Welcome to Acedia

One of the reasons you are rushing about is because you are running away from yourself.*
(David Brooks)

in finding your True Self, you will have found an absolute reference point that is both utterly within you and utterly beyond you at the very same time**
(Richard Rohr)

Slowly the flame reduces, its wildness lost, heat dissipating, brightness diminishing and then it changes colour. Welcome to Acedia:

Acedia is the quieting of passion.*

David Brooks claims the state of acedia exists within the world of meritocracy, a place people are pulled into because they are given a load of freedom but nothing to help them figure out what they really want to do with it, their passion or desire:

Desire makes you adhesive. Desires pushes you to get close – to the person, the job, or town you love. But lack of desire leaves you detached, and distils in you over time an attitude of emotional avoidance, a phoney nonchalance. In short, the meritocracy encourages you to drift into a life that society loves but which you don’t. It’s impossible to feel wholehearted.*

I am playing with a few ideas to see how they overlap.

Remembering Ursula Franklin‘s proposal that all systems are technologies, I wonder whether prescriptive, production technologies are more likely to separate us from our True Self whilst holistic, growth technologies are more likely to join us.

I also wonder whether James Carse would equate the false self with a finite game (exclusive, goal-driven, rule-bound) and the True Self with the infinite (inclusive, game-driven, rule-changing).

Life is bigger than any of us know, but we are all invited to enter and explore. Rainer Maria Rilke writes about nature being greater than culture, and I borrow this sentiment for the larger life:

But, again and again throughout millennia, those forces shake off their names and rise like an oppressed class against their little masters, or not even against them – they simply rise and the various cultures slide off the shoulders of the earth, which is once again great and expansive and alone with its oceans, trees, and stars.^

We are cordially invited to leave Acedia for our great passion and True Self.

(*From David Brooks’ The Second Mountain.)
(**From Richard Rohr’s Immortal Diamond.)
(^From Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters on Life.)

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