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Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper | LibraryThing

Pieper also compares leisure in the Medieval Greek and leisure as it is was in the 20th Century, and today. During the Medieval period, the Greek valued leisure and it was part of their culture. Arguably, “The value we set on work and on leisure is very far from being the same as that of the Greek and Roman world, or of the Middle Ages, for that matter—so very different that the men of the past would have been incapable of understanding the modern conception of work, just as we are unable to understand their notion of leisure simply and directly, without an effort of thought” (Pieper 22). However, today, humans have adopted an education and philosophy that denies them the opportunity to be receptive and contemplative in nature. People adore and worship their jobs, as they cannot survive without them. They use any extra time they have to engage in alternative moneymaking activities. This has made society lose touch with true philosophy, with existence, and spirituality. Today, a walk around the streets with “philosophical” eyes will reveal a population that is enslaved to money and other material things. This kind of lifestyle makes people risk losing their souls in the personal and cultural context. Pieper suggests that people should find time for themselves, to contemplate the infinite.

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Returning to our Russian peasant for the moment, let us supposethat after he has chosen Repin in preference to Picasso, the state'seducational apparatus comes along and tells him that he is wrong,that he should have chosen Picasso -- and shows him why. It isquite possible for the Soviet state to do this. But things beingas they are in Russia -- and everywhere else -- the peasant soonfinds the necessity of working hard all day for his living andthe rude, uncomfortable circumstances in which he lives do notallow him enough leisure, energy and comfort to train for theenjoyment of Picasso. This needs, after all, a considerable amountof "conditioning." Superior culture is one of the mostartificial of all human creations, and the peasant finds no "natural"urgency within himself that will drive him toward Picasso in spiteof all difficulties. In the end the peasant will go back to kitschwhen he feels like looking at pictures, for he can enjoy kitschwithout effort. The state is helpless in this matter and remainsso as long as the problems of production have not been solvedin a socialist sense. The same holds true, of course, for capitalistcountries and makes all talk of art for the masses there nothingbut demagogy.

Leisure: The Basis of Culture – Josef Pieper | GPA Help

1 Pieper, J., Leisure the Basis of Culture, South Bend Indiana, 1998, pp

In conclusion, Pieper did a great job sharing this knowledge with the world. All the things he addresses in this book are real, and it is unfortunate that this is getting worse each day. These are revelations of what really is eating the society, although no one has ever stopped and thought about this. Both materialism and busy work schedules rob human beings of their sense of self. People today have neglected their spiritual sides and focused on physical enrichment only. This lack of balance between the physical and spiritual parts of human beings has resulted in the spiritual and psychological enslavement of human beings today. Pieper hoped that this could be resolved, if more people would pay, heed to the advice in this book. However, he warned that since leisure is the basis of culture, if humans continue to neglect leisure, they risk destroying their cultures. Nonetheless, I believe humans can avoid this by changing from their busy lives and giving a little focus to their existence. However, this might be challenging, considering the global economy and financial climate in the world today. If the heat in these cools down, people will have a little more time to indulge in meaningful leisure for the good of their body and soul.

Prior to this the only market for formal culture, as distinguishedfrom folk culture, had been among those who, in addition to beingable to read and write, could command the leisure and comfortthat always goes hand in hand with cultivation of some sort. Thisuntil then had been inextricably associated with literacy. Butwith the introduction of universal literacy, the ability to readand write became almost a minor skill like driving a car, andit no longer served to distinguish an individual's cultural inclinations,since it was no longer the exclusive concomitant of refined tastes.

Leisure: The Basis of Culture – Josef Pieper ..

On Leisure and Culture: Why Human Things Exist - The …

According to Pieper, leisure serves to unite us with God. He believes that human beings were made to be in union with God at all times. This can only be achieved through leisure, and not work. Working is an end in itself, and therefore, serves no function of connecting humans with the supernatural being. Therefore, the only way human beings today can remain in contact with their existence, is to reconcile the classical worldview into the contemporary worldview. As Plato had begun before, today’s philosophy must be married with theology to ensure humanity’s cultural and spiritual survival. This message by Pieper is correct and applies to the contemporary generation that is driven by the wrong pleasure, which is characterized by meaningless and negative entertainment, and obsession with material gains. Adopting this will see the world today a more peaceful place, devoid of all the restlessness that is experienced in every corner of the world due to different worries, which sometimes are not worth the restlessness.

The peasants who settled in the cities as proletariat and pettybourgeois learned to read and write for the sake of efficiency,but they did not win the leisure and comfort necessary for theenjoyment of the city's traditional culture. Losing, nevertheless,their taste for the folk culture whose background was the countryside,and discovering a new capacity for boredom at the same time, thenew urban masses set up a pressure on society to provide themwith a kind of culture fit for their own consumption. To fillthe demand of the new market, a new commodity was devised: ersatzculture, kitsch, destined for those who, insensible to the valuesof genuine culture, are hungry nevertheless for the diversionthat only culture of some sort can provide.

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Benefits of Leisure | Ideal Essay Writers

Because it can be turned out mechanically, kitsch has becomean integral part of our productive system in a way in which trueculture could never be, except accidentally. It has been capitalizedat a tremendous investment which must show commensurate returns;it is compelled to extend as well as to keep its markets. Whileit is essentially its own salesman, a great sales apparatus hasnevertheless been created for it, which brings pressure to bearon every member of society. Traps are laid even in those areas,so to speak, that are the preserves of genuine culture. It isnot enough today, in a country like ours, to have an inclinationtowards the latter; one must have a true passion for it that willgive him the power to resist the faked article that surroundsand presses in on him from the moment he is old enough to lookat the funny papers. Kitsch is deceptive. It has many differentlevels, and some of them are high enough to be dangerous to thenaive seeker of true light. A magazine like the ,which is fundamentally high-class kitsch for the luxury trade,converts and waters down a great deal of avant-garde materialfor its own uses. Nor is every single item of kitsch altogetherworthless. Now and then it produces something of merit, somethingthat has an authentic folk flavor; and these accidental and isolatedinstances have fooled people who should know better.

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