Sunday, September 21, 2008

i don't care

in the l.a. times today, lynell george had a really interesting profile of kathleen norris, whose new book is called acedia and me.

ace-what now? acedia, which apparently means "sloth" (aka one of the seven deadly sins), but it is a latin word that literally means "absence of caring." let lynell explain...

...Since her teens she'd struggled with episodes of inertia that spread into a bleak stretch of anxiousness and eventually spun out into indifference.

The first one started with a single thought that "slithered into my Eden, pulling a string of other thoughts, each one worse than the one before," she writes.

That moment would mark the beginning of a recurrence of "bleak moods," but it wouldn't be until Norris reached her 30s that she ran across a word -- acedia -- in the writings of , a 4th century monk, that precisely described not just the mood but the course it would run and the damage it could do:

"The demon of acedia -- also called the noonday demon -- is the one that causes the most serious trouble of all. . . . He makes it seem that the sun barely moves, if at all, and . . . he instills in the heart of the monk a hatred for the place, a hatred for his very life itself." ...

hey, i can relate! so, i read the whole article, and it was frankly fascinating. i kind of want to read the book too. i think nihilism might be, like, the little sister of acedia? (like how sleep is the little brother of death or whatev.) at least that's what i was thinking after the ramones' "i don't care" popped into my head while i was deciding what to call this post (excellent live clip on the title link; original album audio here). it's not a perfect fit -- sure, there's a kind of bored quality to the drone of the riff and chord changes, and the lyrics are all, "i don't care about this world." but when joey asserts "i don't care about that girl," you're thinking, "oh yes you DO, dude."

but, anyway. yeah. acedia, not depression. not the same as "carbona not glue" ... but enough with the ramones refs, awreddy.

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