There is nothing called 'Sisyphean work', it is just the way you think. Do you agree?

Discuss the November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes.

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Sushan
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There is nothing called 'Sisyphean work', it is just the way you think. Do you agree?

Post by Sushan »

This topic is about the November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes



You may read the story of Sisyphus in the following link:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisyphus

Through the classical influence on modern culture, tasks that are both laborious and futile are therefore described as Sisyphean
(Wikipidea)


The above quote mentions about useless tasks that will only give the doer some fatigue. I think all of you have heard of people complaining of having to do useless tiresome work.

But this book suggests that the issue does not lie with the work, but with the doer him/herself; with the way that he/she thinks; an issue of lacking inner peace.
The discontent are like Sisyphus if he believes that happiness and contentment can only be found on the unreachable top of the mountain, the imaginary end of the rainbow.
(Page 133 - Kindle Version)
If Sisyphus has inner peace and therefore enjoys rolling the ball up and down the hill as a sort of game, then he is in a heaven not a hell.
(Page 134 - Kindle Version)


There is nothing called 'Sisyphean work', it is just the way you think. If you have inner peace, everything will be just peaceful despite the content. Do you agree?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
Anna Hernandez 2
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Re: There is nothing called 'Sisyphean work', it is just the way you think. Do you agree?

Post by Anna Hernandez 2 »

I completely agree, especially when looking at the final quote, 'If Sisyphus has inner peace and therefore enjoys rolling the ball up and down the hill as a sort of game, then he is in heaven, not hell.' The concept of a 'glass half-full or half-empty' came to mind, because it's true that our perspective depends on the memories we evoke. When considering our response to a matter, we need to consider why we reacted that way at that time. An example of these responses can be seen in cases of shaken baby syndrome, where the outcome depends on the caretaker's emotional reactions, despite the similar habits of every baby.

This is hard to explain but there is my attempt :)
OTrain M
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Re: There is nothing called 'Sisyphean work', it is just the way you think. Do you agree?

Post by OTrain M »

Yes, I agree. Once you have trained your mind, attitude, and feeling about the task, I think the task itself will be changed for the better, it won't feel tedious and mind numbing as it would otherwise be.
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Re: There is nothing called 'Sisyphean work', it is just the way you think. Do you agree?

Post by sam_rahman12 »

Sushan wrote: November 20th, 2022, 3:42 am
If Sisyphus has inner peace and therefore enjoys rolling the ball up and down the hill as a sort of game, then he is in a heaven not a hell.
(Page 134 - Kindle Version)
This is the ultimate truth. With inner peace, you have achieved the goal of happiness. And once you have true inner peace nothing can take it away from you. If we train our minds to think positively, the outcomes will be positive.
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Sushan
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Re: There is nothing called 'Sisyphean work', it is just the way you think. Do you agree?

Post by Sushan »

Anna Hernandez 2 wrote: February 4th, 2023, 1:40 am I completely agree, especially when looking at the final quote, 'If Sisyphus has inner peace and therefore enjoys rolling the ball up and down the hill as a sort of game, then he is in heaven, not hell.' The concept of a 'glass half-full or half-empty' came to mind, because it's true that our perspective depends on the memories we evoke. When considering our response to a matter, we need to consider why we reacted that way at that time. An example of these responses can be seen in cases of shaken baby syndrome, where the outcome depends on the caretaker's emotional reactions, despite the similar habits of every baby.

This is hard to explain but there is my attempt :)
Your attempt to connect the Sisyphean work concept with the 'glass half-full or half-empty' perspective is quite insightful. Indeed, our experiences and reactions to various situations are heavily influenced by our personal outlook and mindset. The example you provided, shaken baby syndrome, demonstrates the significance of understanding and managing our emotional reactions in challenging circumstances.

It is crucial to recognize that our mindset and attitude have a substantial impact on our perception of a task or situation. By cultivating inner peace and adopting a more positive outlook, we can transform seemingly Sisyphean tasks into more enjoyable and meaningful experiences. In doing so, we can create our own "heaven" amidst the difficulties and challenges we face.

To further illustrate this idea, consider someone who finds great satisfaction and purpose in a job that others might perceive as monotonous or unrewarding. This individual's inner peace and positive mindset enable them to derive joy and fulfillment from their work, even if it appears tiresome or futile to others.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Sushan
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Re: There is nothing called 'Sisyphean work', it is just the way you think. Do you agree?

Post by Sushan »

OTrain M wrote: March 28th, 2023, 8:00 pm Yes, I agree. Once you have trained your mind, attitude, and feeling about the task, I think the task itself will be changed for the better, it won't feel tedious and mind numbing as it would otherwise be.
I appreciate your agreement and the emphasis on the importance of training one's mind, attitude, and feelings towards a task. It is indeed true that our perception of a task plays a significant role in determining how we experience and approach it.

In essence, we have the power to transform our perspective on any given task, regardless of how laborious or futile it may seem. By cultivating inner peace and a positive mindset, we can shift our focus from the perceived drudgery of the task to the potential growth, learning, or enjoyment that can be derived from it.

This shift in perspective not only helps us overcome the challenges associated with so-called 'Sisyphean tasks,' but it also promotes personal development and a more profound sense of fulfillment in our daily lives. As we train our minds to approach tasks with a positive attitude, we ultimately improve our overall well-being and life satisfaction.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Sushan
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Re: There is nothing called 'Sisyphean work', it is just the way you think. Do you agree?

Post by Sushan »

sam_rahman12 wrote: May 2nd, 2023, 4:36 pm
Sushan wrote: November 20th, 2022, 3:42 am
If Sisyphus has inner peace and therefore enjoys rolling the ball up and down the hill as a sort of game, then he is in a heaven not a hell.
(Page 134 - Kindle Version)
This is the ultimate truth. With inner peace, you have achieved the goal of happiness. And once you have true inner peace nothing can take it away from you. If we train our minds to think positively, the outcomes will be positive.
I concur with your insight on the significance of inner peace and its relationship with happiness. The attainment of inner peace allows us to approach life's challenges and obstacles with equanimity and a sense of calm, ultimately shaping our experiences in a more positive and fulfilling manner.

Inner peace is not only about finding happiness within ourselves but also about fostering resilience and adaptability in the face of adversity. When we train our minds to think positively, we create a strong foundation upon which we can build our lives, enabling us to navigate the ups and downs with grace and wisdom.

It's important to remember, however, that the pursuit of inner peace is an ongoing journey, requiring consistent practice and self-reflection. Our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes are not fixed; they can be retrained and reshaped over time. By cultivating mindfulness, self-awareness, and compassion, we can continually reinforce our inner peace and maintain a positive outlook on life, despite the inevitable challenges we may face.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
JUSTIN CHRISTENSEN
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Re: There is nothing called 'Sisyphean work', it is just the way you think. Do you agree?

Post by JUSTIN CHRISTENSEN »

I appreciate the perspective you've presented, and I think there's merit to considering how our mindset can affect our perception of work. However, I would argue that the concept of "Sisyphean work" does exist in certain cases.

As you mentioned, the term "Sisyphean" originates from the Greek myth of Sisyphus, who was condemned to eternally push a boulder up a hill, only for it to roll back down each time he reached the top. In a broader sense, however, I think of this term as referring to tasks that feel futile, repetitive, or unending. While a positive mindset can certainly make a difference in how we approach our work, there are some tasks that, by their very nature, can be deemed Sisyphean due to their inherent repetitiveness or lack of progress. For example, if you seek to achieve a goal, but you set about doing it with a poor plan of action, you may wind up in a Sisyphean task.

Let's take, as an extreme example, a bucket with a hole in it. Your goal is to bring water from a stream to your home, but each time you fill your bucket the water has drained out by the time you reach home. If you keep attempting the same thing, without re-evaluating your approach, you are stuck in a Sisyphean loop. If you think to yourself "come on, no one would just keep going back without fixing the hole in their bucket" then you have missed the point. Life is full of buckets with holes in them, and far, far too many people keep trying to carry their water without addressing that hole. Think of someone who wants to be successful in life, but continues working in a dead end job. They are earning income, sure, but even if they have a great attitude and apply themselves fully to their task, there will be no opportunities for promotion or success.

In my opinion, a Sisyphean task is any that does not lead to the desired outcome. I think it's important to be able to think of things in those terms in order to correctly structure a plan of action to achieve what one wishes to achieve in life.
Marie Chalupova
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Re: There is nothing called 'Sisyphean work', it is just the way you think. Do you agree?

Post by Marie Chalupova »

There is definitely importance in finding meaning in what you are doing. If your work seems meaningless to you then of course you are just going to look forwards to its end and the process itself is just a chore.

As Justin pointed out, it also depends if the goal of the work is something that actually needs to be achieved. We are not going to be content carrying water with a hollow bucket while our house is on fire.
Akangbe Opeyemi
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Re: There is nothing called 'Sisyphean work', it is just the way you think. Do you agree?

Post by Akangbe Opeyemi »

I totally agree with this “If Sisyphus has inner peace and therefore enjoys rolling the ball up and down the hill as a sort of game, then he is in a heaven, not a hell." It is just all about the mind, attitude, feelings, and even emotions. When we have inner peace about a task, no matter now laborious it might be, we will still be able to derive joy in-between.
Most times we do task just for the doing sake of and not to find any form of satisfaction in it.
Nancy004
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Re: There is nothing called 'Sisyphean work', it is just the way you think. Do you agree?

Post by Nancy004 »

Whether you see work as Sisyphean or not depends on your own perspective and how you view the nature of work and its meaning. It's a complex question that makes you reflect on your beliefs and thoughts about the purpose and value of the things we do in life.
Omollo Joseph
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Re: There is nothing called 'Sisyphean work', it is just the way you think. Do you agree?

Post by Omollo Joseph »

While mindset plays a role, some situations may genuinely involve repetitive or unrewarding efforts. Balancing perspective and acknowledging external factors is key to understanding the nature of work.
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