Social Media and Sisyphus
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Sisyphus is a character of the Greek mythology – a fantastic device that connects the affairs of the topmost elite with the mere mortals which include our elites. Sisyphus is a cursed man : he was asked to carry a stone to the mountain top and as soon as he reaches the top, at a dx distance apart, the stone falls down (due to the curse of the gods ) and he starts it all over again.
The situation is really absurd. Sisyphus does it all over again and in this slavery, an Algerian Frenchman called Albert Camus not only finds our own reflection but discovers a nobility in the doomed Sisyphus. He forces us to ask many questions and more we ask about the problem of Sisyphus, using the Gallic subtlety, Camus brings us into the scene. We do not laugh at but laugh with. We do not fear about but dread. Using the mystical device called Art, he de-links us from the popcorn and we see not the screen but as in ghost movies, we find an empty theater.
The more I observe social media from the sidelines, more I remember Sisyphus. The more we try to carry our message to the destination, the noise derails us or simply throws us off-track. the moment we feel that we have become the celebrity, the leader, the mover – we are in the dread of losing.
One of my friends started a business and the wisdom received was that with an in-flexion point reached, the Olympian Gods (Venture Capitalists) will reward him with the holy grail- the fund. He had a Sisyphus like struggle – every quarter when he felt that he was just at it, the goal-post receded. It was absurd. He did everything – he attended meetings, diligently collected visiting cards (he had bundled them and now uses the bundle as a pillow) and becoming super active in social media : no ear should be left behind. Just when he was at the final round of discussion with the VCs – he was told that the measurement criterion had changed. He has to start all over again.
Sisyphus is everywhere : the class 10th student is told that another 2 years, then some grand institution and then the grail. 4 years of more toil – then, oh yes, we only prefer MBA – so another 2 years and 7 years of debt burden and then again….. Then suddenly the Olympians say : we prefer some hardcore experience. Degrees are just entry tickets. It is Sisyphus all over again.
Many men and women of our generation have invested massive amount of time in social media – for business or non business. Either way, there was an objective. The more they tried to have the mike, they found someone buying an amplifier and a blow-horn. The noise was so high that his/her signal, his message did not reach the ‘target’. Sisyphus once again.
The greatest redeemer of Sisyphus is neither the burden, nor the judges nor the boring work, nor the spectators but an inner realization that Life is absurd and since the contemplation of it must be Absurd, the greatest way to capture the essence of Life is to contemplate on its absurdity in all intensity we can muster. Sisyphus is not a resigned man – he is not some “babaji” contemplating in some holy cave.
Sisyphus is not a tragedy. He demonstrates the nobility of Man in a way which no elite, Olympian God can take away : He does not think of the burden or the objective or the outcome. He contemplates on the situation.
Another Frenchman, a master of understanding human heart, Blaise Pascal echoed three centuries before the inventor of Sisyphus : Man is a reed but a thinking reed !
Next time, when you are active in social media – for business or no business, remember Sisyphus.
You may discover something more valuable about you than all the social media is capable of providing you