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