“The struggle itself is enough to fill a man’s heart.”
– Albert Camus
When French writer, philosopher and proto-hipster Albert Camus was asked whether he preferred theatre or football he famously replied (backing the wrong horse) “football, without hesitation”. I’ve been working hard recently on the absolute fringes of Camus’s second choice. My latest semester as a teacher of drama to children is halfway complete. What better excuse to delve into the writing of this acclaimed French Algerian smartarse for the first time?
I often find inspiration in good writing, and The Myth of Sisyphus (And Other Essays) is definitely that. Not only did Camus’s descriptions of North Africa and Paris appeal to my wanderlust, but his intellectualization of the story of a man pushing a massive rock up a hill got me thinking: is it possible to find enjoyment and/or fulfillment in a laborious, thankless and seemingly meaningless task? As a teacher to dozens of hyperactive ESL users, I would argue that the answer is yes.
“No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” – Alan Watts
Anyone who travels knows that the purpose is not to get somewhere, it’s to be somewhere, and to be going somewhere in the first place. Alan Watts once pointed out the dangers of thinking of life as a journey towards some kind of goal, saying we should instead be dancing our way through it as if it were a musical composition.
The Chinese workforce, with its team building and motivational meetings, is not much different from the Western one: a little obsessed with positive thinking and self improvement and asking not what your company can do for you but what you can do for your company.
Mid-Autumn Festival is upon us. The weather is changing. People are trundling out the yearly Game of Thrones quotes. I’ve got several days off to do a bit more travelling and a little more reading, before returning to push that rock a little further up the hill.