I substitute one pursuit for another so that whatever progress I make, it is not so much the result of striving towards some goal but of avoiding that goal in favor of a diversion which becomes all-consuming until I tire of it and return to my original goal as a diversion from the diversion. It is a tricky business. The danger is that all the diversions become simultaneously exhausted and paralysis sets in, or what the medievals referred to as acedia of the soul, anomie, apathy, listlessness, boredom, sloth, despair.


  1. oldpeculiar says

    You’re playing a dangerous game and someone’s going to get hurt.

  2. Jonathan Webb says

    Stomach flu will resolve some of these problems.

  3. Jonathan Potter says

    Having a child is also an antidote to this — probably God’s favorite antidote. This is actually an excerpt from a 15-page novel I wrote several years ago (which my agent is still circulating among the big-name publishers). Now that I have a bady cum toddler in my life, all my diversions and diversive activities have been swallowed up in wonder and the basic need for sleep. Enrolling in a PhD program might have a similar effect.

  4. Alison VonDerLand says

    Writing a novel (like, over 200 pages) might be another antidote. Walker Percy said writing The Moviegoer did more good for his psyche than years of therapy.

  5. Korrektiv says

    Purity of heart is to will one thing.

  6. I think you should set goals. Visualize where you want to be in a month, a year and in twenty years. Detail the steps necessary get there and chart your progress with a bulletin board.

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