Monday, October 31, 2016

An Introduction to 'Time and Despondency'

Dear Parish Faithful,
In yesterday's post-Liturgy discussion, we were treated to a short, but excellent presentation by our former parishioner, Dr. Nicole Roccas. Nicole spoke of her forthcoming book that will be titled Time and Despondency.  In fact, she actually read the first couple of pages of her Introduction for us yesterday.

It was all quite intriguing, and based on these few pages I am now eagerly anticipating the release of her book sometime next year.  A fruitful discussion ensued as Nicole was able to take on a few good questions in our short time frame.  In her book, she will be dealing with the phenomenon of despondency, and how that universal affliction relates to time.  Thus, though she will be dependent for her analysis of despondency as found in the penetrating insights of the desert dweller and writer, Evagrius of Pontus, she will make a new contribution to that analysis by relating it to the concept of time - the subject of her doctoral dissertation - and, of course, placing her analysis within a contemporary setting that will speak to us today.

This brought to mind a former meditation on that theme that I wrote a few years back (2012), based on a book review of the theme of despondency, which is one of many translations of the Gk. word akedia (Latin, accedie; rendered in English as acedia), almost a technical term that describes one of the many "passions" that can afflict us today as it did the early Christian ascetics. (This was a Lenten meditation, but this theme is not restricted to a particular liturgical season).

Reading through this meditation, I believe that Nicole and I are interpreting akedia it in a very similar way, so if you missed her discussion yesterday, perhaps some of the ideas she presented  can also be found here.  I believe that her use of the term despondency works better over-all than the word depression. It is my humble opinion that if anyone believes that he or she is not suffering from akedia/despondency on some level, then that person is further suffering from self-delusion.

Acedia and Us and Our Lenten Effort

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