Leisure: The Basis of Culture
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Publication Date: 2009-10-01
Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
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
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.
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.
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.