Acedia: The Etiology of Work-engendered Depression

New Ideas in Psychology 8 (3):389-396 (1990)
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There has been a general failure among mental health theorists and social psychologists to understand the etiology of work-engendered depression. Yet the condition is increasingly prevalent in highly industrialized societies, where an exclusionary focus upon work, money, and the things that money can buy has displaced values that traditionally exerted a liberating and humanizing influence. Social critics have called the result an impoverishment of the spirit, a state of cultural bankruptcy, and an incapacity for genuine leisure. From a clinical perspective, the condition has been diagnosed as widespread narcissism and obsessive work. Acedia, a concept developed by the Scholastics, throws clarifying light on the origin of this form of depression.
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