Vocabulary appears to be the key to understanding this week's portion of Josef Pieper's essay decrying the validity of leisure when building or re-building culture.
Right at the beginning our philosopher/author wonders about the effect of accepting or refusing a word newly appearing in the German dictionary.
Redefining terms is a classic way of abusing power.
As in previous chapters, Pieper goes to great lengths to explain the meaning of the words that comprise this section, like proletarian and de-proletarianization, like honorarium and wage. These concepts are variables in the equation proposed by the socialist rebuilders, worthy of scrutiny.
He specifically identifies the binding of the worker caused by lack of private ownership, mandates from the State, and the inner poverty of persons. These are fighting words in Pieper's day when professorships at the universities are based on party-affiliation.
In the end, Pieper identifies the eventual failure of the statist solution even if the leaders make available for the working person a meaningful(restorative) kind of activity.
Political measures which expand life economically only are not sufficient to attain the goal. The project would only come to fruition if it were possible for the human being as such to "be at leisure."
HIStory has proved Pieper correct.
In October 1949, shortly after publishing this lecture, the GDR was established and the socialists embarked ever more fervently to develop their economy based on the fruits of the proletariat. A mere 41 years later (10/7/1990), the Berlin Wall came crumbling down, symbolically proving to the world that Western (Judeo-Christian) capitalism indeed undergirds leisure.
It is a worthy model.
Now how does that translate into family life?
Capitalize your time!
1) Schedule time for vocabulary.
Because Pieper tells us that leisure is a condition of the soul, begin now to teach vocabulary that defines this concept. From spelling to penmanship, from derivatives to calligraphy, the possibilties are endless. Denying access to this type of knowledge is tantamount to hiding the Gospel.
The next three tasks require talented juggling in order to determine the proper balance for your family. Note the delicacy of the instrument in the painting. Anything more specific than listing these would be meddlin'.
2) Schedule time to think.
3) Schedule time to listen.
4) Schedule time to be human.
These are all ways for a (wo)man to occupy leisure.
My newest favorite poet, Marilyn McEntyre has written an inspirational poem based on this Vermeer painting.
And of course, Scripture always guides us.
In Proverbs 31, King Lemuel's mother poetically describes the *woman of leisure*, especially verse 27:
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Insist that your leisure is that shield or preserve of freedom, of education and culture, and of undiminished humanity that views the world as a whole.