Monday, September 21, 2009

Leisure: The Basis of Culture

Long before I'd heard the term *worldview* (weltanschauung for Pieper) I knew I was philosophically driven.

In my teenaged-mind, I defined that as knowing AND applying my principles and convictions.

In fact, I used to quip that *thinking* got me into trouble.

I think it still does.

But I'm a slow (life-long) learner, determined to examine my contemplations and measure them up against standards.

That's why I'm reading Leisure: The Basis of Culture with others and discussing it online at Cindy's blog.

After WWII, Josef Pieper, a 20th-century, German, Catholic, Professor of Philosophic Anthropology, published his answer to the ills of the evil age. So very well-received was this slim volume, that it's been republished (different translators and introducers) several times, and continues to be reviewed and lauded by others.

Also, it's interesting to note here that the two previous books* reviewed by this book club (Ideas Have Consequences and Economics in One Lesson) were published mid-century (1948 and 1946, respectively.) Both were proposing remedies for stemming the demise of Western culture/civilization.

Right away, I can agree with Pieper's premise that rest/leisure (what we do when we're not working) is inextricably interwined with culture. Which is tied to worship. I grasp the connection.

But I'm a little bogged down with following all the references to philosophers, their theories and approaches. I mix them up as readily as I do the Greek/Roman gods/goddesses, their life stories and children. It's soap-opera-ish.

Inherently, I know that understanding these fundamental issues and problems will serve me well as I worship God: serving my husband, rearing a family, and ministering in my community. Here's a link to one application: Sundays.

So, I'm donning my thinking cap and ready-ing my brain cells for a nice, long, explore in the philosophical woods.

Join me?

I dont want to get lost.

*Temporarily forgot about All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes.


  1. Yes! I will join you!

    But a bit book still hasn't arrived. :(

    Love the Pooh picture.

  2. Yay, Brandy! I was afraid I'd have to drop bread crumbs, since the trees are getting thicker and thicker in the forest.

    Luv ya', hun!

  3. better link.. I just signed up and downloaded the PDF file :)

  4. Would you believe that I lost my book again and spent all morning looking for it? I should definitely download the PDF file.
    I am the bear of little brain.

    Dana, I am pretty sure I agree with Pieper's premise also but I am always a bit muddled when I try to grab it firmly. The concept of Sabbath is the clearest help for me,too.

    Brandy, The first chapter is VERY short even with the intros (at least in my book). I will try to keep the Linky on the top of the page all week.

  5. Dana, if you get muddled, I am drowning :-). I always love to read your thoughts and I'm glad you "think, think, think." I get a little uncomfortable with appeals to antiquity to buttress foundational ideas, though I find they can be good allusions to add to a discussion. JM talks about Aristotelian thinking versus biblical thinking...the former comes from the premise that man's reason is NOT fallen, thus ends up off track. Thus, trying to find the jewels (and they are there) in this book and the others discussed above is even more challenging as we compare to biblical principles that we cannot ignore.

    BTW, I was thinking C.S. Lewis's _The Abolition of Man_ was also written in that post-war period, but it was published in 1943. That little book discusses some of the same big ideas, the permanent things :-).

  6. Thanks for stopping by, Carmen. I dont believe your are drowning and am counting on your insightful commentary.