Mód: The Evolution of “Moody”

What is moody?

Whoa! How did we get here? I mean “to this emotional state.” Moody? Was it always like this? What word did our medieval predecessors use for moodiness? It certainly wasn’t mood in the sense that we use it. They had to have some word for people who moped in sullen self-absorption, apparently quietly angry at the world.

Our word mood derives from Anglo-Saxon mód that probably indicated “the spiritual part” of humans. But don’t think monk in a chapel. The word incorporated courage, high spirit, pride, arrogance, and even wrath in people and greatness and magnificence in inanimate objects. Other related languages, like Old Saxon, Old Frisian, and Old High German had meanings that included mind and heart. How we have changed!

Think now. Moody person. What’s your image? Is it a person of courage? Of high spirit? I’m guessing it isn’t. You are probably thinking mopey-head sulker. How did we get here? What transpired between medieval and modern times that altered not just the nature of civilization, but also the nature of individuals that adopted a very different sense for mood?

Is it the softness of life outside the boundaries of natural catastrophes, war, and violence? Or is it that even those events exacerbate moodiness in the modern mode? Is moodiness a part of humanity for generations to come? Is it the product of self-absorption, of a ME-culture? 

Take stock. In what circumstances do you see moodiness? Does it, for example, occur during acts of selfless charity? Is it ever present during emergency aid? Oh! Maybe it does occur during those instances, but not in the modern sense. More likely you see it in the medieval sense of courage and high spirit (but not in the medieval sense of wrath). Are moody people likely to be those who pull people from burning cars? Do they stop to give aid and comfort to those in need? Are they prepared to face the harsh realities of life?

How did we get here? I mean where so many in our society have come “to this emotional state.” Something changed between the medieval past and the present. I can’t imagine what change will occur between the moody present and the future.