Leisure The Basis of Culture and the Philosophical Act

ISBN-10: 1586172565

ISBN-13: 9781586172565

Edition: 2009

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"One of the most important philosophy titles published in the twentieth century, Josef Pieper's Leisure, the Basis of Culture is more significant, even more crucial, today than it was when it first appeared more than fifty years ago. This special new edition now also includes his little work The Philosophical Act. Leisure is an attitude of the mind and a condition of the soul that fosters a capacity to perceive the reality of the world. Pieper shows that the Greeks and medieval Europeans, understood the great value and importance of leisure. He also points out that religion can be born only in leisure a leisure that allows time for the contemplation of the nature of God. Leisure has been, and always will be, the first foundation of any culture. Pieper maintains that our bourgeois world of total labor has vanquished leisure, and issues a startling warning: Unless we regain the art of silence and insight, the ability for non-activity, unless we substitute true leisure for our hectic amusements, we will destroy our culture and ourselves. "Pieper's message for us is plain. . . . The idolatry of the machine, the worship of mindless know-how, the infantile cult of youth and the common mind all this points to our peculiar leadership in the drift toward the slave society. . . . Pieper's profound insights are impressive and even formidable."- New York Times Book Review "Pieper has subjects involved in everyone's life; he has theses that are so counter to the prevailing trends as to be sensational; and he has a style that is memorably clear and direct." - Chicago Tribune"
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Book details

List price: $14.95
Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Publication date: 10/1/2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 145
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.616
Language: English

T. S. Eliot is considered by many to be a literary genius and one of the most influential men of letters during the half-century after World War I. He was born on September 26, 1888, in St. Louis, Missouri. Eliot attended Harvard University, with time abroad pursuing graduate studies at the Sorbonne, Marburg, and Oxford. The outbreak of World War I prevented his return to the United States, and, persuaded by Ezra Pound to remain in England, he decided to settle there permanently. He published his influential early criticism, much of it written as occasional pieces for literary periodicals. He developed such doctrines as the "dissociation of sensibility" and the "objective correlative" and elaborated his views on wit and on the relation of tradition to the individual talent. Eliot by this time had left his early, derivative verse far behind and had begun to publish avant-garde poetry (including "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (1915), which exploited fresh rhythms, abrupt juxtapositions, contemporary subject matter, and witty allusion. This period of creativity also resulted in another collection of verse (including "Gerontian") and culminated in The Waste Land, a masterpiece published in 1922 and produced partly during a period of psychological breakdown while married to his wife, Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot. In 1922, Eliot became a director of the Faber & Faber publishing house, and in 1927 he became a British citizen and joined the Church of England. Thereafter, his career underwent a change. With the publication of Ash Wednesday in 1930, his poetry became more overtly Christian. As editor of the influential literary magazine The Criterion, he turned his hand to social as well as literary criticism, with an increasingly conservative orientation. His religious poetry culminated in Four Quartets, published individually from 1936 onward and collectively in 1943. This work is often considered to be his greatest poetic achievement. Eliot also wrote poetry in a much lighter vein, such as Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939), a collection that was used during the early 1980s as the basis for the musical, Cats. In addition to his contributions in poetry and criticism, Eliot is the pivotal verse dramatist of this century. He followed the lead of William Butler Yeats in attempting to revive metrical language in the theater. But, unlike Yeats, Eliot wanted a dramatic verse that would be self-effacing, capable of expressing the most prosaic passages in a play, and an insistent, undetected presence capable of elevating itself at a moment's notice. His progression from the pageant The Rock (1934) and Murder in the Cathedral (1935), written for the Canterbury Festival, through The Family Reunion (1939) and The Cocktail Party (1949), a West End hit, was thus a matter of neutralizing obvious poetic effects and bringing prose passages into the flow of verse. Recent critics have seen Eliot as a divided figure, covertly attracted to the very elements (romanticism, personality, heresy) he overtly condemned. His early attacks on romantic poets, for example, often reveal him as a romantic against the grain. The same divisions carry over into his verse, where violence struggles against restraint, emotion against order, and imagination against ironic detachment. This Eliot is more human and more attractive to contemporary taste. During his lifetime, Eliot received many honors and awards, including the Nobel Prize for literature in 1948.

Author's Preface to the English Edition
Leisure The Basis Of Culture
Leisure the foundation of Western culture
"We are 'unleisurely' in order to have leisure"
The claims of the world of "total work"
"Intellectual work" and "intellectual worker"
Discursive thought and "intellectual contemplation"
Kant and the Romantics
Ratio and Intellectus: the medieval conception of knowledge
Contemplation "superhuman"
Knowledge as "work": the two aspects of this conception
"Unqualified activity"
Effort and effortlessness
Hard work is what is good
Thomas Aquinas: "it is not the difficulty which is the decisive point"
Contemplation and play
Willingness to suffer
First comes the "gift"
"Intellectual work" as a social function
Sloth (acedia) and the incapacity to leisure
Leisure as non-activity
Leisure as a festive attitude
Leisure and rest from work
Leisure above all functions
Leisure as a means of rising above the "really human"
The influence of the ideal of leisure- "Humanism" an inadequate position?
Excursus on "proletariat"
The philosopher and the common working man
Man "fettered to work"
Lack of property, State compulsion and inner impoverishment as the causes
"Proletarians" not limited to the proletariat
artes liberates and artes serviles
Proudhon on Sunday
"Deprole-tarianization" and the opening of the realm of leisure
Leisure made inwardly possible through Divine Worship
Feast and worship
Unused time and space
The world of work and the Feast day
Leisure divorced from worship becomes idleness
The significance of Divine worship
The Philosophical Act
By philosophizing we step beyond the world of work
"Common need" and "common good"
The "world of total work" rests on the identification of "common need" and "common good"
The situation of philosophy in the "world of work"
The relation between religious acts and aesthetic acts, between philosophizing and the experience of love or death
Sham forms of these basic attitudes in life
The everlasting misunderstanding between philosophy and the everyday world of work: The Thracian Maid and a figure in the Platonic dialogues (Appollodorus). The positive aspect of their incommensurability: the freedom of philosophy (its unusableness)
The knowledge of the functionary and the knowledge of a gentleman
The sciences "unfiree"
Philosophy free, its theoretical character
The presupposition of theoria
The belief that man's real wealth consists neither in the satisfaction of his needs, nor in the control of nature
Where does the philosophical act carry us when it transcends the "world of work"?
The world as a field of relations
The hierarchie gradations of the world
The notion "surroundings" (v. Uexk�ll)
Spirit as the power of apprehending the world; spirit exists within the whole of reality
Being as related to spirit: the truth of things
The gradations of inwardness: the relation to the totality of being and personality
The world of spirit: the totality of things and the essence of things
Man not a pure spirit
Man's field of relations: both world and environment, both together
Philosophizing as a step beyond our environment vis-�-vis de Vunivers
The step as "superhuman"
The distinguishing mark, of a philosophical question: it is on the horizon of the whole of reality
"World" and "environment" are not watertight compartments
The world preserved in the environment: wonder
The "un-bourgeois" character of philosophical wonder
The danger of being uprooted from the workaday world
Wonder as "the confusion of thought at itself"
The inner direction of wonder not aimed at doubt but at the sense of mystery
Wonder as the moving principle of philosophy
The structure of hope and the structure of wonder similar
The special sciences cease "wondering", philosophy does not
Philosophia as the loving search for wisdom as it is possessed by God
The inner impossibility of a "closed" system of philosophy
Philosophizing as the completion of man's existence
Philosophy always preceded by a traditional interpretation of the world
Plato, Aristotle and the pre-socratics in their relation to tradition
Plato tradition as revelation
Its freedom vis-�-vis theology one of the^ marks of Plato's philosophizing
Christian theology the form of pre-philosophic tradition to be found in the West
The vitality of philosophy dependent upon its relation to theology
Is a non-Christian philosophy possible?
Christian philosophy not characterized by its ready answers but by its pro-founder apprehension of the mysterious nature of the world
Christian philosophy not intellectually simpler
The joy which goes with not being able to understand utterly and completely
Christianity not, in the first place, doctrine but reality
The real soil of Christian philosophizing
the living experience of Christianity as reality
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