Struggling With A Bad Thought

April 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured

By Kathleen Norris, Special to CNN

April 6, 2010 8:16 a.m. EDT

tzleft.norris.courtesy.jpg

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Author: Acedia is profound indifference and inability to care about things that matter
  • Early Christians recognized acedia as one of “eight bad thoughts”
  • Kathleen Norris: Like spiritual morphine; pain is there, but you can’t give a damn
  • No remedy, but you can learn to recognize it and resist it

Editor’s note: Kathleen Norris is a poet and the author of The New York Times bestsellers “The Cloister Walk”, “Dakota: A Spiritual Geography” and “Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith.” She recently finished a tour for her latest book, “Acedia and Me.”

(CNN) — On a recent trip across America, what surprised me most was the number of people — over 200 in one city, 80 to 150 elsewhere — who wanted to discuss this odd word, “acedia.”

It’s an ancient term signifying profound indifference and inability to care about things that matter, even to the extent that you no longer care that you can’t care.

I liken it to spiritual morphine: You know the pain is there but can’t rouse yourself to give a damn. Read more

Share