Leisure: The Basis of Culture

Leisure: The Basis of Culture

Author: Josef Pieper
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Format: Paperback
Pages: 145
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One of the most important philosophy titles published in the twentieth century, Josef Pieper's Leisure, the Basis of Culture is more significant, even more crucial, today than it was when it first appeared more than fifty years ago. This edition also includes his work The Philosophical Act. Leisure is an attitude of the mind and a condition of the soul that fosters a capacity to perceive the reality of the world. Pieper shows that the Greeks and medieval Europeans, understood the great value and importance of leisure. He also points out that religion can be born only in leisure -- a leisure that allows time for the contemplation of the nature of God. Leisure has been, and always will be, the first foundation of any culture. Pieper maintains that our bourgeois world of total labor has vanquished leisure, and issues a startling warning: Unless we regain the art of silence and insight, the ability for non-activity, unless we substitute true leisure for our hectic amusements, we will destroy our culture -- and ourselves.

Publication Date: 2009-10-01
Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches

Editorial Reviews

Pieper has subjects involved in everyone's life; he has theses that are so counter to prevailing trends as to be sensational; and he has a style that is memorably clear and direct. --Chicago Tribune

Pieper's message for us is plain.... The idolatry of the machine, the worship of mindless know-how, the infantile cult of youth and the common mind-all this points to our peculiar leadership in the drift toward the slave society.... Pieper's profound insights are impressive and even formidable. --New York Times Book Review

These two short essays by a contemporary German philosopher go a long way towards a lucid explanation of the present crisis in civilisation.... The first essay... should be read by anyone-and young people in particular-anxious to come to some conclusions about the nature of society." --The Spectator, London

About the Author:
Josef Pieper

Josef Pieper was a German Catholic philosopher, at the forefront of the Neo-Thomistic wave in twentieth century Catholic philosophy. His views are rooted primarily in the Scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas and in the teachings of Plato. In 60 years of creative work as a philosopher and writer, Pieper explicated the wisdom tradition of the West in clear language, and identified its enduring relevance.

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
Turn Your World Upside Down

First things first, this book was written by a German gentleman. Yes, this book is a challenge. But its a challenge that is far more than worth it. Pieper shines the light of truth against our modern understanding of the purpose of work and leisure and you will never be able to see either the same way again. The leisure that Pieper speaks of is the worship of God, especially within the holidays and community activities that bring humanity together. It is through leisure that we grow in humanity, but not the modern form of leisure which is nothing but a means for which the body can be rejuvenated thus able to do more work. I think a "red pilling" book like this can help bring intelligent secularists (whom are not rabidly anti-Catholic) back to the Faith.

Treasure Hunt

Pieper's book, Leisure:The Basis of Culture is about work and play, labor and leisure, the ultimate point/counter-point of our lives. The initial attraction of the book is based on the assumption that the concept of leisure can be discussed lucidly and without the erudite language that typically accompanies philosophical writings. This is a misconception, as the work could be classified into all the other dense, erudite writings of philosophy.

The book is a treasure hunt, where most of the time you’re reading, waiting for Pieper's argument to culminate in a robust moment of clarity. Fortunately, you do eventually reach these moments, making Leisure:The Basis of Culture a rewarding experience.