Monday, November 10, 2008

Hermit's sloth: Introducing "accidie"

Casorati, L'attesa
Reading Sarah Maitlands new book, A Book of Silence, I was surprised and happy to find an extremely pertinent chapter on something called "accidie", basically a specialized kind of hermit's sloth. Apparently monks and recluses have known about this for a long time: Spend some time in seclusion and silence, and sooner or later you're going to stop sweeping the floor and washing the windows, and end up solving one sudoku puzzle after the other with a wooly blanket on your lap, considering the merits of turning in at eight o'clock in the evening.
These symptoms, I am sorry to say, dovetail pretty well into how I've been feeling these last weeks. After three and a half years up here, I definately and rather suddenly seem to have lost a lot of self-discipline and drive.
Ascetics who were really living on the edge, and say, people on really hard expeditions, do not seem to suffer from accidie. Though when I think about it, it sounds like the kind of mindset some adventurers inevitably encountered in those long periods when they would have to stop travelling for the winter, and hole up in their ship or whatever.
Old-school hermits had a cure, judging from Maitlands book. Which was an even more ascetic lifestyle, chock full of a never ending stream of obligations. This makes sense too, I've wondered if roughing it even more, say by simply not lighting up the wood stove in the evenings, might propel me into getting things done and not just slouch around, making notes of every little pain in my bones and getting myself another cup of tea.
There's a lot to be said about A Book of Silence. And maybe I'll say it later. If I can just shake off this goddamn accidie.


granskauen said...

jeg hakke peil på sånne fine ord for det jeg føler av og til, men jeg lever jo mye mer sammen med folk enn du gjør. I hundemiljøet snakkes det jo mye om dørterskelmila, DEN kjenner vi og er blitt vant til å overse. Så nå setter vi pris på at glatta er borte og vi kan bevege oss på fire hjul uten fare for livet.
Blir du med til Juluss? Jeg kan hente deg og dine på Movatn fredag morgen vet du!
Nå til helga.....hehe.

Northmark said...

Ha ha! Nå er det vel NETTOPP du som har peil på fine ord!

granskaumusher i natta said...

vi som meg kan bare fine ord for kroppsdeler, kke for det som måtte foregå inne i knolen på folk av finere følelsesliv (mer nyansert en psykediagnoser mener jeg)
Glatt var det bare her og der, håper du kom deg pent hjem da.....