Leisure The Basis Of Culture Quotes

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Leisure is only possible when we are at one with ourselves. We tend to overwork as a means of self-escape, as a way of trying to justify our existence.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
Of course the world of work begins to become - threatens to become - our only world, to the exclusion of all else. The demands of the working world grow ever more total, grasping ever more completely the whole of human existence.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
The inmost significance of the exaggerated value which is set upon hard work appears to be this: man seems to mistrust everything that is effortless; he can only enjoy, with a good conscience, what he has acquired with toil and trouble; he refused to have anything as a gift.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
The vacancy left by absence of worship is filled by mere killing of time and by boredom, which is directly related to inability to enjoy leisure; for one can only be bored if the spiritual power to be leisurely has been lost. There is an entry in Baudelaire... "One must work, if not from taste then at least from despair. For, to reduce everything to a single truth: work is less boring than pleasure.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
A man who needs the unusual to make him "wonder" shows that he has lost the capacity to find the true answer to the wonder of being. The itch for sensation, even though disguised in the mask of Boheme, is a sure indication of a bourgeois mind and a deadened sense of wonder.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
If to know is to work, then knowledge is the fruit of our own unaided effort and activity; then knowledge includes nothing which is not due to the effort of man, and there is nothing gratuitous about it, nothing "inspired", nothing "given" about it.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
Wonder does not make one industrious, for to feel astonished is to be disturbed.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
Only those are called liberal or free which are concerned with knowledge; those which are concerned with utilitarian ends... are called servile... The question is... can man develop to the full as a functionary and a "worker" and nothing else; can a full human existence be contained within an exclusively workaday existence? Stated differently and translated back into our terms: is there such a thing as a liberal art?
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
Leisure cannot be achieved at all when it is sought as a means to an end, even though that end be “the salvation of Western civilization”. Celebration of God in worship cannot be done unless it is done for its own sake. That most sublime form of affirmation of the world as a whole is the fountainhead of leisure.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
Leisure, it must be remembered, is not a Sunday afternoon idyll, but the preserve of freedom, of education and culture, and of that undiminished humanity which views the world as a whole.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
Divine worship means the same thing where time is concerned, as the temple where space is concerned. "Temple" means... that a particular piece of ground is specially reserved, and marked off from the remainder of the land which is used either for agriculture or habitation... Similarly in divine worship a certain definite space of time is set aside from working hours and days... and like the space allotted to the temple, is not used, is withdrawn from all merely utilitarian ends.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
The soul of leisure, it can be said, lies in “celebration”. Celebration is the point at which the three elements of leisure come to a focus: relaxation, effortlessness, and superiority of “active leisure” to all functions.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
It is possible to pray in such a way that one does not transcend the world, in such a way that the divine is degraded to a functional part of the workaday world... then it is no longer devotion to the divine, but an attempt to master it.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
Leisure draws its vitality from affirmation. It is not the same as non-activity, nor is it identical with tranquility; it is not even the same as inward tranquility. Rather, it is like the tranquil silence of lovers, which draws its strength from concord.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
The contemplation of revealed truth is a disturbing element in Christian philosophy though a very beautiful one, for it means that the framework of philosophy is widened, and, above all, it can never rest satisfied with the flat, one-dimensional "harmonies" of rationalism. That is the moment when a Christian philosophy, striking upon the rock of divine truth, foams and boils; and that is its unique privilege.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
Wonder acts upon a man like a shock, he is "moved" and "shaken", and in the dislocation that succeeds all that he had taken for granted as being natural or self-evident loses its compact solidity and obviousness; he is literally dislocated and no longer knows where he is. If this were only to involve the man of action in all of us, so that a man only lost his sense of certainty of everyday life, it would be relatively harmless; but the ground quakes beneath his feet in a far more dangerous sense, and it is his whole spiritual nature, his capacity to know, that is threatened. It is an extremely curious fact that this is the only aspect of wonder, or almost the only aspect, that comes to evidence in modern philosohpy, and the old view that wonder was the beginning of philosophy takes on a new meaning: doubt is the beginning of philosophy. . . . The innermost meaning of wonder is fulfilled in a deepened sense of mystery. It does not end in doubt, but is the awakening of the knowledge that being, qua being, is mysterious and inconceivable, and that it is a mystery in the full sense of the word: neither a dead end, nor a contradiction, nor even something impenetrable and dark. Rather, mystery means that a reality cannot be comprehended because its light is ever-flowing, unfathomable, and inexhaustible. And that is what the wonderer really experiences. . . . Since the very beginning philosophy has always been characterized by hope. Philosophy never claimed to be a superior form of knowledge but, on the contrary, a form of humility, and restrained, and conscious of this restraint and humility in relation to knowledge. The words philosopher and philosophy were coined, according to legend--and the legend is of great antiquity--by Pythagoras in explicit contrast to the words sophia and sophos: no man is wise, and no man "knows"; God alone is wise and all-knowing. At the very most a man might call himself a lover of wisdom and a seeker after knowledge--a philosopher. --from The Philosophical Act, Chapter III
Josef Pieper (Leisure, the basis of culture, and, The philosophical act!)
[T]o know means to reach the reality of existing things[.]
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
Properly speaking, the liberal arts receive an honorarium, while servile work receives a wage.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
Aristotle says of leisure, “A man will live thus, not to the extent that he is a man, but to the extent that a divine principle dwells within him.”16
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
for where the religions spirit is not tolerated, where there is no room for poetry and art, where love and death are robbed of all significant effect and reduced to the level of a banality, philosophy will never prosper.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
The vacancy left by absence of worship is filled by mere killing of time and by boredom, which is directly related to inability to enjoy leisure; for one can only be bored if the spiritual power to be leisurely has been lost.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
Separated from the sphere of divine worship, of the cult of the divine, and from the power it radiates, leisure is as impossible as the celebration of a feast. Cut off from the worship of the divine, leisure becomes laziness and work inhuman.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
We have let an empty future that we propose to make by our own standards become the ideal over and against a real past that revealed to us what man really was and is: namely, a being open to wonder who did not create himsel for the world in which he dwells.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
When we really let our minds rest contemplatively on a rose in bud, on a child at play, on a divine mystery, we are rested and quickened as though by a dreamless sleep. Or as the Book of Job says, “God giveth songs in the night” (Job 35:10). Moreover, it has always been a pious belief that God sends his good gifts and his blessings in sleep. And in the same way his great, imperishable intuitions visit a man in his moments of leisure. It is in these silent and receptive moments that the soul of man is sometimes visited by an awareness of what holds the world together:
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
The liberal arts, then, include all forms of human activity which are an end in themselves; the servile arts are those which have an end beyond themselves, and more precisely an end which consists in a utilitarian result attainable in practice, a practicable result.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
A functionary is trained. Training is defined as being concerned with some one side or aspect of man, with regard to some special subject. Education concerns the whole man; an educated man is a man with a point of view from which he takes in the whole world. Education concerns the whole man, man capax universi, capable of grasping the totality of existing things.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
a consistently planned “worker” State there is no room for philosophy because philosophy cannot serve other ends than its own or it ceases to be philosophy; nor can the sciences be carried on in a philosophical manner, which means to say that there can be no such thing as university (academic) education in the full sense of the word.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
There is no need to waste words showing that not everything is useless which cannot be brought under the definition of the useful.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
I have never bothered or asked”, Goethe said to Friedrich Soret in 1830, “in what way I was useful to society as a whole; I contented myself with expressing what I recognized as good and true. That has certainly been useful in a wide circle; but that was not the aim; it was the necessary result.”35
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
To be fettered to work means to be bound to this vast utilitarian process in which our needs are satisfied, and, what is more, tied to such an extent that the life of the working man is wholly consumed in it.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
There is an entry in Baudelaire’s Journal Intime that is fearful in the precision of its cynicism: “One must work, if not from taste then at least from despair. For, to reduce everything to a single truth: work is less boring than pleasure.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
Our effort has been to regain some space for true leisure, to bring back a fundamentally right possession of leisure, “active leisure”.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
Worship is either something “given”, divine worship is fore-ordained—or it does not exist at all.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
There is no doubt of one thing: the world of the “worker” is taking shape with dynamic force—with such a velocity that, rightly or wrongly, one is tempted to speak of demonic force in history.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
Nobody without a mastery of the Burmese language and cultural background could hope to reach out to the people of Burma. Therefore the modern educated felt too diffident to suggest the reassessment and reform of accepted values. The scholars of the old school on the other hand were too close to traditional institutions to be able to judge them objectively. Fielding Hall was one of those Englishmen who fell in love with Burma and the Burmese, of whom he had a romantic and in some ways simplistic vision. Nevertheless his observations on Burmese society were often shrewd and he noted a phenomenon which must surely lie at the basis of the failure for a true renaissance to take place under colonial rule. He remarked of monarchical Burma that there was no noble or leisured class between the king and the villagers. Consequently, the monarch had to recruit as his ministers men from the villages who, for all their natural capacity, did not have the ‘breadth of view, the knowledge of other countries, of other thoughts, that come to those who have wealth and leisure’. The situation had not changed radically under British rule.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
That is what is meant by the proposition omne ens est verum (everything that is, is true)—though we have almost ceased to understand it—and by the complementary proposition that being and truth are interchangeable concepts. (What does truth mean, where things are concerned, the truth of things? “A thing is true” means: it is known and knowable, known to the absolute spirit, knowable to the spirit that is not absolute.
Josef Pieper (Leisure: The Basis of Culture)
In borrowing from a food culture, pay attention to how a culture eats as well as to what it eats. In the case of the French paradox, for example, it may not be the dietary nutrients that keep the French healthy (lots of saturated fat and white flour?!) as much as their food habits: small portions eaten at leisurely communal meals; no second helpings or snacking. Pay attention, too, to the combinations of foods in traditional cultures: In Latin America, corn is traditionally cooked with lime and eaten with beans; what would otherwise be a nutritionally deficient staple becomes the basis of a healthy, balanced diet. (The beans supply amino acids lacking in corn, and the lime makes niacin available.) Cultures that took corn from Latin America without the beans or the lime wound up with serious nutritional deficiencies such as pellagra. Traditional diets are more than the sum of their food parts.
Michael Pollan (Food Rules: An Eater's Manual)