Reflections on Sisyphus and Victimhood after a Marathon

Marathon is not fun. But it is not too bad either. There is even some perverse pleasure (jouissance) in suffering. In fact, the whole experience grew progressively better—even enjoyable—in the last 10km. Mainly because my muscles really broke down, so I was forced to walk (whilst also running when I can and sitting down every few hundred meters to allow my legs to recover), and my airpods ran out of battery, so I had to listen.

Two things that I’ve really understood from the experience:

  1. We say power corrupts. But we normally only mean the possessor of power. But the oppressed, the sufferer, the victim of power, can also be corrupt—perhaps even more so. One feels as if one has to license to do anything because one has suffered so much. One becomes lazy because of some misfortune that has happened to one in the past. One entitles oneself to everything because of one’s status as a victim. Perhaps this should be permitted. But that is not the way to live one’s life. We should hold ourselves accountable, compare ourselves to the highest moral ideal, no matter where we are.
  2. What I just said then is impossibly hard. Camus, of course, famously said that One must imagine Sisyphus happy. But it is not so easy to be a happy Sisyphus. Suicide is a more likely outcome. That is, however, just the struggle.

Do run a Marathon. Even if you go in without any preparation (like me). You won’t regret it. I certainty did not.

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