“One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
amus concludes his essay by arguing that happiness and absurd awareness are intimately connected. We can only be truly happy, he suggests, when we accept our life and our fate as entirely our own—as
the only thing we have and as the only thing we will ever be. The final sentence reads: "One must imagine Sisyphus happy." But why must we imagine Sisyphus happy? Camus's wording suggests that we have no choice in the matter. But is there an alternative? Sisyphus is the absurd hero, the man who loved life so much that he has been condemned to an eternity of futile and hopeless labor. And yet he is above that fate precisely because he is aware of it. If Sisyphus is not happy in this awareness, then absurd awareness does not bring happiness. It would then follow that happiness is only possible if we evade absurd awareness, if we leap into hope or faith.
If the leap into hope or faith represents an attempt to escape from the reality of our fate, and if happiness is only possible through such a leap, then happiness would essentially be an escape. Life itself would be inherently unhappy and happiness would be a sham born out of denial.
The bottom line is this: we must imagine Sisyphus happy if we want to believe in genuine happiness. Though this is the last sentence of the essay, we might see it as the initial premise that starts Camus's reasoning. Because Camus essentially believes in the idea that individual human experience is the only thing that is real, if he wants to show that happiness is real he must show that individual humans can truly be happy based on their experiences, not on their denial of experience. If happiness is real, we must be able to find happiness without relying on hope, faith, or anything else that goes beyond immediate experience. There are several lines at the end of the story to indicate that Sisyphus (the absurd