Season: 3, Episodes: 1, Faction: N/A
Jimmy Lennon is a British man who, after bursting into the pub where Desmond was sitting, demanded the money the bartender owed him from a cricket match bet.
3×08 – Flashes Before Your Eyes
The first time Desmond experienced this event (as he remembers it), Lennon hit the bartender with a cricket bat. However, the second time it happened, in his flash after the discharge, Desmond warned the bartender to duck.
This warning caused Jimmy to miss, hitting Desmond in the back of the head instead, shifting Desmond’s consciousness to the future, as he wakes up naked on the Island. (“Flashes Before Your Eyes”)
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Symbolic Sisyphean Task = ‘Pushing The Button’
Decoded Season 3 Characters
Key Episode(s) to Decoding the Character
In Greek mythology Sisyphus was a king punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this throughout eternity. He is also found in Roman mythology. There was a non-Homeric tradition that Sisyphus was the true father of Odysseus.
The word “sisyphean” means “endless and unavailing, as labor or a task”.
Sisyphus was son of King Aeolus of Thessaly and Enarete, and the founder and first king of Ephyra (Corinth). He was the father of Glaucus by the nymph Merope, the brother of Salmoneus, and the grandfather of Bellerophon.
Sisyphus promoted navigation and commerce, but was avaricious and deceitful, violating the laws of hospitality by killing travelers and guests. He took pleasure in these killings because they allowed him to maintain his dominant position. Sisyphus and Salmoneus are known to hate each other. From Homer onwards, Sisyphus was famed as the craftiest of men. He seduced his niece Tyro, took his brother’s throne, and betrayed Zeus‘ secrets.
One of the secrets of Zeus that Sisyphus gave away was that he told the river god Asopus of the whereabouts of his daughter Aegina (an Asopides who was taken away by Zeus) in return for creating a spring on the Corinthian Acropolis. But regardless of the impropriety of Zeus’ frequent conquests, Sisyphus overstepped his bounds by considering himself a peer of the gods who could rightfully report their indiscretions.
Zeus then ordered Thanatos: God of Death to chain Sisyphus in Tartarus. Sisyphus slyly asked Thanatos to demonstrate how the chains worked. When Thanatos did so, Sisyphus secured them and trapped Thanatos. This caused an uproar since no human could die with Thanatos out of commission. Eventually Ares (who was annoyed that his battles had lost their fun because his opponents would not die) intervened, freeing Thanatos, and turning Sisyphus over to Thanatos.
However, before Sisyphus died, he had told his wife to throw his naked body into the middle of the public square (purportedly as a test of his wife’s love for him). This caused Sisyphus to end up on the shores of the river Styx. Then complaining to Persephone that this was a sign of his wife’s disrespect for him, Sisyphus persuaded her to allow him to go back to the upper world and scold his wife for not burying his body and giving him a proper funeral (as a loving wife should). Back in Corinth, Sisyphus’s spirit scolded his wife and dwelled the lands as a Taraxippus. When Sisyphus’ spirit refused to return to the Underworld, he was forcibly dragged back to the Underworld by Hermes.
In another version of the myth, Persephone was directly persuaded that he had been conducted to Tartarus by mistake and ordered him to be freed.
(“Pushing The Button”, On the Island)
As a punishment from the gods for his trickery, Sisyphus was made to roll a huge boulder up a steep hill, but before he could reach the top of the hill, the rock would always roll back down, forcing him to begin again. The maddening nature of the punishment was reserved for Sisyphus due to his hubristic belief that his cleverness surpassed that of Zeus. As a result when Sisyphus was condemned to his punishment, Zeus displayed his own cleverness by binding Sisyphus to an eternity of frustration with the boulder rolling away from Sisyphus when he neared the top of the hill. Accordingly, pointless or interminable activities are often described as Sisyphean. Sisyphus was a common subject for ancient writers and was depicted by the painter Polygnotus on the walls of the Lesche at Delphi.
According to the solar theory, Sisyphus is the disk of the sun that rises every day in the east and then sinks into the west. Other scholars regard him as a personification of waves rising and falling, or of the treacherous sea. The 1st-century BC Epicurean philosopher Lucretius interprets the myth of Sisyphus as personifying politicians aspiring for political office who are constantly defeated, with the quest for power, in itself an “empty thing”, being likened to rolling the boulder up the hill. Friedrich Welcker suggested that he symbolises the vain struggle of man in the pursuit of knowledge, and Salomon Reinach that his punishment is based on a picture in which Sisyphus was represented rolling a huge stone Acrocorinthus, symbolic of the labour and skill involved in the building of the Sisypheum. Albert Camus, in his 1942 essay The Myth of Sisyphus, saw Sisyphus as personifying the absurdity of human life, but Camus concludes “one must imagine Sisyphus happy” as “The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.”
In The Upside of Irrationality Dr. Dan Ariely describes an experiment that tests how people respond when the meaning of their work is diminished. The test condition is referred to as the Sisyphusian condition. The two main conclusions of the experiment are that
- People work harder when their work seems more meaningful
- People underestimate the relationship between meaning and motivation