Sisyphus gotta have his cheevos

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One time I was tasked with an extremely pointless household chore by my rather stern aunt, it was on the weekend too and I found it galling to see all my friends going about their daily affairs while I had to toil in the hot sun.

Finally I hit upon the expedient of pretending that the whole thing was a game, and within a short time others of my friends actually wanted to help. In order to not make it too easy for them I sold the opportunity to take part. By the time I was done I had sold the opportunity for these kids to take part in what others would consider manual labor for - in total - an apple, a kite in good repair, a dead rat and a string to swing it with, twelve marbles, part of a jews-harp, a piece of blue bottle-glass to look through, a spool cannon, a key that wouldn’t unlock anything, a fragment of chalk, a glass stopper of a decanter, a tin soldier,
a couple of tadpoles, six fire-crackers, a kitten with only one eye, a brass door-knob, a dog-collar – but no dog – the handle of a knife, four pieces of orange-peel, and a dilapidated old window sash.

I felt after all that, that I had discovered a great law of human achievement, namely, that in order to make anybody covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. Sisyphus was probably the only person who’s unlocked that achievement in all of Hell, he has a right to be excited.


If you read every single post and comment on BoingBoing and make comments yourself in every single discussion you will unlock achievements that may make you want to continue that behavior - or it may cause you to reevaluate your daily routine. :smile:


wait… are you tom sawyer?


I realize that this isn’t the point of the story; but I was never able to banish a nagging curiosity about how Sisyphus was forced to keep at his eternal labor.

He presumably can’t escape the underworld; but what’s to stop him just sitting down and slacking off? It’s not as though he has many privileges to take away; and he is presumably bored enough that many normally punitive measures might end up being a reprieve from the tedium. Does he have to roll a boulder uphill forever while having his liver torn out if he stops rolling it uphill for too long?


He’s today’s Tom Sawyer, mean mean pride


On the other hand, I am again trying to swear off playing a lousy MMO I started playing some time ago, which has lousy gameplay and a wretched, linear story, and lots of grinding – because I feel vaguely like I’m being irresponsible somehow by not completing the grinding.


I always forget about Existential Comics, then I read one and remember how awesome it is…

And couldn’t this be my second use for a time machine? First, it can be for going to see shows that I missed… then it can be for taking philosophers out of the time stream to game with.

Wow, the language! I’d forgotten how beautifully Mark Twain strung words together. Thanks for that - excellent first post.

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In the legend of Sisyphis I thought the point was that there would never be achievement. Never be anything else to experience. That was what made it punishment. It was the only thing he could do, he couldn’t walk away or experience anything else. It was all that remained of his universe. If he didn’t push the rock, then there was literally nothing.

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Yes, exactly. The point depends upon that: that we’ll willingly do otherwise meaningless labor, for such a tiny hint of meaning.

Wait has anyone used this site?

I tried randomly gamifying my todo list with epic win app

and … eh, you just see right through it. It’s no Vegas casino or Zynga. It did not work for me at all.

It’s funny how the psychology of it works.

All the time in message boards for CRPGs, you see people trying to figure out how to cheat just enough to get the “right” ending, but not so much that it doesn’t still feel like they earned it.

Oh this phenomenon is well known:

The experiments Ariely conducts prove again and again that most people will consistently and reliably cheat “just a little”, to the extent that they can still consider themselves honest people

And the problem with self-reporting faux RPGs like Habitica is… there’s no way not to cheat. Nobody but you can know if you did that stuff!

It would work if other people reported your success on your behalf, e.g. a peer reviewed system like we did at Stack.


That’s the one aspect of CBT that’s never worked for me. They always recommend this sequence of events:

  1. Write down a list of tasks you must accomplish
  2. Figure out a reward you want
  3. Do tasks
  4. Give yourself the reward

The problem being: if you can give yourself a reward, then why do the task in the first place?

If I’m rewarding myself with a bag of M&Ms for doing my homework, then there’s nothing keeping me from just blowing off boring irrelevant homework and eating the bag of M&Ms besides my own impulse control. The main problem here is that I’m in CBT for ADHD in the first place, so assuming I can control my impulses well is wrong from the beginning.

It’s not like failing to do an arbitrary task makes the M&Ms I administer to myself makes them in any way unavailable.


I have a problem with CBT too. How do you do step two when you are severely depressed, when step one involves things like get out of bed, wash yourself, feed yourself, not kill yourself?


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