I come across the object. The object remains unobtrusive to all those around (and there are always a multitude of people walking around me), even if it is most strange, like the giant protruding needle coming out of the sidewalk. I know what the object will do should I touch it, so at first, just like everyone else, I ignore it and keep walking. As the dream progresses I find myself moving in circles, performing the same tasks – usually the day I am living within my dream repeats itself ad infinitum where I can never get past a certain point, like the dream where I was supposed to get to a friend’s birthday dinner, but I would never make it because right before I would reach the restaurant the day would start again.

As I continue in my circular path it becomes more and more restricted, until I am  just looming around the deadly object. I know it will destroy me psychologically, leaving me as nothing more than an empty shell, but in the end I always touch it. And then wake up.

I wish I could understand these dreams, but any meaning I ascribe to them seems like a desperate attempt at creating order. Of course there is the possibility that there is no meaning and they are just dreams. But I can’t seem to believe that – they are all too much the same,and have been going on for almost a year on a regular basis. The mind is a strange thing.