LEISURE BASIS OF CULTURE

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In his book Leisure: The Basis of Culture, German philosopher Joseph Pieper provides a broader, deeper definition of leisure as the driving force behind our very existence. He points out that a common misconception regarding leisure is that it is the opposite of work. However, this cannot be true because, once our basic needs are met, is ultimately geared towards leisure. Therefore, it is in order to say that we work so that we can have leisure. As Aristotle put it in Politics, ‘leisure is the center-point about which everything revolves’. In today’s modern society, almost every human activity involves some sort of work. Pieper does not see work as just a form of occupation, but gives it an anthropological definition encompassing the whole concept of man. In his everyday life man works, and since work is about getting leisure, man’s very existence is to find leisure. His culture, way of life, is defined by leisure. BACKGROUND Pieper wrote Leisure when Germany was undergoing a cultural crisis that eventually led to a second world war. His views were shaped by the prevailing cultural crisis and similar works by other well known German philosophers like Martin Heidegger. Peiper wanted people to think differently regarding all that was happening around them.His proposals were not meant as advice or a call to action. In the words of Pieper himself, “Well, the considerations put forward in this essay were not designed to give advice and draw up a line of action; they were meant to make men think. Their aim has been to throw a little light on a problem which seems to me very important and very urgent, and is all too easily lost to sight among the immediate tasks in hand.” PIEPER’S THEORY OF LEISURE All throughout modern history, the ... ... middle of paper ... ...humane view of work featured by negative aspects such as laziness and boredom. Thus, Pieper distinguishes as well as draws a similarity between the aspects of leisure and culture, and that the only way to truly participate in both is to engage in the true celebration and worship of the great almighty. CONCLUDING ARGUMENTS Thus according to Pieper, leisure is an attitude of the mind and a state of the soul that fosters a capacity to perceive the reality of the world. Pieper establishes that the ancient and medieval philosophers understood the great value and importance of leisure in doing work and thus, eventually led to building of great societies. He also points out that religion can be born only in leisure as it is only through leisure that actual worship of God is possible. Leisure has been, and always will be, the basic foundation of any culture or religion.

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