Saturday, September 26, 2009

Eliot Introduces Leisure

After the first week of book club where we're focused on Josef Pieper's Basis of Culture, I felt the need to step back and re-read. Roger Scruton introduces my 1998 edition (translated by Malsbary).

Fortunately I discovered an online copy of the book and read T. S. Eliot's (pictured above) 1948 assessment.

BTW Happy Birthday, dear sir!

Basically, we book club participants are off and running with our insightful comments and words of wisdom, making us modern-day philosophers. Yeah, right?! Joking aside, I feel compelled to find my roots and confirm that my philosophical thoughts are growing in the right direction.

That confirmation came in Mr. Eliot's introduction to Leisure: The Basis of Culture.

He decries the 20th century divorce of philosophy from theology and hails Josef Pieper's clear attempt to restore this right relation in the two essays which make up the book. Furthermore, Eliot recognizes that Pieper's arguments contribute to the restoration of the importance of philosophy for every educated person.

By affirming the dependence of philosophy upon revelation, and a proper respect for the wisdom of the ancients, Pieper's philosophical influence has the potential to avert two dangers:
1)that philosophy would imitate exact science and
2)that one-man philosophies (worldviews) would abound.

In much the same way that every Christian must be a theologian, every educated person must be a philosopher. That gives me two reasons to finish reading Leisure.

The third is no less important.

As a mother rearing those in charge of the next generation, I aim to apprehend Pieper's insight and wisdom for rebuilding our house (culture), thereby fulfilling my role in the ritual of public sacrifice.

Sounds lofty?


But it's necessary.

So, read with us..... Josef Pieper's Leisure: The Basis of Culture.

It's refreshing!


  1. Hmmm. I am enjoying listening in on your discussion, but perhaps I should see if I can find a copy of the book to read... at my leisure. You've made a good argument for it.

  2. Truth be told, Laura, I first heard of Pieper in 1996! So, I've waited quite a long time to read any of his essays.

    Did you notice in my previous entry the URL for the online book?

    Pieper is no A. McCall-Smith. Reading his stuff is *work* - of the most enjoyable kind :)

    Thanks for following along.

  3. On-line books wear me out! I can't sit at a computer monitor for too long, and I hate printing things out because ink is so expensive.

    I think I'll wait for a conventional book copy to come my way, then I'll read and study and ponder it, led by the thoughtful musings of my on-line friends!