Monday, October 01, 2007

Review: Leisure

Leisure The Basis Of Culture by Josef Pieper

Not one of my favorites, but it makes what should be an obvious point that culture can only be had through leisure, and any society that deifies constant work and busy-ness/business (...hmm, which society might fit that definition?) is one that makes culture and anything worthwhile in life impossible.

Some excerpts:

"One day, this Apollodoros encounters some friends of his from earlier days - the very ones, in fact, who now call him 'crazy,' the 'madman.' As Plato expressly points out, they are business people, people of money, who know precisely how someone can succeed, and who 'intend to do something big in the world.' ... Apollodoros cherishes no illusions about the 'philosophical' interests of his old friends. Rather, he says directly to their face, how much he pities them, '...because you believe you are accomplishing something, when you really are not. And maybe now you are thinking, I am not very well off, and you may be right, but I do not merely 'think' the same about you, I know it for sure!'"


"...philosophy begins in wonder. ... The commonplace mind, rendered deaf-mute, finds everything self-explanatory. But what really is self-explanatory? Is it self-explanatory, then, that we exist? Is it self-explanatory that there is such a thing as 'seeing'? These are questions that someone who is locked into the daily world cannot ask; and that is so because such a person has not succeeded, as anyone whose senses (like a deaf person) are simply not functioning - has not managed even for once to forget the immediate needs of life, whereas the one who experiences wonder is one who, astounded by the deeper aspect of the world, cannot hear the immediate demands of life - if even for a moment, that moment when he gazes on the astounding vision of the world."


"'None of the gods philosophizes,' Plato has Diotima say in the Symposium: 'nor do fools; for that is what is so bad about ignorance - that you think you know enough.' ... philosophy has never been understood as a special, superior form of knowing, but rather, as a form of knowing one's own's limits."

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