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Paperback Leisure : The Basis of Culture and the Philosophical Act Book

ISBN: 1586172565

ISBN13: 9781586172565

Leisure : The Basis of Culture and the Philosophical Act

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Book Overview

Josef Pieper's Leisure the Basis of Culture is among the most important philosophy books of the twentieth century. More remarkable still is the fact that the book's significance is greater today than when it was written more than half a century ago. This edition features a new foreword by noted Jesuit scholar James V. Schall. It also includes Pieper's essay The Philosophical Act. In Leisure the Basis of Culture, Pieper destroys common misconceptions...

Customer Reviews

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Killing the false Idol "Work" (Dru translation)

Pieper makes the argument that freedom and philosophy are closely related; bad philosophy can lead to enslavement of oneself or of societies as a whole. The Greeks (whom we take most of our higher level concepts from and who had perfected the ideals of freedom to their greatest level) viewed philosophy as closely linked to wonder, hope, and the marvelous; an open system that never doubted the presence of mystery even in one's ultimate thoughts, as opposed to some modern attempts that have created a "complete" philosophical system like Hegel's or Marx cause. One of the main points of Pieper is that our notion of work and how the word is used today is due to the influence of Marxist socialism upon our psyche and attack on our freedoms. Anything worth doing had to justify itself as work in the socialist/Marxist scheme, which included something that traditionally had been known as the antithesis of work being school or learning. We use words that justify what should more rightly be known as educational "efforts", or "studies", or "learning" as school "work". Everything has to serve a utilitarian aim as work in the modern jargon or become suspect. Pieper explains how this change, and others, in concepts of things has done something on par of putting more links in the chain that enslave us, we are our own keeper in how we think, or worse are enslaved by the system of government. Work more rightly is seen as taking care of the necessities: food, roof... The word for school comes from the Greek word for leisure, leisure is the proper use of extra time to make oneself a greater whom ever you are supposed to be. This is what Aristotle means when he says, "I work in order that I may have leisure." Which really means I take care of my basic needs in order that I have time to examine being in relation to all things. Acadia, sloth, laziness, a sitting in front of the tv jell-o"ing" is rightly opposite of leisure. This change in terminology is significant in how people view themselves; Marxist socialism did effect English speakers to their very linguistic core and continues to have an effect today on how we use words to justify things and those same words interact with related concepts. Without the proper usage of leisure as a concept sloth and slothful activities have been given free reign to run rampant only hindered by the term "work" which is a pitiful replacement for leisure which means time to make oneself the more beautiful person you were supposed to be includeing efforts to understand creation and interrelations of all things both inwardly and outwardly. Work is more analagous to laying brick and morter, leisure to the making of pottery on a potter's wheel (although this is simpistic). The book's messages have broad meaning. It contains only a minor insignificant attack on what is known as the "Protestant Work Ethic" only as it might be blind to Marxist inroads on linguistic attacks and its comments on leisure's effect on the contemplative life ar

An antitode for post-modern man and his scepticism

I am no philosopher, but I have always loved Plato and have with Pieper's help learned to appreciate Aristotle again. This little book is the most influential for me besides perhaps Plato. I have been rereading it for 14 years, and wish I had read it more often. Until recently I don't think I understood the second piece, and every time I read it again there are gems of insight, undiscovered before. Read it with friends, preferably. If you are the skeptic or cynic, Pieper has an antitode. He did at least for me. One note: I have the original translation by Alexander Dru with introduction by T.S. Eliot. I don't know why another was made. I don't know German, but the English is very clear and flows well.

This is not like Travel & Leisure

This is the 50th anniversary edition of Josef Pieper's philosophical classic which was originally published in German in 1948. Pieper defines leisure not as we understand it in the 21st century, but within the philosophical-theological context of divine play and its impact on the intellect as it was universally accepted from the pre-Christian Greek philosophers and later developed by Aquinas. The importance of leisure was unchallenged until Kant usurped it in 1796 with a philosophy of reason and work; "...the law of reason is supreme, whereby property is possessed through labor." Kant's philosophy gained acceptance and became well suited to the industrial revolution which soon followed.Pieper takes the command "Be still (at leisure) and know that I am God" - Psalm 45 and distills it from there. Leisure is non-active; it is receptive and consists of contemplation or celebration. Like grace, intuitive and creative thoughts are communicated while at leisure. I find Pieper's premise true because my most inspiring thoughts come while taking a shower or while on a walk through the woods. Einstein would also agree, because he was riding his bike when the theory of relativity crystalized in his mind. Also in this 160 pge book are Pieper's 1947 lectures collectively entitled The Philosphical Act. He begins by quoting Thomas Aquinas, "The reason why the philosopher can be compared to the poet is that both are concerned with wonder." It flows from there.Pieper's philosophy is reflected today in the Slow (Food) Movement. It's also understandable how Pieper made a significant impact on E.F. Schumacher and his Buddhist economics as contained in Small is Beautiful.

Leisure, Contemplation, and Culture

The excellent Malsbury translation of Pieper's famous work brings together many of the themes found in other works of the author. For instance, leisure or stillness, is not to be thought of as leisure in the contemporary sense. Leisure is to be thought of in a framework of an teleology which is a contemplation of ends, or last things. Since man is made for union with God, human work is not seperate from this end. Today, the work of man is an end in itself, and philsophical anthropology and culture suffers. Pieper shows how this is a reorientation from the classical and scholastic world view which shared a common vision of anthropology as man seeking those things which are above. This book is a must read for all those who think modern culture is suffering from an identity crisis.

Thought provoking, a must read to experience inner peace.

Excellent translation by Gerald Malsbary. This book needs to be read several times in order to grasp the real message. Pieper's vision of leisure is synonymous to divine grace. You come away from this reading with a renewed outlook on life.
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