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The Rock of Sisyphus

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The Sonics are the rock, we're Sisyphus.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Many readers of this site have compared the effort to bring the Sonics back as similar to the Greek myth of Sisyphus.

To refresh your memory Sisyphus was punished by the Gods for his attempt to evade death; he had successfully tricked quite a few powerful ones, Zeus included, before he was finally captured and placed in Hades. Zeus punished him by enchanting a boulder that Sisyphus would be required to push/carry to the top of a hill, only to have the boulder slip away from Sisyphus just as he reached the top.

Sisyphus then, after all that effort, energy, and exertion, would be forced to watch the stone roll back down the hill to the bottom where he would need to start all over again.

We get this compelling image because most of us have encountered it: working on something really hard, putting your heart and soul into it, only to have it slip through your grasp or something not done quite right, like forgetting to cross a "t" or dot an "i" that isn't significant to the effort you put out yet somehow nullifies almost everything you've done. You're forced to start from the beginning again, and the futility is felt. But then, you pick up the pen or dust yourself off to start pushing the rock up the hill again.

This is why Sisyphus is such a popular myth, because we get it. It sucks to have to start over or think a milestone will finally be reached, only to see the milestone moved or disappear entirely.

In the book The Myth of Sisyphus by Camus, Camus compares the struggle of Sisyphus as the absurd. It's absurd that Sisyphus would work so hard to roll the rock up the hill, only to have it roll back down and start all over again for eternity. Sisyphus may think he's doing the rational and reasonable thing, but then chaos and randomness enter making his efforts futile.

And so then, if there is no meaning in Sisyphus's efforts, what then is the purpose of his struggle? According to Camus, by recognizing that nothing has meaning, the burden of meaning is released and therefore true happiness obtained. The struggle then becomes the experience and that contains the meaning. The Greek Gods were punishing Sisyphus for evading death by condemning him to a life of what he could have perceived as meaningless work (and therefore by extension, wish for death).

But Sisyphus walks back down the hill, to start his task again, and to Camus, it is in the awareness of the choice to begin again that Sisyphus has once again conquered death.

The struggle to bring back the Sonics hasn't been easy. Last week was horrifically awful, starting the final vote on May 2 and all the aftermath, escalating to a collective hysteria by Thursday.

Time to walk back down the hill to start collectively pushing the stone back up.

To rephrase the words of Camus, "one must imagine the Sonics back."