Dec 7, 2012

Home Reading: 'Myth of Sisyphus' by Albert Camus - On the Writer, Actor and Traveler

<< crossposted on the 'Let's Get Real podcast' blog
'The Myth of Sisyphus' by Albert Camus
For as long as I can remember I've always been curious about other people's lives and being a fly on the wall. Its where my passion for documentaries, DVD commentaries and podcasts stem from. Its also what I've found most fascinating about travel, the dynamic experience and exchange of stories which I've explored through Couchsurfing and 'Ego-Tripping'.

Though I have a good friend who is a big proponent of French philosopher Albert Camus, I've only recently become familiar with his work. A passage on Drama in his book 'Myth of Sisyphus' sheds some light on the root of my fascination.
Myth of Sisyphus
Hence the actor has chosen multiple fame, the fame that is hallowed and tested. From the fact the everything is to die some day he draws the best conclusion, An actor succeeds or does not succeed. A writer has some hope even if he is not appreciated. He assumes that his works will bear witness to what he was...

What more revelatory epitome can be imagined than those marvellous lives, those exceptional and total destinies unfolding for a few hours within a stage set? Off the stage, Sigismundo ceases to count. Two hours later he is seen dining out. Then it is, perhaps, that life is a dream... By thus sweeping over centuries and minds, by miming man as he can be and as he is, the actor has much in common with that other absurd individual, the traveller...

To what the degree the actor benefits from the characters is hard to say. But that is not the important thing. It is merely a matter of knowing how far he identifies himself with those irreplaceable lives. It often happens that he carries them with him, that they somewhat overflow the time and place in which they were born. They accompany the actor, who cannot very readily separate himself from what he has been... He abundantly illustrates every month or everyday that so suggestive truth that there is no frontier between what a man wants to be and what he is. Always concerned with better representing, he demonstrates to what a degree appearing creates being. For that is his art- to simulate absolutely, to project himself as deeply as possible into lives that are not his own. At the end of his effort his vocation becomes clear: to apply himself wholeheartedly to being nothing or to being several. The narrower the limits allotted him for creating his character the more necessary his talent. He will die in three hours under the mask he has assumed to-day. That is called losing oneself to find oneself.
'The Hero with a Thousand Faces' - Joseph Campbell
- Ego Tripping: (A vacation from yourself)
- Louis Theroux, Couchsurfing and Holland
- Other people's stories - Tales of: Adventure
- Trigger: Ego Tripping in Portugal - Sintra, Obidos, Ericeria, Coimbra
- Trigger: Egotripping II - England, on the road again

Update: I appeared on Community Radio discussing 'Myth of Sisyphus'

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