An incoming link drew my attention to a wonderful series at Patristics and Philosophy, entitled Eight Evil Thoughts. The summaries of each Evil Thought are marvellous! The material is drawn from Evagrius.
Particularly interesting to me was the Sixth Evil Thought. It is:
…a type of restlessness that comes upon the monk around noon. What generally happens is this. First, the monk begins to feel that the day is just dragging along or that the task set before him is too difficult. Then, the monk searches to see if any of the other monks are coming to visit him. If not, he returns to his task. However, soon there grows dissatisfaction with where he is at in his life and that none of the other monks care about him. If anyone has done him wrong, he begins to think on that which then leads to anger. Since where he is at now is so terrible, he dwells on thoughts of foreign places and thinks about how wonderful they would be. He then begins to rationalize the need to leave his current location…
I was tempted to replace the word “monk” with “programmer”. I’ve worked in places like that, in truth!
One of the very nice elements of the series is the references, which include “ET” (which I think means “English translation”). Far more blog posts should have these. It is, in my opinion, a failing of WordPress and other blogging software that it is actually rather awkward to add footnotes.
Returning to the subject, however, I think we need to be a little wary. Asceticism is not the way that Christ preached, but is really borrowed from the world, I think. But there is much practical wisdom to be found in these ideas for the Christian.
And for the programmer.