“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” In Samuel Beckett’s call for renewed, better failure evokes something soothing, and encouraging. Is the concept of failure generally connoted negatively or can it still be understood as a constant human attempt to develop the individual? In contrast to animals, the human being falls 2000 times on an average before it takes its first step. The French philosopher Henri Bergson considers us as the only living beings to always act in the hope of success and fear of failure. And just as this repeated falling enables the development of running, people struggle lifelong with questions about the meaning of life. According to Immanuel Kant human reason enables people to ask questions but is at the same time too limited to conceive possible answers to these. Symbolically Sisyphus embodies this failure from greek mythology. In his tireless attempt rolling a heavy rock up the hill again and again, which every time getting to the top slips away again, is reflected the absurdity of life. The absurd, as Albert Camus writes in „The Myth of Sisyphus“, only arises from this juxtaposition of the questioning person and a unreasonable muted world. In my thesis entitled „Failure as a Principle of Being Human – The Motif of failure: an analytical discourse based on the works of Samuel Beckett and selected performances by Marina Abramović “I dealt with the failure as a Conditio Humana and its importance in the artistic process. I am equally fascinated by the uncompromising nature of the two artists, who not only deal with the topic of failure in their works, but also incorporate it into their work, as well as their courage and vulnerability. The starting point for this work was my own fear of failure. Man is born alone and dies by himself. In the meantime he comes in contact with his fellow human beings. Just like any relationship is at risk of failure, so are humanistic values like freedom and charity, too. „Fall, rising“ is concerned with the circle of life. In Beckett’s call for a renewed attempt to fail better, I recognize Camus’ reference of the questioning man in a world that cannot be explained to him. The three consequences that Camus derives from the absurd, his revolt, freedom and passion, may be found in the acceptance of failing. According to Camus, Sisyphus should be imagined as a happy person.
© Ragna Arndt Maric