In the age of google it seems silly to announce that you’re going to explain a reference in case a reader doesn’t know it. Anyone can just google anything and have more documents about it than they would ever need. But I suppose there is some value in telling you very, very quickly about Sisyphus in case you don’t know anything about him.
Those who already know can stand up and do a few stretches and then come meet us in a paragraph.
Sisyphus was a Greek myth. There are a few versions but I’ll combine them into one faithful mashup (it’s not a long myth anyhow). Sisyphus was a Greek dude who pissed off a god. His punishment for doing so was to roll a huge boulder up a huge mountain. And every time he would get the boulder to the top, it would roll back down the mountain and he would be compelled to walk back down and repeat the cycle. He would have to repeat this cycle for eternity.
I’m in a twelve step program. Because of not good enough reasons, I had not been to a meeting in several weeks. I’m not sure the program is right for me but I’ve made a pledge that I’ll go for a while to see if I can learn something.
The first step of this kind of program is that you’re supposed to surrender. You’re supposed to admit you have no control over your addiction and you need help from whatever is your conception of a higher power. I got a lot of issues with the notion of a higher power but there are some cosmological theories that don’t rely on supernatural mythology that I find at least a little plausible.
But the really hard thing for me to get my mind around is the no control / no choice / total surrender part. Even though I’ve never EVER been able to control my addiction and I can clearly remember the beginnings of my hole I still believed I could. Despite the undeniable mountain of evidence WITH NO COUNTER EVIDENCE I still believed – I still believe – that I just haven’t tried hard enough to stop myself.
I just haven’t made the choice to stop.
I’m not like Sisyphus.
I can stop anytime I want.
Can I stop anytime I want?
I can’t stop anytime time I want.
I’m just like Sisyphus.
Sisyphus’ higher power will not help him.
Sisyphus’ higher power has condemned him.
The questions that are swirling through my mind are:
Is there a higher power?
Is there one higher power that has an infinite number of faces?
Is mine’s face kind?
Is mine’s face sadistic?
Is it neither?
I can’t really even ask some of the questions without answering the others.
The first is the key.
The second is the lock.
And what lies behind the door is completely unknown.
Lao Tzu famously said “The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.”
My feet are still on the ground.
But I’m not standing still.