Acedia and Its Discontents: Metaphysical Boredom in an Empire of Desire

R.J. SnellApr 15, 2015

While the term acedia may be unfamiliar, the vice, usually translated as sloth, is all too common. Sloth is not mere laziness, however, but a disgust with reality, a loathing of our call to be friends with God, and a spiteful hatred of place and life itself. As described by Josef Pieper, the slothful person does not “want to be as God wants him to be, and that ultimately means he does not wish to be what he really, fundamentally is.” Sloth is a hellish despair.

Our own culture is deeply infected, choosing a destructive freedom rather than the good work for which God created us. Acedia and Its Discontents resists despair, calling us to reconfigure our imaginations and practices in deep love of the life and work given by God. By feasting, keeping sabbath, and working well, we learn to see the world as enchanting, beautiful, and good—just as God sees it.