Friday, March 25, 2005

Quotes on leisure on this Good Friday

I've been meandering through the book Leisure, The Basis of Culture, by Josef Pieper. I haven't been in the frame of mind to grapple seriously with philosophical German-translated-into-English writing, but I've been struck by Pieper's reflections. Here is one aspect of Pieper's definition of leisure:
Leisure is a form of that stillness that is the necessary preparation for accepting reality; only the person who is still can hear, and whoever is not still, cannot hear. Such stillness as this is not mere soundlessness or a dead muteness; it means, rather, that the soul's power, as real, of responding to the real — a co-respondence, eternally established in nature — has not yet descended into words. Leisure is the disposition of receptive understanding, of contemplative beholding, and immersion — in the real.

In leisure, there is, furthermore, something of the serenity of "not-being-able-to-grasp," of the recognition of the mysterious character of the world, and the confidence of blind faith, which can let things go as they will; there is in it something of the "trust in the fragmentary, that forms the very life and essence of history."
(p. 31. The quote in the last sentence is from the journals of the poet Konrad Weiss.)

There are other sides to Pieper's definition, all very rich.

(Thanks to John Bell of A Hillside Farm for pointing me to Eighth Day Books, where I found Leisure.)

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