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Acedia: The Lost Name for the Emotion We’re All Feeling Right Now

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With some communities in rebooted lockdown conditions and movement restricted everywhere else, no one is posting pictures of their sourdough. Zoom cocktail parties have lost their novelty, Netflix can only release so many new series. The news seems worse every day, yet we compulsively scroll through it.

We get distracted by social media, yet have a pile of books unread. We keep meaning to go outside but somehow never find the time. We’re bored, listless, afraid, and uncertain.

What is this feeling?

John Cassian, a monk, and theologian wrote in the early 5th century about an ancient Greek emotion called acedia. A mind “seized” by this emotion is “horrified at where he is, disgusted with his room … It does not allow him to stay still in his cell or to devote any effort to reading”. He feels:

such bodily listlessness and yawning hunger as though he were worn by a long journey or a prolonged fast … Next he glances about and sighs that no one is coming to see him. Constantly in and out of his cell, he looks at the sun as if it were too slow in setting.

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Julien-Pier Belanger/Unsplash, CC BY

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Click the link below for the article:

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/acedia-the-lost-name-for-the-emotion-we-re-all-feeling-right-now

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