Bill Murray is Sisyphus

It’s obvious if you think about it.

Given Albert Camus’ quote: “one must imagine Sisyphus happy”, we might consider that quote in light of the movie Groundhog Day staring Bill Murray as “Phil Connors”, the lead, who eventually embraces his predicament (after what must have been years of struggle) and commits himself to his repeated, yet futile, daily ritual.

Sound familiar?

Mr. Camus tries to teach us that in the face of pointless repetitive striving, it is in the act of striving that one must find happiness. That with Sisyphus, laboriously repeating his effort to roll a boulder to the top of a mountain — only to have it roll back to the bottom, if one could imagine him happy, that he had a attained a sort of nirvana.

And more importantly, if Sisyphus could be happy in such a frustrating and pointless task — so could you.

Enter Bill Murry as Phil Connors. He, like Sisyphus, is trapped in a never ending repetition of enduring the same task day after day, for a theoretical eternity. At first he’s incredulous. Then avaricious and mischievous. Then manic followed by despondent. And then, accepting his fate, and having found no solace in all his prior approaches, resolves himself to strive for excellence, not only in the task at hand — of living this one day, but in his endeavor to be a good human being. And in being good, being happy.

Although King Sisyphus was basically a bad dude, nothing in his mythology tells us he should be admired, in the end, if we can accept Camus’ rationalization, we might find peace, if not happiness, in our daily work-a-day, repetitive lives — by imagining Sisyphus happy.

And, if Phil Connors can, through his exhaustive experiments and examinations of his options, also finds a sort of happiness as he pursues excellence of self  and humility in his acceptance, that if he, like Sisyphus, can be happy — then so can we.

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2 responses to “Bill Murray is Sisyphus

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