Sport, Sisyphus, and Schopenhauer

A tumultuous week of sport presents the philosopher with a series of powerfully emotive images. The dizzying highs evident on the faces of the Indian cricket team as each of them realises a life-long dream of winning the world cup, in front of a packed crowd in their nation’s largest city; the terrifying lows of an imploding Rory McIlroy as he throws away the best chance that he’s ever likely to get to win arguably the greatest golfing prize going. We’ve all been there (in life I mean, not leading the Masters with one day to play) – well, most of us anyway – as our dreams and ambitions irrevocably slip away from us. For those lucky enough to have avoided that so far, there remains the undeniable certainty that one day they too will lose everything; in the great hospital of life we are all terminal cases, and one day we all must die!

Sisyphus: The first aspiring weightlifter

How very bleak this is, and no wonder so many philosophers have felt forced to accept a pessimistic outlook. We live, we strive, we fail, and we die. If we cannot find any hope of something beyond death, then it seems that life is indeed reduced to being little more than “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. That life is meaningless, or essentially comprised of suffering, is not a new idea, but it is one that is rarely eloquently expressed – the finest expression, in my opinion, to be found Continue reading “Sport, Sisyphus, and Schopenhauer”

Value your Freedom!

I sometimes wonder at the absurdities of life. Late trains plus rain and no umbrella, grumpy waiters who are grumpy for no apparent reason and the ringing of the phone just at the very moment I thought about somebody specific. I also wonder about why only the glass bottles slip out of my fingers and the plastic ones do not. But when I pause and stop to wonder and look around closely, in the big picture of things, these are really only minor problems and they do not disturb my personal freedom at all. I can walk and enjoy the rain and I can either accept that glass bottles simply slip through my fingers or buy the other version. But what if these little choices in life are simply not there anymore? Continue reading “Value your Freedom!”