In his classic book Leisure: The Basis of Culture, philosopher Josef Pieper observed that “the original meaning of the concept of ‘leisure’ has practically been forgotten in today’s leisure-less culture of ‘total work.’” For many of us, work is the primary task, and leisure is what we do to recuperate so we can work some more. Therefore, leisure usually means relaxation, refreshment, killing time, or binging on Netflix shows.
But for Pieper, this is not leisure as it was meant to be. Leisure is not a secondary activity, but a main one. And it’s not a passive “doing nothing,” but an active participation in practices that generate calm, silence, and contemplation, activities that are pursued for their own sakes and not as means to some higher goal.
In this episode, Fr. Blake and Brandon discuss how different cultures have understood leisure, how our modern culture has prioritized work over leisure, and some specific ways we can practice authentic leisure.
- Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper
This podcast on Leisure was just what I needed. I am a recovering Type A workaholic who used to consider leisure a waste of time if it did not accomplish something. I have come a long way in my recovery from this and your podcast will help me move to the next level. Thank You!!
Excellent because you distinguished between contemporary thought on “leisure” and the most important time spent enjoying the pursuit of truly first and last things, the purpose of one’s life. Thanks. Sometimes when caught up in pleasure one can miss the best.
This is perfect! And something we Americans have a hard time with. I am reminded of when I went to Germany as an exchange student. The Germans have this great big long word: “Sontagnachmittagspaziergangmachen”, which simply means “go for a Sunday afternoon walk”. It was such a foreign idea to me! “Where are we walking to?”, I would ask my German friends. I had never walked anywhere just to walk. I would love to learn about opera. I know nothing. Can you recommend a good book?
Thanks for the great talk on “Leisure”….needed especially in the this time of a pandemic.
Our world has been too busy & now we need to slow down & do leisure time.
I have the same problem and decided to build the habit of daily mass as way to move from workaholic
This was an absolutely excellent episode. Thank you, gentlemen!
Wow. Awesome podcast. Exactly what i need to hear and whatvi am trying to work on in my life. Funny how GOD puts exactly what you need in your life at the time needed.
Thank you and i will be listening from now on.
1. Fr. Blake I love the Burrowshire Banner.
2. Brandon, is that Cat in the Hat hanging from the ceiling? Another form of uplifting leisure? 🙂
On a more reflective note, I found the podcast to be very stimulating in better approaching leisure (adding Pieper’s book on my already growing leisure reading materials).
I think we see this very clearly in the story of Martha and Mary in how the leisure activity of sitting at the feet of our Lord was more valuable than the busywork that Martha was doing to get things ready for dinner, making the house look nice, etc. It’s good to remember the sitting at the feet of our Lord in worship, Mass, Adoration, etc is a leisure activity that definitely can uplift our spirits.
I have had similar experiences playing basketball, playing my guitar, holding my daughter, being with my husband, and reading/listening to anything involving Bishop Barron. These moments teach me the importance of being present to the activity and the feeling they produce within.
Thank you for this enriching experience.
Thank you, Fr Blake, and Brandon, for your podcast on Leisure. Even though I am retired I need to take some time out for authentic leisure and not just for a break so I can start over again.
First off, I’d be totally on board with Burrowshire merch! If you guys ever decide to make T-shirts or banners, I’m sure there are a number of listeners who would love to support the podcast that way!
Secondly, amazing episode! Thank you so much for this discussion of leisure, and for the distinction between leisure and laziness. It has really helped me to assess and in some cases change how I spend my free time. It’s easy to just, as you said, “turn your brain off,” instead of say, going for a walk outside, reading a spiritual book, or even spending time in Adoration.
Thank you so much for this podcast!
Thank you so much for this discussion. An aspect of life and being a Christian I hadn`t given much thought or practice to. May need to rewatch it, along with many of these other discussions so rich in insight, learning and hope. They are lighting a fire for us lucky ones who hear them! Thank you and look forward to new discussions on wide ranging topics of importance. God bless you all!