The mythical character Sisyphus was punished by the gods for his cleverness. As mythological crimes go, cleverness hardly rates and his punishment was lenient — all he had to do was place a large boulder on top of a hill and then he could be on his way.
The first time Sisyphus rolled the boulder to the hilltop I imagine he was intrigued as he watched it roll back down on its own. Clever Sisyphus confidently tried again, but the gods, intent on condemning him to an eternity of mindless labor, had used their magic to ensure that the rock always rolled back down.
Could there be a better way to punish the clever?
Perhaps not. Nonetheless, my money is on Sisyphus because sometimes the only way to get it right is to get it wrong. A lot.
This is the principle of fruitful futility, or as I call it fruitility. Continue reading