Acedia (Latin, acedia) (from Greek ??????) is the neglect to take care of something that one should do. It is translated to apatheticlistlessness; depression without joy. It is similar to melancholy, although acedia describes the behaviour, while melancholy suggests the emotion producing it. In early Christian thought, the lack of joy was regarded as a willful refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world God created; by contrast, apathy was considered a refusal to help others in time of need. (Source Wikipedia)
Sloth on a personal level is something which is not something I want to touch. It is between a man and his maker. Acedia at a macro level is something that bothers me. The Aussies have coined a phrase for this malaise that really is all pervasive. They call it NIMBY or “not in my backyard.” So if something does not affect me, my family and friends, I don’t care.
This is what happened when Hitler started singling out the Jews. Remember the infamous star they forced the Jews to wear on their sleeves? No one protested, no one questioned this strange form of singling them out. It was because it affected only the Jews. Later on, when the anti jew campaign gathered strength it made it so easy for them to pick them out and gas them.
I see this happening to us at every level. Someone is being ill treated in her marital home, we refuse to step in, even though it bothers us. We will discuss it, “The family that lives in the corner house is not good. They don’t treat the girl right.” But we don’t step in. What can we do? After all, its not in my backyard …
We catch a neighbour’s son rolling a joint or in the company of someone who looks like a punk, we turn a blind eye. NIMBY …
Someone takes a bribe, someone offers it … we shrug and move on, living our lives, only to find out much later that this has become endemic in the system. Then we grumble, we protest, we curse the system.
One snake, it is said pollutes the waters. One apathetic response to injustice can help make the injustice ‘custom”.
That is what has happened to the dowry problem. That is what has happened to the graft problem. No one raised a voice when these things started. And now nothing moves without some “kharcha paani” as bribe is euphemistically called. You want a licence … your kid wants to do his medicine or engineering … you are expected to shell out.
Recently I have been seeing and reading about universities that deliberately fail the students so that they can get hefty bribes to pass those kids. And no, these are bright kids that can get pass marks easily.
I suppose the first time this happened, every one shrugged and turned a blind eye.
This is sloth at a grand scale
It is Acedia
A Systemic Failure