Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Idleness, for the older code of behavior, meant especially this: that the human being had given up on the very responsibility that comes with his dignity: that he does not want to be what God wants him to be, and that means that he does not want to be what he is really, and in the ultimate sense, is. Acedia is the "despair of weakness", of which Kierkegaard said that it consists in someone "despairingly" not wanting "to be oneself". The metaphysical-theological concept of idleness means, then, that behind all his energetic activity, he is not at one with himself; that, as the Middle Ages expressed it, sadness has seized him in the face of the divine Goodness that lives within him – and this sadness is that "sadness of the world" spoken of in the Bible.

-Josef Pieper, Leisure, the Basis of Culture

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