In fact, experts say that the #1 cause of aggravated noodgery is boredom.
Acedia is associated with a "wandering unrest of the spirit" (Pieper). This is because the spiritual life draws us toward our center, such that the alternative is a flight to the periphery of ourselves; the acediacidal mooniac "has to make the vain attempt to break out of his own center -- for example, into restless work [or "activism"] for the sake of work," or "into the unquenchable curiosity for pure spectacle," or into the myriad ways "of abandoning oneself to the world" and ultimately avoiding onesoph.
This is the same unrest that drives one of those compulsive fallow travelers "from one part of the world to another." It also goes to "the endless talk that fills up everyday existence." Ever been to a house where the TV is on all the time, even though no one is watching it? More generally, it's becoming impossible to avoid the Screen, whether at the doctor's office, airport, gas pumps, etc. Why is that? I would say it's not even distraction; rather, distraction from distraction.
Which is again a capital sin. Acedia is full of possibilities, none of them good. It is as if the acediac "wishes that God had not given him this gift" -- i.e., the Adventure of Consciousness -- "but had 'left him in peace.'" He "does not want to attain the end which is really designed for him and is appropriate for him" (Pieper).
Interestingly, because acedia is misleadingly translated as "sloth," you wouldn't know that acedia and leisure are at antipodes. In other words, laziness has nothing to do with genuine Slack.
Many things in life legitimately serve other purposes, such as working in order to eat. But leisure involves activities -- or inactivities -- which serve no purpose outside themselves. Their value is intrinsic, not extrinsic. And all of the higher and laughty things in life are intrinsic, e.g., love, truth, beauty, humor, music, baseball, this blog, etc.
There is servitude and there is freedom, and only the intrinsic is truly free. This was originally the difference between the liberal and servile arts. Which is ironic, because today's unemployable liberal arts major has, of course, obtained a degree in a "useless" subject.
However, the degree is doubly useless, because it has neither extrinsic nor intrinsic value. Rather, it's just very expensive unalloyed bullshit -- a total waste. And it certainly doesn't contribute to personal liberation, rather, to the auto-oppression of liberal victim ideology.
Someone left a comment on yesterday's post adverting to the importance of ears over eyes, of hearing over seeing. Well, "Leisure is precisely that form of silence which is a presupposition for hearing something" (ibid.).
Like right now, I'm banging at the keys but I'm listening at the same time, for "Only the silent person is able to hear. Leisure is the attitude of purely receptive immersion of the self into reality; the soul's openness, to which alone are given the very great fulfilling insights that no [mere] 'intellectual work' can achieve" (ibid.).
Not so much cerebration as celebration. I think it was Russell Kirk who said that the essence of conservatism is enjoyment. It is enjoyment because it is rooted in the feast of the now which extends backward and forward, down and up, all the way into eternity. It is "to see the world as a whole and to celebrate it," to experience ourselves as "related to the totality of the world through a free activity" (Pieper).
And through such truly free activity we crown the creation which has only been groaning for this liberation for like 14 billion years...