Lockdowns, "Acedia" and the Ancient Greeks!

Updated: Aug 31, 2021

The Ancient Greeks had a word for the specific kind of bad you’re feeling right now. Listless and unable to motivate yourself to get your work and other things done? That’s ‘acedia.’ Derived from Greek roots that mean a seizing up or freezing of feelings, the experience was apparently fairly common among Medieval monks shut away in monasteries.


As Melbourne goes back into another snap lockdown it seems mankind is no stranger to lockdowns. Monks and millennials may be stuck at home for very different reasons, but the human response to enforced immobility remains unchanged. For centuries, lockdowns have made us exhausted and unable to motivate ourselves to do work that’s sitting right in front of us.

So if you are wondering around aimlessly around your house yawning for no apparent reason and struggling to persuade yourself to do one of the many positive things you know you should do, don’t call yourself depressed or lazy. Tell yourself you have acedia and that it’s 100 percent natural for humans to respond to physical and social isolation this way. By identifying acedia you are already one step ahead of most people and on the path to beating it!