ACEDIA

Definition of Acedia:
spiritual sloth or apathy, Seven deadly sins.
Synonyms of Acedia:
mortal sin, sloth, laziness, deadly sin, etc.

These notes are from literature about recovery in AA and/or related 12 step programs.
Readers are encouraged to click the external link for more detail.
We hope you find them helpful.
Love in fellowship.

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Acedia describes a state of listlessness, of not caring or not being concerned with one’s position or condition in the world. It can lead to a state of being unable to perform one’s duties in life.

Its spiritual overtones make it related to but arguably distinct from depression.

Acedia was originally noted as a problem among monks and other ascetics who maintained a solitary life.
Some see it as the precursor to sloth—one of the seven deadly sins.

Thomas Aquinas identifies acedia with “the sorrow of the world” that “worketh death” and contrasts it with that sorrow “according to God”. For Aquinas, acedia is “sorrow about spiritual good in as much as it is a Divine good.”

It becomes a mortal sin when reason consents to man’s “flight” from the Divine good, “on account of the flesh utterly prevailing over the spirit.”

Acedia is essentially a flight from the world that leads to not caring even that one does not care. The ultimate expression of this is a despair that ends in suicide.

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Moral theologians, intellectual historians and cultural critics have variously construed acedia as the ancient depiction of a variety of psychological states, behaviors or existential conditions: primarily laziness, apathy, ennui or boredom. In the late fourth century Evargius of Pontus, characterizes acedia as “the most troublesome of all” of the eight genera of evil thoughts.

As with those who followed him, Evargius sees acedia as a temptation, and the great danger lies in giving in to it. Acedia is indicated by a range of signs.

These signs are typically divided into two basic categories: somatic and psychological.
Acedia frequently presents signs somatically. Such bodily symptoms range from mere sleepiness to general sickness or debility, along with a host of more specific symptoms: weakness in the knees, pain in the limbs, and fever.

A host of psychological symptoms can also signify the presence of acedia, which affects the mental state and behavior of the afflicted. Some commonly reported psychological signs revolve around a lack of attention to daily tasks and an overall dissatisfaction with life. The best-known of the psychological signs of acedia is tedium, boredom or general laziness.

Author Kathleen Norris in her book “Acedia and Me” asserts that dictionary definitions such as torpor and sloth fail to do justice to this “temptation”; she believes a state of restlessness, of not living in the present and seeing the future as overwhelming is more accurate a definition than straight laziness.

Another sign is a lack of caring, of being unfeeling about things, whether that be your appearance, hygiene, your relationships, your communities welfare, the world’s welfare etc.; all of this, Norris relates, is connected to the hopelessness and vague unease that arises from having too many choices, lacking true commitment, of being “a slave from within”.

She relates this to forgetfulness about “the one thing needful”: remembrance of God. Anthony Robbins, the well-known life coach, also believes a lack of commitment to spiritual growth will lead to negative states of mind. –Hermitary/Acedia | More…

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