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29 November 2009

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S. Gokcen

Implied in the 14c definition of common sense is that the ordinary senses are reliable. What happens to our sensory functions when they are conditioned to a certain end only and therefore become unreliable? The purpose of the senses is to link the inner to the outer world. What happens when we lose the calibration of our instrument?

My old teacher used to say:
We look but we do not see.
We listen but we do not hear.
We touch but we do not feel.

Maybe in our electronic age our machines have become more reliable than we are; our sense of time is totally corrupted, our inner rhythms unbalanced.
So common sense, a natural function of human beings is no longer normal.

S. Gokcen

My understanding of the midday demon is acedia.

From Evagrius’ Praktikos (12):
The demon of acedia which is also called the ‘midday demon’ is the worst of all. It attacks the monk at about the fourth hour and lays siege to the soul until the eighth hour.
First he makes it seem as though the sun hardly moves or has stopped, and the day goes on for fifty hours. Then he makes the monk fix his eyes continually on the window, to leave his cell, to watch the sun to see if it near the ninth hour, and to look about him to see if a brother is not coming. Then again he inspires in him disgust for the place where he is, for the life that he leads, for manual work. After that he puts into his head the idea that charity has disappeared from among the brethren, and there is no one to console him.
If it happens during this time that someone offends the monk, the demon uses this too to increase his distress. He prompts him to desire to live elsewhere, in a place where he can find what he needs more easily, follow a less arduous calling and one which brings greater success. He then suggests that it is not the place which pleases the Lord; according to the Bible God can be adored everywhere.
On top of all this, he recalls to the monk’s memory his family and the life he led in the world. He puts into his head the idea that life lasts a long time and asceticism is very laborious. In short he does all he can to persuade the monk abandon his cell and run away from the struggle.
No other demon follows this one. If the soul triumphs a state of peace and inexpressible joy comes over him.

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