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 edition also includes his 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
“This book is a gem. No other book its size will teach us so many true things about everything we need to know to understand what and why we are or about how to live a life worth living.” — James V. Schall, SJ, from the Foreword
Josef Pieper, perhaps the most popular Thomist philosopher of the twentieth century, was schooled in the Greek classics and the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. He also studied philosophy, law, and sociology, and he was a professor at the University of Munster, West Germany. His numerous books have been widely praised by both the secular and religious press.