The Basis of Culture

Josef Pieper
Introduction by Roger Scruton
New translation by Gerald Malsbary


South Bend, Indiana


Copyright © 1948 by Kosel-Verlag Translation copyright © 1998 by St. Augustine's Press, Inc. Originally published in German as Musse und Kult and Was heisst Philosophieren? by Kosel-Verlag. Author's preface is from the first English edition, published by Pantheon Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of St. Augustine's Press. Manufactured in the United States of America. Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Pieper, Josef, 1904-1997 [Musse und Kult. English] Leisure, the basis of culture / Josef Pieper: introduction by Roger Scruton; new translation by Gerald Malsbary. p. em. Consists of a translation of the author's Musse und Kult, and of his Was heisst Philosophieren? Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 1-890318-35-3 (pbk, : alk. paper) 1. Leisure. 2. God-Worship and love. 3. Culture. 4. Philosophy. 1. Malsbary, Gerald. II. Pieper, Josef, 1904-1997 Was heisst Philosophieren? English. III. Title. BJ1498.P513 1998 175-dc21 98-15340 CIP
='I'he paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information SciencesPermanence of Paper for Printed Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1984.

Introduction by Roger Scruton Preface to the English Edition by Josef Pieper. .
xi . xiv

Leisure, the Basis of Culture
I Leisure as the foundation of Western culture - "We are not-at-leisure in order to be at-leisure" (Aristotle) - The demands of the world of total work . . . . . . . . . . ., II work" and "intellectual




. . . . ..


Discursive thought and "intellectual vision"- Kant and Romanticism - ratio and intellectus in medieval epistemology - the" superhuman" nature of contemplation - knowing as "work" - the dual aspect of this meaning - "unconditioned activity" . . . . . . .. Effort and effortlessness - Antisthenes: effort as the good - Thomas Aquinas: "difficulty" of work not the essential criterion - contemplation and play readiness to suffer, without relation to anything - the primacy of the" given" . . . . . . . . . "Intellectual work" as social function


15 21




Leisure, the Basis of Culture
"Idleness" (acedia) and the lack of leisure -leisure as non-activity -leisure as a festive attitude -leisure and the "break" from work: the superiority of leisure to function - withdrawal from the" specifically human". . 27

philosophy in. the world of work - How the philosophical act is related to other acts: the creative act, the religious act, and the shattering of worldrelationships effected by love and death -Pseudo-forms of these basic experiences - The perennial discord between philosophy and the work-a-day world: the Thracian maiden, the Platonic character Apollodorus The positive side of that incommensurability: the freedom (non- subservience) of philosophy - Functionalknowing and the knowing of the "gentleman" - The "non-freedom" of the special sciences - The freedom of philosophy and its theoretical character - The requirements of iheoria - The belief that the true wealth of man lies neither in the satisfaction of physical needs nor in the control of nature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 II Where does the philosophical act take us, by transcending the work-a-day world? - "World" as a field of relations - The hierarchy of worlds - The concept of the "environment" (von Uexkiill) - Spirit, or "intellection," as the power of grasping a world: spirit exists in the midst of the totality of being - Being in its related-ness to intellect: the truth of things - The degrees of inward-ness: relation to the sum-total of things, and personality - The world of the spirit: the totality of things and the essence of things - Man is not pure spirit - The human world of relations: a juncture of "environment" and "world" - Philosophy as a step out of the environment and into a relationship with the . "all": the "superhuman" nature of such a step - The distinguishing characteristic of a philosophical question: it lies on the horizon of total reality . . . . . . . . . . . . 80

The power of the concept of "leisure" - is "Humanism" an adequate position? , 37

Excursus on "proletariat" and "de- proleiarizaiion" - the philosopher and t~e "hand-worker" (banausos) - being bound to the working-process -loss of individuality, state coercion, inner poverty - "proletariatness" not limited to the proletariat as such - aries liberates and aries serviles - Proudhon on the "Celebration of Sunday" deproletarization" and widening the realm of leisure . 39

The inner derivation of leisure from worship - festival and worship (Kult) - the space "unused" in principlethe "ho~iday" in the working world - the time-period of the festival+ when separated from worship, leisure becomes toilsome - a new establishment of a realm of leisure only possible through derivation from worship full expression of worship as relocation to the center of the universe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

The Philosophical Act
I In philosophy, the world of work is transcended Common utility and the common good - The "total w~l:rd of work" is based on the equation of common utility and the common good - The condition of {vi}


Wonder: reaching the world within the environmentThe non-bourgeois character of philosophical wonder The danger of becoming uprooted from the work-a-day world . .Plato: tradition as revelation Openness toward theology. . . . . .How is a non-Christian philosophy possible? .V. . . New York Times Book Review. . . 1952) 1952) Index San Francisco Chronicle. . .The cheerfulness of not-being-able-to. . .. . and the Pre-Socratics to such tradition . .Christian philosophy is.Wonder as the internal principle of philosophizing .The inner impossibility of a "closed" philosophical system . 144 .know Christianity is not primarily a "doctrine.The vitality of philosophy depends on its relationship with theology . ."' by Allen Tate (February 24.' . . . . . 1952). as the only form of pre-philosophical tradition available in the West . . . 1952) '. but by a deeper understanding of the mysterious character of the world . IV The interpretation of the world that is "always.The hopefulness built into wonder and philosophizing .How this is something distinctively human. {viii} fix} . but in a sense for mystery . . . . Aristotle. such as God possesses" .e. Chicago Tribune.Christian philosophy characterized not by bringing in quick and easy solutions.147 . . ." by Carl Houde (October 18. .Philosophizing as the fulfillment of human existence . . "Helpful Book on Leisure . (May 30. Ames (April 13. . .How the special sciences. New Statesman and Nation. Value. . leave the state of wonder behind ." but a reality - The Nation." handed-down. 145 The Spectator (London). as an essential sign of Platonic philosophizing . book review by William P. .Philosophy as a loving search for "wisdom. "In Search of the 'Wisdom Possessed by God.. ." by Guy Hunter (AprilS.Leisure. "The Useful and the Good. the Basis of Culture III World and environment do not exist in separated realms . . . already there.. . "The Sabbath Made for Man. . . book review by J. . . . thinker .. . 153 155 156 157 Commonweal. (March 16. and before philosophy . . .149 . . . . .. . '. .Wonder as "thought becoming lost in itself" The intrinsic orientation of wonder is not fulfilled in doubt. 1952) . . . . .Its Use. . . . in fact. "Be Still and Know" (February I. not "easier" for the . book review by J. .Christian theology. unlike philosophy. . . 98 Contents The real foundation of Christian philosophy: experience of this reality Appendix: A Retrospective English Edition a living 117 of Reviews from the First Times Literary Supplement (London). 1952) . . ." by A. . . . 1952) . .The relationship of Plato. Clancy (April 11.M. . e. 1952) 135 .

In order to defend itself from self-knowledge. and to change things is nothing but idleness under other names . do not apply: so argues Josef {xi} .Introduction "Don't just do something: stand there!" The command of an American President to a fussy official was one of those rare moments in American politics when truth prevailed over industry. politics. Leisure has had a bad press. and almost every person. the more useful will Pieper be to him. will say that he works hard for a living . for the egalitarian a sign of privilege. to plan. are all the reasons for thinking that the frenzied need to work. and emotional idleness. and public life.and the more that person is involved in business. however. For here. however little use he may have for his time. in a succinct yet learned argument. enjoyed by the few at the expense of the many. this agitated idleness is busy smashing all the mirrors in the house.moral. The calumnies. intellectual.curious expression. when the real thing to work for is dying. Nobody in a democracy is at ease with leisure. For the puritan it is the source of vice. Josef Pieper's serene reflections on the art of being serene ought to be read by every practical person . The Marxist regards leisure as the unjust surplus.

It is then. a sacrifice. and also . work may be creative. festival. in a world where science and technology have tried to usurp the divine command." That is to say. but work of another kind. {xii} Introduction Pieper's book is also a feast. andthe teaching is as important for the unbeliever as for the person of faith. as Pieper puts it. "At the end of all our striving" we rejoice in our being and offer thanks. and facing outwards. as a celebration and a festival. it is an offering. like Wall Street or Capitol Hill. With astonishing brevity.a means to a means to a means . We mistake leisure for idleness. sitting side by side with people silenced by music. and so on forever.an account of what philosophy can do for us." Roger Scruton Malroesbury.. has a "spiritual or even a religious character. but there is nothing in their lives to correspond to this experience of the "meal. And he reiterates that command as it carne in a "still small voice" to Elijah. is one with our failure to understand the difference between man and the other animals. Think only of meal-times . Leisure is not the cessation of work. and endow our lives with sense. we are consciously removing ourselves from the world of work and means and industry. We win through to leisure. something offered to us from on high.Leisure. and work for creativity. When we sit down to eat. Work is the means of life. but also a philosophy of philosophy . the Basis of Culture Pieper.and on this subject Pieper writes with uncommon perceptiveness. March 1998 {xiii} . leisure the end. The meal. Of course. to the kingdom of ends. and faith lift us from idleness. Our failure to understand leisure. eating a meal among those we love. that we recognize our peculiar sovereign position in the world. work restored to its human meaning. Pieper tells us to "Be still. work is meaningless . dancing together at a wedding. Animals eat. Pieper makes clear. This is what religion teaches us. not only a natural theology for our disenchanted times." as a celebration and endorsement 'of our life here on earth. Feast. But only when informed by leisure. he extracts from the idea of leisure not only a theory of culture and its significance..a sacrament. Without the end. by the very Being to whom we offer it.in the highest instance . and what it ought to do for us. and again to Pascal and Kierkegaard: in his own gentle way.

and Aquinas. given in Bonn in the summer of 1947. Aristotle. they both spring from the same thought. primitive peoples and with classical antiquity.-itself. religion. in its innermost circle in. And it is perhaps only in this way that it is possible to understand how it was that Plato's philosophical school. and something more than. a contemplative attention to things. deed. is the primary source of __ --- {xiv} {xv} I . and rrt!eOlOIl(l. . though there is no denying that they belong to a truly human life. Augustine.the following words: Culture depends for its very existence on leisure. which must be understood in the traditional sense of Plato. and as they understood it. even though he could not do without them. while belonging to man. the philosophical' act is a fundamental relation to reality. The word" cult" in English is used exclusively. In the' tradition of which I am speaking. Among the bona non uiilia sed honesia which are at home in the realm of freedom. is the quintessence of all the natural goods of the world and of those gifts and qualities which. Their common origin or foundation might he stated in '. or almost exclusively. It really means fulfilling the ritual of public sacrifice. and leisure. in the sense in which it is used above. in which rna begins to see how worthy of veneration they really are. independence. with divine worship. __. the Academy in Athens. so to say. in a derivative sense. the second having been originally written in the form of lectures. Culture.Edition These two essays were published separately in Germany. For that very reason it is of the first importance to see that the cultus.Preface to the English Edition man's freedom. now as in the distant past... All that is good in this sense. was at the same time a sort of club or Preface to the English .~. That is a notion which contemporary "modern" man associates almost exclusively and unconsciously with unciviJized. Grant this original sense of the word "philosophizing" to be the true one. all man's gifts and faculties. and immunity within society.~~~-. in its turn. it is an attitude which presupposes silence. personal attitude which is by no manner of means at the sole disposal of the ratio. lie beyond the immediate sphere of his needs and wants . a full. not strictly speaking necessary. But here it is something else than. is not possible unless it has a durable and consequently living link with the cultus. and it is no longer possible to speak of the philosophical aspect in the same way that one might speak of a sociological and historical or a political aspectas though one could take up the one or the other at will. in a single breath. They are intimately connected and properly belong together. and all our liberties. Suppress that last sphere of freedom. are not necessarily useful in a practical way. This "is not only true in the sense that they were both written in lthe same summer. will in the end vanish into thin air. is philosophy. the philosophical act.

philosophical iheoria. In the last resort pure theory. and leisure. entirely free from practical considerations and interference . the Basis of Culture c c t.Leisure. ( 1/ C t f < {xvi} t ! t .can only be preserved and realized within the sphere of leisure. to the cultus.and that is what theory is . Leisure. is free because of its relation to worship. the Basis of Culture society for the celebration of the cultus. in its turn.

. and Apollo and Dionysus as the leaders of the Muses. a' defense of leisure. too rash to assume that our re-building will in fact be carried out in a "Western": spirit? Indeed.." We are engaged in the re-building of a house.Plato I We can begin. as a means of refreshment from their fatigue. =Psalm 45 I _ (3) .But the gods.•. And before any de... after refreshing themselves in the company of the gods. but also putting in order again our entire moral and intellectual heritage. like the Scholastic masters.. of all times.' We can read it in the first chapter of ~stot~ Metaphysics. in Germany] seems. For. The Greek word for leisure B~~- \? and know that I am God.gave them regularly recurring divine festivals. "It seems not to be true that . . calls out immediately for ..e. a few years after the Second World War. And the very history of the meaning of the word bears a similar message.. they gave them the Muses. " And this is the objection: a time like the present [i.. To "build our house" at this time implies not only securing survival. not to be a time to speak of "leisure.a race born to labor . perhaps. they might return to an upright posture. tailed plan along these lines can succeed. with an objection: videtur quod non . But there is also a good answer to it. taking pity on human beings . to the end that. when we consider the foundations of Western European culture (is it. our re-foundation. Shouldn't all our efforts be directed to nothing other than the completion of that house? This is no small objection. and our hands are full. our new begrii:' ning. this and no other is the very assumptionthat is at issue today). one of these foundations is leisure.

the Basis of Culture (OXOAll) is the origin of Latin scola. we must confront the contradic. The name for the institutions of education and learning mean "leisure. at least one side of the distinction comes to the fore in everyday life." Could this also imply that people in our day no longer have direct access to the original meaning of leisure? I~~' ___ ~-'--. The statement was actually made .~ Leisure. It is difficult for us to see how in fact it turns the order of things upside-down. when the issue of "servile work" arises. consider the following: the Christian concept of the "contemplative life" (the vita contemplativa) was built on the Aristotelian concept of leisure. Aristotle: the sober." but I I --. Weber is quoting Zinzendorf. or Holidays.Of course. but one . 1958) p. but only self-evident: the Greeks would probably not have understood our maxims about "work for the sake of work. industrious realist." Would we hesitate to say that here the world is really turned upside-' lr~own? Doesn't this statement appear almost immoral to the man or woman of the world of "total work"? Is it not an attack on the basic principles of human society? Now. and ap. "One does not only work in order to live. and the fact that he said it. but that doesn't mean we i_ are obliged to follow them. But is' not such a distinction of interest only to the historian? Well." Of course. English school.by Aristotle.tion that rises from our overemphasis on the world of ~work.1 2 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism [transl. gives the statement special significance . we can exp. Sundays. The context not only of this sentence but also of another one from Aristotle's Politics (stating that the around which everything turns is leisure)" shows that these notions were not considered extraordinary. How many are aware that the expression" servile work" cannot be fully understood without contrasting it with the "Liberal Arts"? And what does it mean to say that some 3 Politics VII.ect an objection here too: howl seriouslv must we take Aristotle anyway? We can admire! the ancient writers. ~"not-Ieisure" was the word for the world of everyday _work. {41 . 3 (1337b33).lives for the sake of one's work. 7 (1l77b4-6). the distinction between the "Liberal Arts" and the "Servile Arts" has its origin precisely here.peals to current opinion.Leisure. by Talcott Parsons] (New York: Charles Scribners' Sons. I What he says in a more literal translation would be: "We I are noi-ai-leisure in order to be-at-leisure:" For the Greeks. note 24. The Greek language had only this negative term for it (a-oxoAla:). "not-leisure"). Nicomachean Ethics X. 264. On the other side. And what would be our response to another stateI ment? "We work in order to be at leisure. as did Latin (neg-otium. of course. . quoted by Max Weber. the Basis of Culture the work itself. German Schule. and not only to indicate its "hustle and bustle. Further. the original meaning of the concept of "leisure" has practically been forgotten in today's leisure-less culture of "total work": in order to win our way to a real understanding of leisure. ..1 makes immediate sense to us.l Yes. {51 . I have not merely constructed a sentence to prove a point." this statement. the kind of activity that is deemed inappropriate for the "holy rest" of the Sabbath.

with the sociological and statistical sense of the "proletarian worker. as well. Der Arbeiter. The real reason for mentioning it was to show how sharply the modern valuation of work and leisure differs . how ready we are to grant all claims made for the person who "works.ence is so great. the Baets of Culture 1/ Leisure. that Aristotle's words do have some relevance to our times. And yet this is still not enough to "oblige" us in anyway. of our inability to recover the original meaning of "leisure. arts are "liberal" or "free"? This is still in need of clarification. 1935). when we realize.from that of Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Herrechafi und Gestalt (Hamburg. and almost impossible to recover in detail." I Now. Ernst Iunger. An altered conception of the human being as such. if we wanted to show. and a new interpretation of the meaning of human existence . looms behind the new claims being made for "work" and the "worker. This example might suffice. at least. 1932)." although the ambiguity is not coincidental." In the following discussion. "Worker" will be used in an anthropological sense: as a general human ideal. but by digging more deeply to the very roots of a philosophical and theological understanding of the human person. the word "worker" will not be used in the sense of a distinct kind of occupation." And as we might expect. as such. it will be achieved not by reconstructing a historical narrative. If something of real import is going to be said on the matter. the very fact of this difference. It is with this meaning in mind that 4 Ernst Niekisch spoke of the "worker" as an "imperial figS ure. that we can no longer understand with any immediacy just what the ancient and medieval mind understood by the statement. the historical evolution which resulted in this changed conception is difficult to follow. the Basis of Culture "worker" -type which has already begun to determine the future of humanity. The differ.Leisure._ (6) (7) . "We are not-at-leisure in order to be-at-leisure. Die dritte imperiale Figur (Berlin." and Ernst Jiinger sketched a portrait of that 4 5 Ernst Niekisch. in fact." will strike us all 'the more when we realize how extensively the opposing :idea of "work" has invaded and taken over the whole Irealm of human action and of human existence as a whole.

if we were speaking about an act of sense perception. In this last part of the journey. It ISbased on a certain interpretation of the human knowing process." we come face to face with the "world of total work" and its real meaning. the takeover of this region of intellectual action (including the province of philosophical culture) and its exclusive possession by the realm of "total work.these terms characterize the latest stretch of the road we have traveled." is merely to open our eyes to receive the things that present themselves to us." . the significance of the whole historical process has gathered itself together to form an expression of utmost precision and clarity. We have to be awake and active. when our eye sees a rose? What dowe do w~en that happens? Our mind does something. is there such a thing as "intellectual vision"? The ancient and medieval philosophers answered "Yes. to be sure. There w_ould scarcely be any dispute about this.:" But simply looking at something. which can serve to clarify it. the Basis of Culture concept "intellectual work. at the heart of this privileged province lay "philosophy. and so on. grasping its color. so long as we ar~ merely looking at it and not observing or studying it. where nobody needed to work." something at furthest remove from the working world. to use the scholastic technical terminology. 1/ II "Intellechlal work. Erns~ JUnger termed an "act of aggression." "intellectual worker" . What happens. But what about an act of knowing? When a human being considers something imperceptible to the senses. however. gazing at it.Leisure. in fully explicating the inner structure of the (8) The concept of intellectual work has a number of his'toric~l an~e~edents." forms only the most recent phase of a whole series of conquests made by the "imperial figure" of the "Worker." Modern philosophers have tended to say. bringing us at last to the modern ideal of work in its most extreme formulation. it is a "relaxed" looking. 1934). For. But all the same. is there then such a thing as mere "looking"? Or.. Its shape. that come to us without any need for "effort" on our part to "possess" them. Now. FIrst. . (9) . "taking it in. 202. counting or measuring its various features. Such observation would not be a "relaxed" action: it would be what . ~ the mere fact of taking in the object. Up until this time (at least from the point of view of someone who worked with his hands) the province of intellectual enterprise tended to be looked upon as a kind of paradise." And the concepts intellectual 'Worker and intellectual 'Work (with the evaluative claims that go with them) make the fact of that conquest especially clear and especially challenging to our times. "No. p. 1 /1 V Blatter und Steine (Hamburg.

Schmidt (Leipzig.2 This doctrine has been characterized." not only in sense perception but also in intellectual knowing or. refining. as "one of the most mo!nentous dogmatic assumptions of Kantian epistemology. abstracting. . ancient and medieval philosophy had quite the . as the ancients understood it. of searching and re-searching. R. privileged tone of Philosophy" is branded as a false philosophy.Leisure. the Basis of Culture proval. ed. distinguishing. "to run to and fro"].Aristotle no less than Plato . abstracting. Kritik der reinen Vernunft. 91. without. and concluding [cf Latin dis-currere. even philosophy itself (since philosophy is at the greatest remove from sense perception). "Listening-in to the being of ihinge/" The medievals distinguished between the intellect as r~tio an~ the intellect as intellectus. in an article written to refute the Romantic "vision" and "intu4 itive" philosophy of Jacobi. which is not active but pas5 Diels-Kranz.. in order to come into complete possession of the whole wisdom promised by philosophy. 387-406." Not only the Greeks in general. According to Kant." "The understanding cannot look upon any thing." while. .. The path of disc~rsive reasoning is accompanied and penetrated by the iniellecius' untiring vision. originating from the exaltation of a "philosophy of work. Kant objects. Ratio is the power of discursive thought. comparing. in brief. deducing. Die Geschichte der Erkenntlslehre 111 der neueren Philosophie bis Kant (Paderborn. p. "the law of reason i~. the Basis of Culture To Kant.3 In Kant's view. starting from this basis. for instance/the human act of knowin-g is exclusively "discursive. Kant says witl:t recognition and ap2 3 Leisure. that "Father of all raving enthusiasm in Philosophy. human knowing consists essentially in the act of investigating.Now. in which one" does not work but merely listens with delight to the orac." Akademie-Ausgabe 8. 1940). to which the truth presents itself as a landscape presents itself to the eye. 1944) p. and Stolberg. by the human being) is activity. of course." And such a "pseudo-philosophy" thinks itself superior to the strenuous labor of the true philosopher! .le within oneself. 4 flO} {ll} . Bernhard Jansen. Kant was _ able to conclude that all knowing. 112. Kant.opposit~ view. And he said so expressly: in 1796. all held that there was an element of purely receptive "looking. "Aristotle's philosophy is truly work. should be understood as a form of wor~. Schlosser. that is. Die Fragmenie del' Vorsokratiker." This accusation he directs even against Plato. articulating." From such a perspective. frag. joining. for example. as Heraclitus said." the "recently exalted. And tlus Romantic philosophy cannot truly be a philosophy because it is not "work. \1 1 '~ I I I I 1 i 1 ! I I 1." which means not "merely looking. It is no wonder that. justifying any charge that p~losophy was something "easy. proving . "Von einem neuerdings erhobenen vornehmen Ton in del' Philosophie... . then. 235. and nothing but activity.but the great medieval thinkers as well. In philosophy.all of which are so many types and methods of active mental effort. knowing (intellectual knowing. pp. The spiritual knowing power of the human mind. is really two things in one: ratio and intellectus: all knowing involves both. whereas intellectus refers to the ability of "simply looking" (simplex intuitus). ed.suprem~. whereby property is possessed through labor.

along with the ancients. and a demand made by the human being. This statement means that human knowing is a partaking in the non-discursive power of vision enjoyed by the angels. nevertheless it is a kind of participation in that simple knowing which takes place in higher natures. "Although human knowing really takes place in the mode of ratio. {13} . that human knowing is a mutual interplay of ratio and intellectus. and that something essential is in fact missing from such a definition. that is not work . which is not there in virtue of our humanity as such. and something essential to it. Certainly. the truly intellectual beings. The statement. and we can thus conclude that human beings possess a power of intellectual vision. {12} Quaestio disputata de virtutibus cardinalibus 1. its discursive thinking pro~ess. Disputed Questions on Truth. but in virtue of a transcendence over what is human. or better. finally. you have to work. but which is really the highest fulfillment of what it is to be human. It implies a demand on the human being. and a difficult activity. Kant's "Law of the Human Reason. can retain in philosophy an element of contemplation of being as a whole . WIthout the "nuisance of labor" (labor improbusi involved ~ ~ll"intellectual work" Even so. sed superhumana).Leisure. the Basis of Culture sive. the vita 6 contemplativa as the highest form of human living is not "properly human. The operation of the ratio." or "knowing is an activity.a receptively operating power of II Leisure." is a statement with two sides to it." holds true . knowing in general and p~ilosophical knowing in particular cannot take place w~thout the effort and activity of discursive reasoning. and what is "essentially human" alone does not exhaust the knowing power of human nature. and is thus "truly human" after all (in the same way. to whom it has been granted to "take in" the immaterial as easily as our eyes take in light or our ears sound. but does not even reach the core of the matter. but superhuman": non proprie humana. really is work.1. 7 Q. receptive . whoever can recognize an element of intellectual vision within discursive reasoning: whoever. for it is essential to the human person to reach beyond the province of the human and into the order of angels. the Basis of Culture the intellect. purely receptive seeing." that property is acquired through labor. If you want to understand something. ratio as the decisively human activity was contrasted with the intellectus which had to do with what surpasses human limits. there is something else ill It. Of course. in philosophy. "knowing is work. this" super-human" power nevertheless does belong to man." These are the words of 6 Thomas Aquinas. . But the snnple act of the intellectus is not work And whoever thinks.and that is a claim on man. Human knowing has an element of the non-active. For the ancient and medieval philosophers the "laboring" nature of the human ratio was likewise a mark of its humanness. again according to Thomas Aquinas.such a person will have to grant that a characterization of knowing and philosophy as "work" is not only not exhaustive. And something else must be added: the aricients likewise considered the active efforts of the discursive ratio to be the essentially human element of human knowing.XV.

insofar as it is a "Herculean labor. cit. 1945/6)." it is the traits of "effort" and "stress" that we see becoming more pronounced there and. pp. close to the conclusion. because it is the very nature of vision to be effortless. the Basis of Culture one another as "activity" to "receptivity. he saw a kind of legitimation of philosophy: philosophy is genuine. in the following terrifying statement: "Every action makes sense. 10 Hermann Rauschning. ed. Schiller's ironic verses point out the problem: It But it is simply not the case that" discursive thinking" and "intellective vision" are as exclusively opposed to 8 9 Kant. cit (see note 4 above). ~deed. all passivity is senseless. or at least.is a betrayal of true mo~a~~. hidden. permanently etched. 1415. so to speak." or as active effort to receptive absorption. Gespriiche mit Hitler (ZUrich/New York.. 1943). according to Kant. side of the same dictum . subjective activity. 390. on the other. Maximen und Reftexionen.?" he was only using a convenient figure of speech.and that means. on the one hand. Gilnther Milller (Stuttgart. the Basis of Culture The other. op.between effort and effortlessness . 1940). then the one who knows.as expressed once. most radically. in the end'"): the hard quality of not-being-able-to-receive. without effort . knows only the fruit of his own. There is nothing in his knowing that is not the fruit of his own efforts. From the contrast just mentioned . Would not such a viewpoint bring us to the conclusion." The fact that "intellective vision" didn't cost anything is what made it so suspicious to him. To sum up the argument: thanks to a certain underlying assumption.is the claim made by man: if knowing is work. When Kant spoke of philosophy as a "Herculean labor. And when we look into the face of the "worker." 10 Leisure.the side that does not immediately show itself . Kant expected no real gain in knowledge from intellectual vision." We speak here of a peculiar criterion for determining the value of action as such.quoted according to the selections published in the journal Die Wandlung (I. {IS} .. no. p. and nothing else. Rather. It is simply part of the nature of things that the Good is difficult and that the voluntary effort put into forcing oneself to do something becomes the standard for moral goodness. op.. The more difficult thing must be the higher Good. they are related to each other as effort and struggle.Leisure.appears a second source of emphasis on t~leco~ce?t "intellectual work. that the truth of what is known is determined by the effort put into knowing it? Now. {14} u Kant. P: 393. even criminal acts . in this laborious aspect. that will not brook any resistance . this is not so very distant from the ethical doc~ine that holds that whatever SOmeone does by inclinabon .the assumption that human knowing is accomplished in an exclusively active/ discursive operation of the ratio. It is the mark of" absolute activity" (which Goethe said "makes one bankrupt. For. exclusively work. 684 ff. the moral law by definition IS opposed to natural inclination. the concept of "intellectual work" has gained a great deal of influence . a stoniness of heart. are related to effortlessness and calm possession. there is nothing "received" in it.

doch tu ich es leider mit Neigung / Und so wurmt es mil' oft. Thomas Aquinas wrote as follows: "The essence of virtue consists more in the Good than in the Difficult.5. Ibid. That is what Kant would have said.12 Leisure. he also extolled · 14 Hercules as the Accomplisher of Super h uman Actions. {16} 20 21 22 Cf. 1.: a work of Antisthenes (no longer extant) bore the title.T' The Middle Ages had something to say about virtue that will be hard for us fellow countrymen of Kant to understand." "Effort is good": objecting to this thesis in the Summa theologiae. 28].. {17} ." Yes. dass ich nichi tugendhafi bin. 313 ff. he had no belief in immortality (what really matters..a. but it must be more difficult in such a way.. 7 which he preferred attacking with" enlightened" wit/ he 12 "Die Philosophen" (Gewissenskrupel): Gerne dient' ich den Freunden.pp. the highest realizations of 17 18 19 II So. effort is good. He was responsible for the first paradigm of the "worker" . And what was this? That virtue makes it possible for us . who used the word "Herculean" to praise the heroism of philosophers. 107. Transmitted by Clement of Alexandria.. VI. This was a thought formulated long ago by the Cynic philosopher Antisthencs/" one of Plato's friends and a fellow disciple of Socrates. or On Power. a. 13 Antisthenes' statement is found in Diogenes Laertius. II-II. What Thomas says. the Basis of Culture I help my friends. in German translation (Konigstein. 314.Wilhelm Nestle.II. the Basis of Culture was "a-musical" (a foe of the Muses: poetry only interested him for its moral content):" he felt no responsiveness to Eros (he said he "would like to kill Aphrodite").2. was to live rightly "on this earth. ad 3um..this is an image that still (or. Ibid. was a surprisingly "modern" figure. he said. once more?) has a cer~ tain compelling attraction: from the motto of Erasmus to the philosophy of Kant.! II II 'I Leisure. as also to be at a higher level of goodness. and on to Thomas Carlyle. Now . 16 Carlyle.or rather.2. and it feels nice Until Ifear that it's a vice. it is not for that reason necessarily more worthwhile.). The Lives and Teachings of the Philosophers. Antisthenes. . 123. As this Antisthenes had no feeling for cultic celebration. Griechischen Geistesgeschichte von Homer bis Lukian (Stuttgart. 14 Ibid.ad 2um." Cf.. is that virtue perfects us so that we can follow our natural inclination in the right way.Erasmi Roierodami. 15 Anton Gail told me of a portrait of Erasmus. 1. 12. he represented it himself. Summa theologiae II-II.2o This collection of character traits appear almost purposely designed to illustrate the very "type" of the modern "workaholic. The Greater Hercules. painted by Hans Holbein. by the way. Q. the prophet of the religion of Work: "You must labor like Hercules .16 an ethicist of independence. as quoted by Robert Langewiesche [in an anthology of Carlyle's writings. Diogenes Laertius.d. In the same passage it is also reported that "He considered the desire of love as an evil of nature. and we all might be ready to agree. n.. to master our natural inclinations? No.). Q.. in which Erasmus has his hands resting on a book with the title Herakleou Ponoi [Greekfor" the Labors of Hercules"] . 1944). 8... VI. p. instead.21"When something is more difficult. He not only came up with the equation of effort with goodness. 19 as a flat Realist. Stromata. p. 27.

Thomas Aquinas. the Basis of Culture moral goodness are known to be such precisely in this: that they take place effortlessly because it is of their essence to arise from love. what one seeks is a higher bliss. one does not intend the painful as such. And the holy effortlessness of the action of charity would also be connected with previous. the greatest virtue is without difficulty. The un-related nature of this readiness to suffer is the decisive difference because in this case someone does not ask why. Surely. Q. it is effortless and not burdensome. even though the greatness of the love is shown by its power to overcome the difficulty. d. in the opinion of the average Christian. it does not consist in the effort of thought. Commentary on the Sentences I. true contemplation. such knowledge would be grace in the strict sense). Summa iheologiae II-II. 6. no matter what the reason. nor seeks exertion for the sake of exertion. de caritaie 8. Bliitter und Steine. "Knowing" means that the reality of existing things has been reached. 108. a healing. the effort would not be the cause but rather a necessary condition for it. which comes to one like a gift.a. then. And yet the overemphasis on effort and struggle has made an inroad even on our under. so in knowing. ad Ium.24 be a still greater ove. that the essence of knowing would lie. is the love of one's enemies the highest form of love? Because here. ready to suffer pain. the highest form would be the lightening-like insight. but in any case. Q.. 2.that would . and the fullness of existence. 8.Leisure. that in good conscience he can own only what he himself has reached through painful effort.. in the discovery of reality. a. and thereby the fullness of happiness: "The goal and the norm of discipline is happiness. p. 179." This aspect too of the concept of "intellectual work" the over-valuation of the "difficult" as such . or "intellectual work. Just as in the realm of the Good. Such readiness to suffer (in which the ultimate meaning of all "discipline" has been seen to consist)" is radically different from the Christian understanding of self-sacrifice: in the latter. standing of love.. What makes this kind of love so great is precisely its unusual difficulty. II-II. nor the difficult simply because it is difficult.emphasis on effort appears to be this: that man mistrusts everything that is without effort. 141. its practical impossibility. {19} . the natural inclination is suppressed to a heroic degree. Quaest. Thomas speaks of contemplation and play in a single breath: "Because of the leisure of contemplation" [otium contemplationis] the Scripture says of the D~:vineWisdom itself that it "plays all the time. not in the effort of thought as such. But if the love were so great. and perhaps must be so prepared (otherwise. but in the grasp of the being of things.. Why. as completely to remove all difficulty . such highest realizations of knowing would 23 Leisure. stony features. 1 .30]. the Basis of Culture be preceded by an exceptional effort of thought.presents itself in the deeply etched visage of the "worker": those mask-like. exercise of the will.27 The innermost meaning of this over. for instance. that he refuses to let himself be given anything. It would follow. plays throughout the world" [Wisdom.25 . rather. 26 27 'I 1 :1 1 1 I II i I 'I I 24 25 Ibid. and heroic. But what does Thomas say? "It is not the difficulty involved that makes this kind of love so worthy. 2 (expositio textus). {IS} Ernst [unger. disp. ad 17um.

those which are ordered to some utility to be attained through action are called servile arts. Who comes forth as Love from the Father.by which we understand the relationships of social classes and groupings with one another . IV. "free" meaning not being subordinated to a duty to fulfill some function.. 4. Is it not clear to everyone how much the problem has gone beyond the merely theoretical stage." 29 Summa theologiae I.Leisure. something not-achieved .if we keep all this before our eyes. the Basis of Culture We should consider for a moment how much the Christian understanding of life is based on the reality of "Grace". from the inheritance of Christian Europe. The contemporary use of the words includes as well a reference to the "working class. he too is a functionary in the total world of work. John Henry Newman said 30 1/ Thomas Aquinas. and we have found that the concept has its origin above all in two theses: 1) the view that all human knowing is accomplished exclusively in the manner of discursive activity. But that is not all that the terms "intellectual work" and 28 Leisure. let us also recall that the Holy Spirit Himself is called "Gift. This is the social doctrine that lies concealed in the concepts of "intellectual labor" and "intellectual worker. the hand-worker. Q. that what is first is always something received ./8 that the greatest Christian teachers have said that the Justice of God is based on Love:" that something given. is a metaphysical one. But there is a third element involved as well. With this.the "social" is only the foreground. to be given". and Summa theologiae I. however. which appears to be even more crucial than the first two and seems to comprehend both of them within itself. work means" contribution to society. 23: "It is the role of the Holy Spirit. and the proletarian are workers. 21. It is the old question about the justification and sense of the artes liberales. And something else." And "intellectual work" is intellectual activity as social service. we can see the abyss that separates this other attitude. is truly called a "gift. our inquiry meets the very nub of the issue. {20} Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics I. the Basis of Culture "intellectual worker" say.is presumed in everything achieved or laid claim to.nobody is granted a "free zone" of intellectual activity. 3. Summa contra gentiles. are workers..whether he be "intellectual" or "hand" worker . even the learned man. The real question." he is still a functionary. 2 ad Ium: "The Holy spirit. he may be called a "specialist. and 2) the view that the effort that goes into thought is the criterion of its truth. something even more pointed is being said: nobody . . {21} . to threaten drastic implications? And yet the" social" . and we will have more to say about it later. something free of all debt. they too are drawn into the social system and its distribution of labor. What are "liberal arts"? Thomas Aquinas provides some conceptual clarification in his Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysic!'!: "Every art is called liberal which is ordered to knowing. We have been inquiring into the origin of the concept of intellectual labor." Understood in this way. a.30 Six hundred years later. as contribution to the common utility. 38. a. The intellectual worker is also bound to his function. something undeserved." and something like the following is implied: not only the wage earner. Q. the student.

or human existence as such." To many people. we are speaking. Libera. which consists in a useful effect that can be realized through praxis. for the" Arts Faculty" of the medieval university is today [i. and how it is valued. in a certain sense. for academic education. but it may also fall back upon that Reason. "The theoretically treated special science" . Philosophy can be called the most lib31 Leisure. But there is also a philosophical manner of treating these special sciences and then our question about philosophy as such would apply to them also. gave its name to the liberal arts. 6. to be related to purposes that exist apart from themselves. V.. the natural sciences. are ways of human action which have their justification in themselves. and for education [Bildung] in the genuine sense . about the place and justification for the University. "servile arts" are ways of human action that have a purpose outside of themselves. It is of the nature of the individual sciences. To translate the question into contemporary language. "that knowledge may resolve itself into an art. or to what extent. For in one case it is called Useful ." Newman says. For there is not much to dispute about whether.that means that a science is being pursued in the original.in the sense in which it differs from and transcends. \I Newman. Training is distinguished 32 Ibid. (22) (23) .31 1 "Liberal arts. even in the most noble forms of his activity. an issue now put behind us. if we are speaking about the place and justification for philosophy. then at the same time. jurisprudence.Leisure. that they do not need to be legitimated by a social function. no more and no less. that does not have its justification by being part of the machinery of a "five-year plan"? Is there or is there not something of that kind? The inner tendency of the concepts "intellectual work" and "intellectual worker" point to the answer: No. by being "work.e.I . and resolve itself into Philosophy. The functionary is trained." For our inquiry. Idea of a University. We can relate the question to philosophy and philosophical education. in th e ot h er. and seminate in a mechanical process and in tangible fruit. "Knowledge is most truly free when it is philosophical knowledge. and with his whole existence. and thus be capable of being classed as "work" in social-scientific usage. ." therefore.." Newman said. medical science. which informs it. a purpose.(for "academic" means "philosophical" or it means nothingt). then." And philosophy. Knowledge. becomes an indicator of particular importance. "academic" sense . in Germany] called the "Philosophical Faculty. to be more exact. or economics should have a circumscribed place for themselves in the functioning unity of the modern social system. the Basis of Culture eral of the liberal arts. the human being is essentially. it would sound something like this: Is there still an area of human action. The "liberality" or "freedom" of the liberal arts consists in their not being disposable for purposes. all mere career training. the question about the justification and meaning of the liberal arts will seem to be an already answered question. the Basis of Culture as follows: "I know well. in principle. Thus. a functionary. philosophy.

there is also the knowledge of a "gentleman. But the question is this: can the world of man be exhausted in being the "working world"? Can the human being be satisfied with being a functionary. Of course. and in this sense "free"). and toward some one section of the world. nor can the special sciences be treated in a philosophical manner (and that means. 176. and respect be granted. the Basis of Culture and especially academic usage." But the ancients said that there rightly exist non-useful forms of human activity. insofar as he is capax unioersi. and specialized. Of course. 5. that there be persons who devote 34 The Idea of a University. that not everything that cannot exactly be categorized as "useful" is useless. from the other direction.f Inthe consistently planned working-state there can be neither genuine philosophy (to whose nature it belongs. for what is-not "useful work" in the sense of immediate application.34 It should go without saying. only a nee35 essary result." above all. and painfully so. a "worker"? Can human existence be fulfilled in being exclusively a work-a-day existence? Or. what is normal is work. but for the sake of blessing." According to Hegel's fine formulation. in the human being. has been so influenced by all this talk of "intellectual worker" or "mental laborer. that there are such things as liberal arts. Now it is in the term "intellectual worker. that it is "necessary for the perfection of the human comml.." In just such a sense can the medieval statement be understood. V. Education concerns the whole human being." {25} I I '~II~ I." able to comprehend the sum total of existing things. But this is not to say anything against professional training. this was made use of . 35 Taken from Goethe's Conversations with Eckermann. It is thus symptomatic. how do I use the whole? rather. 33 iI Leisure. the Basis of Culture by its orientation toward something partial. in a wider circle." In the world of the worker. but that was not its purpose. i 1 olli I: I· I . or against the functionary. As Goethe the Minister of State wrote to Friedrich Soret [Oct. and the normal day is a working day. 36 " Blatter und Steine.. I have only attempted to speak out what I understood as good and true. 1830]: "I have never asked . there is a denial of free research. Newman so happily translated the old term artes liberales in his Idea of a University. H. p. as Ernst JUnger put it. {24} Taken from the preface to Hegel's Wissenschaft del' Logic. there is not only use. "No. the vocationally specialized exercise of a function is the normal form of human activity." as J. there is also blessing. There are not only functionary sciences. "capable of the whole..Leisure. not to be at the disposal of purposes. that linguistic usage. that room be allowed. where the fuller context says that "the contemplation of the Eternal and of a life that serves it alone" is motivated "not for the sake of use.llity. . Education is concerned with the whole: whoever is educated knows how the world as a whole behaves. " academically" in the original sense of the word). And thus it is not at all without significance for a people and the the realization of a nation's common good. 20. as it were: Are there such things as liberal arts? The architects of the total world of work would have to answer. to put it another way. that this very situation is established and proclaimed.

active power. the Basis of Culture themselves to the [use-less] life of contemplation. something completely alien.Leisure. But it is worth the trouble to spend a little time with the topic. who devote themselves to the vita contemplativa.u . From the perspective of such a "worker. 26. . There is a curious connection in the fact that the restlessness of a self-destructive work-fanaticism should take its rise from the absence of a will to accomplish something. (26) 2. an aimless readiness to suffer pain. This is a very surprising concept.T" To which I would only like to add that this is necessary not only for the perfection of the individuals themselves. Commentary on the Sentences IV." {27} 37 Thomas Aquinas. that the restlessness of work-forwork's-sake arose from nothing other than idleness. an untiring insertion into the rationalized program of useful social organization.onym. D. without rhyme or reason . I. by acedia?1 To begin with. when we speak of the "root of all evils. in fact. but also for the perfection of the whole human community! Would anyone who thinks only in terms of the "intellectual worker" be willing to say that? 1/ III Our brief sketch of the "Worker" type has brought into the open three principal characteristics: an outwardly di-rected.as a syn. that went together with idleness. which requires no small effort to explicate. N ow the code of life of the High Middle Ages said something entirely opposite to this: that it was precisely lack of leisure." leisure can only appear as something totally unforeseen. it meant something other than what we usually mean. for idleness and laziness. an inability to be at leisure. What did the old code of conduct mean by idleness.

which would never be confused by anyone with any experience with the narrow activity of the "workaholic.' But in the wake of Sombart acedia has been translated by expressions like "wool gatherer" or "thumb-twiddler" [Leimsierderhaftigkeitl.293. for example. Howard V. but rather the cheerful affirmation by man of his own existence. interprets it to mean the "lackadaisical stay-at-home. cf. that it consists in someone "despairingly" not wanting "to be oneself. and in the ultimate sense.and this sadness is that "sadness of the world" 3 (tristitia saeculi) spoken of in the Bible. and of God . Das Arbeitsethos der Kirche nacli Thomas von Aquin und Leo XIII: Untersuchungen uber den Wirtschaftsgeist des Kaiholicismus. Sombart. in Kierkegaard's Writings. that. that behind all his energetic activity. 34. 49 ff." of which Kierkegaard said. if we hadn't pp. 58 ff. in this connection. 321. that man finally does not agree with his own existence. 313. Hong and Edna H. Johannes Haessle. would be the concept that opposes this metaphysical/theological concept of idleness? Is it that acquisitive effort or industriousness. 322. he is not at one with himself. and that means that he does not want to be what he really. Uber die Hoffnung. p.vol. from which arises that special freshness of action.Leisure. is creative. 4 W. This leads to a curious translation of this rather calm statement by Thomas Aquinas: vivere secundum actum est quando exercet quis opera vitae in ach/ as "to live in actu means that one exerts oneself. Sombart. Acedia is the" despair of weakness. (Munich. for the older code of behavior. 3. which can only really imply that acedia is the lack of economic ambition or enterprise. then." We would probably get this all wrong.pp.2 The metaphysical-theological concept of idleness means. [ohannes Haessle (see note 6 above). sadness has seized him in the face of the divine Goodness that lives within him . meant especially this: that the human being had given up on the very responsibility that comes with his dignity: that he does not want to be what God wants him to be. the Basis of Culture Scheler has already objected to this interpretation. Max Scheler. (Freiburg in Briesgau. 1919). that is. as practiced in the economic life of civil society? To be sure.as if contemplation were not also an "activity of life (opus vitae)" for Thomas! The opposite of acedia is not the industrious spirit of the daily effort to make a living. What. and active"S . 19. then.pp. this is how acedia has been understood by some. is.of Love. as if it had something to do with the "business-ethos" of the Middle Ages. Der Bourgeois (Leipzig. vol. see Joseph Pieper. p. 1980).. p. also {2S} 5 6 7 8 . Vom Umsturz der Werte (Leipzig. 2 The Sickness unto Death: A Christian Psychological Exposition for Upbuilding and Awakening. 1923). 2. De Imitate intellectus. {29} For more on acedia." in contrast with the active and useful worker/ but Max 1 Leisure. 1913). 5th ed. to read modern activism into the "working-ethos" of the Church. 3 See Thomas Aquinas. the Basis of Culture Idleness. 31. as the Middle Ages expressed it. Hong (Princeton.p.. ed. 1955). of the world as a whole." But especially to be regretted is the apologetic enthusiasm of the attempt to legitimize "Christian teaching" through making it agree with the current fashion and. De malo 11.

ad 1um." pursues things as an act of .an absence of preoccupation. and whoever is not still. therefore. to steal their . as from a source arise. there is." 9 And so. 12.it is a conof the soul) -leisure is precisely the counterpoise to the image of the "worker. and immersion . Q. which can let things go as they will. 35.. as real. ." lme 0. there is in it something of the "trust in the fragmentary. {31} . Leis~re is a form of that stillness that is the necessary . a calm. Caput . And from Idleness . an d so on . 11. so the old teaching goes. 1939.ggression. when he is in accord with his own being. I. work as social function. So far from seeing in "idleness" the opposite of the "work-ethic." of the recognition of the mysterious character of the world.r''" The same journal entry of the poet Konrad Weiss. is "disagreement with oneself." Idleness and lack of leisure belong with each other. In leisure. Leisure. that forms the very life and essence of history.preparation for accepting reality.has not yet descended into words.: 9 Leisure. from which that last quotation was taken.for the True and the Official. cannot hear. Leisure is the disposition of receptive understanding." and we can now see how this pertains to all three aspects we have dealt with: work as activity. that it is really "lack of leisure. the Basis of Culture been expressly told: Thomas Aquinas understood acedia as a sin against the Third Commandment. someone may ask. lowe my knowledge of this passage to the kind permission of the poet's widow. furthermore.d" " vacation.since Restlessness and Despair are "sisters"). can mean "head" as in "head or source of a stream": these are the sins from which. to be quiet . speaks of Ernst Junger's precise style of thinking and writing. there is leisure as "non-activity" . has so little U1 common with leisure. 3. of respending to the real . with its "fanaticism .a co-respondence. that it is the very inner disposition to non-leisure. rather.this is what brings us back to our own point of departure . Leisure. only the person who is still can hear.secret from them and then to } 10 i' Summa theologiae II-II. naturally. as it were. an ability to let things go." There can only be leisure.3 ad 2um. De malo Q." But the translation of the Latin terminology here is not exactly felicitous. then. when man is at one with himself. giving us a certain insight into the hidden meaning of the expression. {3D} Sept. It means." "ti ff . is Despair.in the real. of ~ontemplative beholding. Such stillness as this is not mere soundlessness or a dead muteness. Acedia.from idleness springs. and the confidence faith. Against the exclusiveness of the paradigm of work as nrl-<"Hl-< first of all. the Basis of Culture necessarily present in all the external things like "breaks. all other errors. leisure is opposed to both. among other vices also those of Restlessness and Inability-for-Leisure (and among the other "daughters" springing from the same source. what has all this to do with our present topic? Only this: that acedia is classified as one of the "Seven Capital Sins." he understands it as a sin against the Sabbath. eternally established in nature . against "The soul's resting in God..from which the word "capital" is derived..(and we must firmly keep to this assumption. Idleness in the old sense. which. something of the se. then. since leisure is not . "work and don't despair!" . work as effort. that the soul's power. renity of "not-being-able-to grasp. " " wee k en. as a condition of the soul .

ed." Second. and as vines and bunches of grapes. all at once.Leisure. it is not the same thing as quiet. Leisure is not the attitude of the one who mtervenes but of the one who opens himself. not of someone who seizes but of one who lets go. die Musse are found the following three verses: "I stand in a peaceful meadow / as a beloved Elm tree. or even as an inner quiet." .. unless you do so). the world. and what rejoices them. The highestform of affirmation is the festival. just as sleeplessness and restlessness are in a special way mutually related. 66. as distinct from the typical idleness. In such silent openness of the soul. It is rather like the stillness in the conversation of lovers. the Basis of Culture place them under inspection as if they were antiseptically prepared microscope slides . to festival belo~~ "peace. or of a divine mystery -IS this not like the surge of life that comes from deep. leisure is the condition of considering things in a celebrating spirit. which gives its time to everything: God. which is fed by their oneness." almost assomeone who falls asleep must let himself go (you cannot sleep. intensity of ~ife. everything. and an agreement with 12 =. (33) .. and "go under. against the exclusiveness of the paradigm of work as effort.this is what Weiss o~served: such "formulated" description is "the very opposite of all contemplation. 10). Leisure is only possible in the assumption that man is not only in harmony with himself [whereas idleness is rooted in the denial of this harmony]. a sleeping child. whether good or evil-letting everything go by in indifference. and as wise people know. God saw.). And in fact."ll The surge of new life that flows out to . God gives HIS blessmgs to hIS own. us when we give ourselves to the contemplation of a blo~soming rose.he world / holds in its innermost. lingering gaze of the inner eye on the reality of creation. do the greatest. just so the leisure of man includes within itself a celebratory. p. who lets himself go. just so the man at leisure is related to someone sleeping. in sleep ." Feierabend]. things. when "he rested from all the works that He had made" that everything was good. but also that he is in agreement with the world and its meaning. The inner joyfulness of the person who is celebrating [Der Feiernde] belongs to the very core of what we mean by leisure [as does that incomparable German word for "quitting time" or "festival-evening. come to us above all in the time of leisure." so that afterwards the m- Leisure. that they "are active and cooperative in the bUSIness of the world.. as Heraclitus said of the those wh? sleep. It is not the same as the absence of activity.sights of that happy moment have to be re-discovered through the effort of "labor. / the sweet play of life coils around me. Die aniike Religion (Amsterdam." And as it is written in the Scriptures. 1940).and contemp~ation. the Basis of Culture -." The holding of a festival means: an affirmation of the basic meaning of the world.31). most blessed insights. it may be granted to man for only an instant to know "what t. the historian of religion.in just the same way. and is like an idleness pushed to a lime level of exactitude . {32} Karl Kerenyi. In Holderlin's poetic fragment. the kind that could never be tracked down. 11 Fragment 75 (Diels. very good (Genesis 1. dreamless sleep? And as it is written in the Book of Job: "God gives us songs in the middle of t~e night:' (35. Leisure lives on affirmation. and according to Karl Kerenyi. approving.

the Basis of Culture . or the kind that lasts a week or longer . II. as if they were the goal. The simple "break" from work . In the third place. (34) "As God. 15.Leisure. And this festive character is what makes leisure not only "effortless" but the very opposite of effort or toil. no matter how much new strength the one who resumes working may gain from it..is the truly"human" in a sense). Thomas Aquinas. Like the gift of contemplative self-immersion in Being. the intellectus with the" always now" of eternity). and thereby to realize himself as a be14 ing who is oriented toward the whole of existence.led-out world of his limited work-a-day function.mto ~he parce.13 Now leisure is not there for the sake of work. But the ranking cannot be re-:ersed: while it is true that the one who prays before gomg to bed sleeps better. the power to be at leisure is the power to step beyond the working world and win contact 14 Cf. but mstead remains capable of taking in the world as a whole. It is something that has been built into the whole working process. such rest is appointed not only temporarily.. but rather in God Himself. nobody who wants leisure merely for the sake of . Summa contra gentiles II. but instead cuts through it at the perpendicular (the ancients compared the ratio with time. but rested from them. in order to rest on the seventh day. but for eternity. its inmost and ever-central source. the vita activa (even though this . and the ability to uplift one's spirits in festivity." as the word "refreshment" indicates: one is refreshed for work through being refreshed from work. {35} . in Whom our happiness consists-. in an extraordinary manner.the active life . Who made things.is part and parcel of daily working life. different from the everyday. The festival is the origin of leisure. just so should we learn to rest not in our things or in His things. the Basis of Culture it. and in fact it means to live out and fulfill one's inclusion in the world." Commentary on the Sentences. ~d this means that the human being does not disappear .the kind that lasts an hour. so leisure is of a higher rank than 13 Leisure. Leisure stands in a perpendicular position with respect to the working process . and be free for the worship of God.This is the reason why man should work for six days in His own works. a part of the schedule. /I This is why the ability to be "at leisure" is one of the basic powers of the human soul. did not rest in the things He made.3.3. leisure in our sense is not justified by providing bodily renewal or even mental refreshment to lend new vigor to further work although it does indeed bring such things! As contemplation. Leisure is not justified in making the functionary as "trouble-free" in operation as possible. with minimum downtime. the deep refreshment that comes from a deep sleep. 96. so that he can stay a gentleman). D. leisure stands opposed to the exclusiveness of the paradigm of work as social function. But for Christians. in Himself .in just the same way as the "simple gaze" of intellectus does not consist in the "duration" (so to speak) of ratio's working-out process. In the same way." but rather in keeping the functionary human (or as Newman said it. "refreshment" will experience its authentic fruit. surely nobody would want to think of praying as a means of going to sleep. It is supposed to provide "new strength" for "new work. The "break" is there for the sake of work.

Richard Wright. in the foregoing pages. to formulate a conception of leisure. if anywhere . will it be possible to keep the human being from becoming a complete functionary. to speak of an unleashed "demonic power" in history). As Aristotle said of it: "man cannot live this way insofar as he is man. Die Llmschau 1..active effort. further questions remain concerning its intrinsic significance. For instance. there can be no doubt..and this is not brought about through the application of extreme efforts but rather as with a kind of "moving away" (and this "moving" is of course more difficult than the extreme. some room for leisure from the forces of the total world of work? And this would mean not merely a little portion of rest on Sunday. pp. of that. no. renewed and alive again. even though the latter is effortless: this is the paradox that reigns over the attainment of leisure. or "worker"? What would have to be done beforehand in order for this to succeed? For that the world of the "Worker" is pushing into history with a monstrous momentum (we are almost inclined.not only there. to put the matter more concretely: will it ever be possible to keep. of attunement to the world-as-a-whole? In other words." which a certain perceptive observerf has seen as the distinctive character of the working world. of true learning. life-giving forces that can send us. it is "more difficult" because it is less at one's own disposal. Only in such authentic leisure can the "door into freedom" be opened out of the confinement of that "hidden anxiety. Resistance to this has been attempted from several directions and did not begin yesterday. according to a report in the international journal. the position so fiercely fought for during the First World (37) 15 The black American author. or reclaim. 16 Nicomachean Ethics X. To be sure.16 IV After our initial attempt. rightly or wrongly. 7 (1177b27-28). the Basis of Culture with those superhuman. for which "employment and unemployment are the two poles of an existence with no escape. 2. which is at once a human and super-human condition). its "prospects" for being realized. 214-16. but rather a whole "preserve" of true. its peculiar impetus or trajectory in history.the truly human is rescued and preserved precisely because the area of the "just human" is left behind over and over again . Or. but certainly there. the condition of utmost exertion is more easily to be realized than the condition of relaxation and detachment. but only insofar as something divine dwells inhim.r Leisure. unconfined humanity: a space of freedom." In leisure . (36) . certain forms of resistance have proved inadequate. into the busy world of work.

(39) . 1939 and later). Now. The question. and specific. still other attempts are underway. Josef Pieper." Excursus on "Proletariat" and "De-proletarianization" We have maintained that the expression "intellectual worker" contains an especially concise formulation of the totalitarian claims of the world of work. And in our time [i. Therefore. the question we are asking is whether an appeal to the humanum as 1 Leisure. while in France the atheistic existentialists would like to be considered humanistes and neither use is completely wrong!) In fact. 1958). then. at least the following: the overcoming of the i. ultimate credibility. or rather. but in modern times increasingly sharpened) opposition in socie7 between a student and one who works with his hands. and even Humanism in general these are some of the movements through which a threatened value is seeking to regain strength and defend its existence." cf. or do so only with reservations. which can afford to take knowledge for its own sake. LIber den Begriff der Tradition (Koln u.j I~ :~ ii . the social aspect of our problem needs to be addressed.Leisure. has now become a somewhat more justified attempt to shield the realm of art from the widespread "utilization" of the world. and the academic and philosophic character of university education (and that is a fight to keep the schola something other than an institute for career-training). historically effective relevance? (Incidentally. whether they can do so.I !' class-opposition in society is either riot possible or desirable at the level of "working. Deutsche Worterbuch [a standard German dictionary] maintains that these relatively recent terms "intellectual work" and "intellectual worker" perform a useful service because they overcome the (age-old. and the 2 On the questionable value of a generalized cultural r'Traditionalism. I. is whether positions like these will really hold out. the battle over the Cymnasium [academic high school]. the Basis of Culture such can suffice against the demands of the "total world of work. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag. Is.! II II Il! i' i. it is interesting to note that in East Germany "Humanism" has been brought into use to describe economic materialism. does that involve us in a definite viewpoint with regard to this social opposition? Our refusal to allow the concept "intellectual worker" validity certainly does imply something.calling upon the duty that comes with our ancient origins. the Basis of Culture War. we will proceed to an Excursus on "proletariat" and "de-proletarianization. of "art for art's sake" (l'art pour l'art). 118. Trubners . however." But would this not mean. that .the gap between an academic educational level.1 ~ il 11 :. if we don't accept the terms.1 1. "Humanism" an adequate concept .adequate not just in terms of its psychological appeal and attractiveness but in its ability to provide metaphysical legitimation. with an eye to a few related misunderstandings that hover around the problem.e. when the real historical battle-lines are covered over and still unclear behind all the scaffolding of restoration. the post-World War II era]. such as: reaching back to "Tradition" in general." But before we attempt to answer this question. Now. (38) Triibners Deutsches Worterbuch (Berlin.

barely enough to renew him for his daily input of labor .will not this gap necessarily get deeper as a result of our thesis. the other is the way of the one who knows how to do all these things nimbly and neatly. clearly cannot be overcome by proletarianizing everyone. again! What I mean to say. One can be poor without being proletarian: the beggar in the class-structured. to fasten up a bundle to be carried. on the other hand.. not like slaves. On the other hand. no matter what our attitude or intention? This is no small objection. we should take care not to do something wrong. or how to cook up a tasty dish . And this. but rather. what is proletariat and de-proletarianization?" Being "proletarian. without being poor: the engineer.. in contrast with the man who is "well off" and able to dispose freely of his time. that Plato means not only the uneducated. how to praise with worthy accent the true life 3 of gods and men . and much less. In clarification of this passage.. and expressly. Plato. and with regard to the ancient conception of the banausos. de-proletarianize? It would seem a good idea. certainly. a Theodoros. as is frequently said. in fact. and not in a real "de-proletarianizing" of the proletariat. the aspect we need to remove from it. one can be a proletarian.can be used to indicate the whole area of intellectual activity? No. The philosophers are those "who have been brought up. something completely nonsensical.Leisure. the man who lives by his hands. to leave off discussing the political feasibility of de-proletarization. proletarian. But what do such words really mean . and pose the theoretical question of principle: "What is it to be proletarian really. isn't such a consequence included in the denial that the word "work" . . in order to attain that goaL We would be doing just that if we were to seek social unity in the so-to-speak purely terminological "proletarianizing" of the educational level.. " This comes from the Theaetetus. philosopher and who can get avyay with appearing very simple and good for nothing. the Basis of Culture cial and educational baggage? Not in the least! But then again. {41} Plato. the "specialist" in the total-work state is. instead. in one passage opposes the type of the philosopher to the type of the banausos l= hand-worker]. one should do everything in one's' power to overcome such an opposition immediately. So then: are we suggesting that the concept of the banausic should be renewed. is a noble word . one must still state the obvious: the negative aspect of the proletariat. {40} . but in the opposite way. with all its pre-Christian so3 Leisure. is not the same as being poor. not only the amousos l= without the Muses]. Secondly. who only knows the "break" . proletarian. Theaetetus 175e-176a. but that. it can also be said. is the way of each of them: the one. who has been raised truly in freedom and leisure." then. whom you call a . at this point. medieval society was not a proletarian. the Basis of Culture proletarian. on the one hand.proletariat. so that the only way to eliminate the "negative" would be to have everyone proletarian! "Proletarianism. but does not know how to wear his cloak like a free man. does not consist in the fact that the condition is limited to a certain social class. when it comes to practical accomplishments." first of all. so that he seems not to know how to tie a knot. is that.which. and not only the man with no spiritual relationship with the world.

now are in need of thorough correction (43) . but is directed toward something socially advantageous. 1947). then." who "has nothing but his work. (42) Ibid. and moreover. work does not have its meaning in itself.: Freiburg im Breisgau. the realization . Encyclical Letter Quadragesimo anno. "working-process" does not refer in general to the entire complex of human action that never comes to a stop. the Basis of Culture goods. And shouldn't the fortification of the mind against the seductive strength of "total" education need to be sought from a deeper renewal of consciousness than could be expected from the merely political level?" 5 6 Pius XI. through which and in which the" common use" is realized (and" common use" has not the same meaning as the much more comprehensive term. is constantly on the move "because of the practical necessities of the absolutely rational production of 4 Leisure. the question is whether we are not all proletarians . the Basis of Culture Once again. no.all ripe and ready to fall into line as ready functionaries for the collective working-state. especially the two latter. task-distributing process of usefulness. a further question may be posed: whether or not proletarianism. are mutually encouraging: the total-working state needs the spiritually impoverished functionary.' But such binding to the working process can also be caused by dictate of the total-working state. a symptom that characterizes all the levels of society and is not at all limited to the social sector of the proletariat. so conceived. which means that by definition.tion in the "proletariat". and because meaningful action that is not work is no longer possible or even imaginable.. 63. My own essays. The proletarian is one who. indeed. "Work" is meant as useful activity. it is a general 'symptom that can be seen unusually clearly and in isola.Leisure.even though our political views may be expressly opposed to one another's ." And in regard to this internal binding to the work-process. for the proletarian is the "wage-earner without property. The cause may be lack of ownership. "common good"). a bonum utile. while such a person is inclined to see and embrace an ideal of a fulfilled life in the total "use" made of his "services. the binding to the working-process can have its roots in the inner poverty of the person: the proletarian is one whose life is fully satisfied by the working-process itself because this space has been shrunken from within. the whole process of usefulness. Thesen zur sozialen Politik (3rd. 119. whether or not he owns property. liS In a third way. written in 1932 and 1933. of practical values and needs. One could add that these forms of proletarianism. In this definition. is. what is it to be proletarian? If we take all the various sociological definitions and reduce them to a common denominator. ed. even though they are expressly and quite consciously limited to the political level." and thus he is constantly forced to sell his working-power. And the "working process" is the comprehensive. To be bound to the working process is to be bound to . it can be summed up something like this: being proletarian is being bound to the working-process. This "binding" can have various causes. no. proletarianness is not simply the orientation of man to activity as such. to be bound in such a way that the whole life of the working human being is consumed.

" The concept of the honorarium implies a certain lack of equivalence between achievement and reward. "De-proletarization" would consequently be the widening of one's existence beyond the realm of the "merely useful. and it is completely in keeping with their position. mean payment for work as an article or commodity: the service can be "compensated" through the wage. which should not be confused with the struggle against need . without regard for the life-support of the working person.Leisure. it is extremely risky to want to deny this character to work. (44) Leisure. nor adaptable to. that as a whole they expected entirely too much from purely political measures. in the strict sense) means the payment for the isolated accomplishment of the work. and the restriction of the area of the 'aries serviles. "useful purposes"." But the honorarium means something beyond this: it contributes to one's life-support. on the other hand. which is itself underin this respect. on the other hand (taken in their purest sense. the distinction between the "servile" and "liberal" arts is related to the distinction between an "h onoranum an d"a wage. that work does not primarily "serve" some end beyond itself. if the promoters of a "proletarianization of everyone" dislike this distinction and try to show that it is unfounded. realization of human existence. Of course. in which they differ from the honorarium). the very opposite happens from that which some0!le intends to accomplish thereby: the very opposite of a "liberation" or "rehabilitation" of the working man takes place. Authentic de-proletarianization. And in the realization of such a program. whereas a wage (again. that the service itself "really" cannot be rewarded. and free arts." "servile" work. on the other hand. which are not used for. the Basis of Culture It is in this connection that the distinction between the artes liberales and the artes serviles obtains fresh significance. or spiritual poverty. It is characteristic. three things would be necessary: building up of property from wages. now. the Basis of Culture stood and proclaimed to be the intrinsically meaningful ." 1 ored": the servile arts are "paid in wages. For through the fiction. Nevertheless. What happens is actually the effect of the inhumanity of the total world of work: the final binding of man to the process of production. "Th e l'b era 1 arts are "h on.whether this narrowness be conditioned through lack of ownership. Wages. For example.and de-proletarianization assumes that the distinction between the liberal and the servile arts is meaningful in the distinction between "useful activity" on the one hand (which do not have their meaning only ill. Proletarianism would consequently be equivalent to the narrowing of existence and activity to the realm of the artes serviles . to deny this distinction between honorarium and wage: there are only (45) .themselves). and overcoming internal poverty. It is characteristic of the "Younger Generation" between the First and Second World Wars. to benefit the arts liberales. it was the orientation toward "a utility to be reached through action" that Antiquity and the Middle Ages saw as the essential feature of the artes serviles. compulsion of the state. As Thomas put it. of the mind that has been formed by the "worker" ideal. again. the very term" servile arts" sounds horrible to our ears today. there is a certain "equivalency.and no words need be wasted on the urgency of that struggle . limiting the power of the state.

Besanc.neue Aufgaben (46) Quadragesimo anne.9 On the one hand. the latter at everyone's deproletarianization. then. the character of the honorarium. 71. P. and not according to needs. there is an attempt to narrow the space of the liberal arts. no. 1850) [German trans!' of French original. ." must learn to see himself as "a worker. By contrast. defining all non-useful activity as "undesirable" and absorbing even leisure time into its service. Die Sonntagsfeier.that should suffice for the life-support of himself and his ·1 "f amly. was not so far off the mark when he began his life-work with an essay on the celebration of Sunday. as a petit-bourgeois).7 where the "social function" of literature is proclaimed. 9 10 des wirtschaftlichenAufbaus" (June23." The former aims at everyone's proletarianization. J. something that cannot be adequately paid for with money. any incommensurability between achievement and compensation. then. publ.Leisure. who gets compensation for his efforts. der Familien-und biirgeriichen Verhiilinisee beirachiet (Kassel. of course. one of the . insofar as they are a human action. (47) . the social significance he expressed as follows: "The ser- anno. in one of his programmatic essays on the contemporary writer.Published in 8 Published ill the first volume of the journal Les temps modernes and reported also in the international review Die Umechau 1." On the other hand. material compensation. the Basis of Culture "wages. in a speech clearly designed for the current "socialist" movement: "Neue Verhaltnisse . maintains that the writer who only rarely knows how to "create a relationship between his works and their. From this perspective. as expressed in the concept of the honorarium. or the" servile arts" on certain days. there is the attempt to broaden the area of the "liberal arts" and bring them into the area of the "servile arts. So Stalin. (the aim of which was de-proletarianization). a social doctrine that thinks in terms inherited from Christian Europe. is denied. more or less. such a doctrine would also hold that there exists no compensation for any accomplishment that does not also include.on." Thus Jean-Paul Sartre. Stalin.first socialists. Even in these activities there is a certain incomparability between accomplishment and compensation. or indeed to remove them altogether: the only kind of work that makes sense is work that can be "paid. Questions about Leninism (Moscow. not only would want to preserve the distinction between wages and honorarium." Here. Proudhon (whom Marx rejected.1931). del' Moral. with the total-work state. J. the worker is entitled to a wage .. P. J. So then we arrive at the seeming paradox. no."s while in the Encyclical Letter Quadragesimo 7 Leisure. and thus prepares space for a non-proletarian existence? Conse'. which is looked upon as nothing other than intellectual labor.1947). 1.buently. aus dem Gesichtspunkt des offentlichen Gesundheitsaesens. and not only would it deny that any compensation is equivalent to any wage. that a totalitarian dictator can say that payment for labor must be measured "according to productivity. as in the "liberal" arts. even in the realm of philosophy and poetry.1839]. Proudhon. and this would be seen even in the" servile" arts. 406. the Basis of Culture we read: "In the first place. can we not see what it means for there to be an institution in the world that prohibits useful actions.p.

.in other words. the decisive thing would still be missing: it is not enough merely to create the external conditions for leisure. with what activity one's leisure is filled.. and put themselves on a level with their masters. Leisure. Although. We can now sum up what has been said in this excursus: when "being proletarian" means nothing other than being bound to the work-process. But political measures which expand life economically only are not sufficient to attain this goal.. "from the perspective of health..?" And the following sentence.3 (1337b35). (49) (48) ." And this very point will have to addressed in what follows. hits very close to the heart of the problem: "Amidst all the problems." as the Greek expression has it . VIII. something necessary would be done thereby. the real key to overcoming the condition . a true de-proletarianization . morality.. to be sure. 12 Ibid..[scholen agein].that is to say. taken from the introduction to that pamphlet. 18. it occurred to me that it would help to consider a legislative program based on the theory of rest. Politics. as it was by Proudhon. "This is the main question. p.12 Of course. family and civil relationships. "to do leisure" 11 Ibid. p. vi. about work and compensation. the Basis of Culture vants regain their human dignity for a day. so much in the forefront of current attention. the true depth of such a "theory of rest" would not come into view if it were treated exclusively.13Would anyone have guessed that such a sentence is taken from a book over two-thousand years old: the Politics of Aristotle? 13 Aristotle.would consist in making available for the working person a meaningful kind of activity that is not work . by opening up an area of true leisure. organization of industry and the nationalization of the workplace.Leisure. the Basis of Culture whereby the "not-idle" nature of the real leisure is indicated). the project would only come to fruition if it were possible for the human being as such to "be at leisure.

" {51} . scarcely nothing could be experienced more clearly than that genuine festivity is only to be seen where there is still some living relationship with religious" cult. the ascendancy of "being at leisure" [or doing leisure." whether it be mardi gras or a wedding. but its truth cannot be denied.. at the deepest. And this is worship. what religious worship provides to a festival. we may have to prepare ourselves for "thepossibility that we are only at the dawn of an age of artificial festivals. such as the "Brutus Festival" or "Labor Day." Clearer than the light of day is the difference between the living. This is not intended to be a prescription. innermost level. The statement is made with certainty: a festival that does not get its life from worship.. Were we [in Germany] prepared for the possibility 1 v But how does leisure become possible at all. is not to be found.l and there is no festival that does not get its life from such worship or does not actually derive its origin from this. and carted here and there. It could be said that the heart of leisure consists in "festival." The repetitive. or celebration. To experience and live out a harmony with the world. all three conceptual elements come together as one: the relaxation. or "cult.Leisure. we have said. agriculture) is not clearly enough indicated in the English "worship. since the French Revolution. Now. rooted trees of genuine." cut at the roots." In festival. There is no worship "without the gods." But if celebration and festival is the heart of leisure. through the forced and narrow character of their festivity. the Basis of Culture various other feelings. the effortlessness. this statement is often received with a mixture of discomfort and {50} Translator's note: The German word kult is taken from the latin colere. to be planted for some definite purpose. the origin of English "cultivation" and "culture. then leisure would derive its innermost possibility and justification from the very source whence festival and celebration derive theirs. it is necessarily so. or even against such worship. Of course. The most festive festival that can be celebrated is religious worship. persistent." but they all demonstrate. is the meaning of "festival. as I have often experienced. To be sure. and what is its ultimate justification? Let us now pose the question again: is recourse to the "human" really enough to preserve and firmly ground the reality of leisure? I intend to show that such recourse to mere Humanism is simply not enough." But no more intensive harmony with the world can be thought of than that of "Praise of God. people have tried over and over to create artificial festivals without any connection with religious worship." the worship of the Creator of this world. in a manner quite different from that of everyday life this. and loving care of the fanner (cf. scholen agein] over mere "function. rather. even though the connection in human consciousness be ever so small. cultic festival and our artificial festivals that resemble those "maypoles.

even in the midst of external poverty in material things. to keep the world of the "worker" from being a poor.. no overflow. even though filled with material goods. This is no conceptually abstract construct. nor can there be a space for worship or festival: for this is the principle of rational utility." as the old Russian saying goes. the "festival" is either "a break from work" (and thus only there for the sake of work). cf. to the working world). What is sacrifice? It is voluntary. article on Arbeitsruhe" [rest from labor]." and thus belongs. Wherever something is left over. and especially the bearers of political power. Greek temenos. "Work does not make you rich. through religious festival. It is the "festival-time" that came to be in precisely this way. col. and for the sake of religious festival. Its ultimate. innermost possibility and justification comes from its rootedness in cultic festival. a gift that is offered. would artificially create the appearance of thefestive with so huge an expense in external arrangements? And that this seductive.' Worship is to time as the temple is to space. and certainly not usefulness. 590. There will naturally be "games" -like the Roman circenses . and would likewise be kept from use.Leisure." from day to day time a definite period was separated oft and this period of time. no otherwise than the 2 Leisure. Just so. would not be used. On the other hand. to cut. Latin templum): a definite physical space has been "cutoff" by enclosure or fencing from the rest of the land. that true and ultimate harmony with the world? And that such holidays would in fact depend on the suppression of that harmony and derive their dangerous seduction from that very fact? What holds true of festival also holds true of leisure. face was divided up for farming or other uses. again. "Temple" has a certain meaning (reflected also in its etymology. the Basis of Culture that the official forces. but the very opposite of usefulness. Every seventh day was sucha time period. in virtue of which the "world of work" comes into being. Now there . This is because sacrifice is at the center of the festival. sterile world. scarcely detectable appearance of artificial "holidays" would be so totally lacking in the essential quality. or it is a more intensive celebration of the principles of work itself (as in the "Labor Days. can be no unused space in the total world of work. then. What does "rest from work" signify for the Bible or for ancient Greece and Rome? The meaning of a rest from labor is cultic: definite days and times were designated to the exclusive possession of the gods. {53} Reallexikon filr Antike und Christen tum (Leipzig. but is simply evidence from the history of religion. II {52} . 1942 and later). there can be no real wealth. it is in the nature of religious festival to make a space of abundance and wealth. These sectioned-off spaces were handed over to the possession of the gods and were not inhabited or planted but were removed from all practical use. this excess will be subjected again to the principle of rational utility. or "cult. whose sur. it only makes you bent over. neither an unused area of ground nor an unused time. on which the world of the "worker" exclusively depends. the Basis of Culture ground-surfaces of the temple and places of sacrifice. thanks to the principle of utility.but who could dignify the amusements for the masses with the name of "festival"? There is nothing. Thus ill. Within the world of total work. from iemnein.

n. and work becomes inhuman. 21. then. a space of uncountable giving. 1930). expressed in pathetic terms. A sentence from Charles Baudelaire's Intimate Journals stirs us with the cold precision of its cynicism. "Work and Do Not Despair. who in fact is the mythical paradigm of the "Worker" chained to his labor without rest. if not from inclination. 67. Mere time-killing and boredom gain grOl. the Basis of Culture of Sisyphus. where the world of work lays claim to the whole field of human existence." [supra II. divorced from the realm of worshipful celebration and its influence. and without inner satisfaction. becomes inhuman: . since. a justification of leisure may be required.md. in such times. hopeless. nevertheless belongs to a complete human existence . and only from there. untouched by the ever -turning wheel of buying and selling. Intimate Journals [trans. it may (perhaps') be sufficient to argue at a merely "humanistic" leveL But in an epoch of extreme oppositions. an alienation from worship . it is (perhaps!) not as necessary to make the rationale so explicit. 16L p. to work is less wearisome 3 . when an authentic cultic order exists in undisputed validity. which are directly related to the absence of leisure. and every religion that is not work can go and live with the Brahmins. whether endured silently or "heroically. as I have fully proved.it may. work itself." said Carlyle. . than to amuse oneself. rears its hideous head. In an acute form. and not rather the very state of mind of the total world of work.then Despair. leisure has no more meaning than festival has. comes a supply that cannot be consumed by the world of work. by Christopher Isherwood] (New York: Random House. And . without being useful.p. when deprived of its counterparts genuine festivity and true leisure. the Antinomians. an overflow released from all purpose. all genuine work is religion." On the other hand.or even an hostility to it . that work itself becomes a cult: "To work is to pray. which our world is preparing to become? The deepest root.4 Would anyone want to say that this is merely a marginal opinion from the nineteenth century. {55} .Leisure. the Basis of Culture the very midstream of worship. In those eras. effort. leisure becomes toilsome. and an authentic wealth: it is festival-time. {54} Thomas Carlyle. When separated from worship. in whose writings the following statement can be read: "Fundamentally speaking. However. the sister of Restlessness. from which leisure draws its sustenance . and insofar as. and the Whirling Dervishes. when he formulates this very connection: "One must work. for only someone who has lost the spiritual power to be at leisure can be bored." become a bare. This is the origin of secondary forms of leisure. resemble the labor 3 Leisure. And it is only within such festival-time that the reality of leisure can unfold and be fully realized.the deepest root of all this lies in worshipful celebration. which are as closely related to the absence of leisure as idleness (in the old metaphysical/theological sense of acedia).can typify the isolated working-intellect to such a degree.arid leisure implies the realm of everything that. recourse must be had to our "last savings ac4 Charles Baudelaire. at least from despair..

even if one presses all the way back to the roots of Plato (and we are not speaking of "predecessors" here. so long as this word signifies what goes beyond mere means-to-an-end considerations. was not designed for an immediately practical purpose. "in festive consort with the gods. 76 ff. in fact.Leisure. in our time it has become absurd to attempt to defend the realm of leisure on the basis of the foregoing positions. then. and the association of lithe Muses" with cultic festival are expressed in a magnificent image.. one of whose members. ineffectual." a legitimation that reaches back to the most remote source. {57} . the school of Plato. held the office of "sacrifice maker." or a "Temple of Holy Relics"? In any case. "Organisation der wissenschaftlichen Arbeit." in Vortrage und Aujsatze (Leipzig-Berlin. by way of conclusion." from which everything "academic" in the world gets its name. such as a "Temple of the Muses. we have a non-binding world of mannikins and optional illusions. for example. unreal.. what are we to do? someone may ask." for this very reason have sunk to the meaning of "sterile. And yet.1814. pp. a certain hope can be expressed. Nor can it help to trace back philosophical education to the Platonic academy. calls all the "inventa of the Ancients to be 'matters of belief' which were only fancifully imitated. is the region of culture in general. it recalls explicitly the ancient Greek mythological context. was a genuine religious organization. even though one may take seriously and affirm the religious character of this earliest "Academy. Now. against the pressing impetus. and in place of reality. when." man regains his true worth.6 5 Leisure. But now. Goethe appears to have been of such an opinion. Translator's note: The German word for "leisure" is Musse. 1914). nothing can avail." so that even the fundamental origin of schola in religious cult was forgotten.that is. This is likewise the meaning of the great Platonic text placed at the outset of this essay. Culture lives on "worship. from both within and without. for fancy's sake. The aim was to shed a little light on a matter which seems very important and very pressing. as said." And we must return to this original relationship when the question is considered as a whole. no matter what is thrown into the balance. in an astounding remark on the classicism of his day. Hermann Usener. the Basis of Culture Once again. for in this field what is decisive is not what is realized through action but what can give us some cause 6 7 Cf. but which seems to get lost behind the tasks of the day so much in the forefront of our attention. and recovers his upright posture. deservedly or no. In it the origin of leisure in worship. the intention of this essay was not to give advice or provide guidelines for action but only to encourage reflection. of the total world of work. March 26. or "the Muse" . This essay. but roots). the Basis of Culture count. whereby "the Muses" were divine patrons of the liberal arts. {56} Goethe's Letter to Reimer."s Should not then the common meaning of the expression. "purely academic. The merely academic reminiscence of antiquity becomes practically meaningless in times like these. The region of leisure. The reference to Plato is no longer enough.

It is very important that there be no doubt about this. in the world-wide European culture. it is impossible to be truly at leisure merely for the sake of health. to bring about a fundamentally correct attitude and "exercise" of leisure. 266 ff. Whoever has kept no possibility of hope in this (and such hopelessness can. this is self-evident: that.) It is the peculiarity of this phenomenon of Christian worship that it is at once sacrifice and sacrament/ Insofar as the celebration of Christian worship is sacrifice. to this: it is possible that the many signs both near and far that point to a reawakening of the sense of worship will not prove deceptive. which is the sacramental Sacrifice of the Christian Church. And this alone (i. Q.. {59} . 79. The appeal of the" already made" and" already established" can lose strength. the beginning of a new. And so our hope is directed. Such logical confusion is not only unfitting. (Incidentally. to this extent it is truly an eternally valid celebration so that even the weekday is called a feria in Latin: the liturgy only recognizes festival-days. cannot be expected from merely human foundation. it takes place as a bodily visible sign. there is only one true and finally valid form of cultic worship. The fullest harmony with the world. even for the student. Leisure cannot realized so long as one understands it to be a means. in the first place.the most noble form of harmony with the world as a whole . 1948). But this . a.' But. of the "history of religions. even as a means to the end of "rescuing the culture of Christian Europe." it is really not possible to meet with any actually established cult other than the Christian. the real difficulty of this so-often despaired-of project consists in the fact that the ultimate root of leisure lies outside the range of our responsible. And only then can the Christian cultic worship 8 9 Thomas Aquinas. in many cases become self-perpetuating) or whoever cannot see here anything worth hoping for for someone like that.is the deepest source of leisure. Worship itself is a given .or it does not exist at alL Nothing needs to be founded or arranged. Above all. taking place in the midst of creation and reaching its highest affirmation and fulfillment in this sacrifice of the God-Man. it belongs to the nature of worship. One either does not do them at all or one does them because they are meaningful in themselves. Joseph Pascher. Christian or non-Christian. to be precise. Certainly the doctors are correct in saying that lack of leisure makes one ill." The celebration of God's praises cannot be realized unless it takes place for its own sake. once again. to take its rise from divine establishment (and this aspect is also included in our quotation from Plato). the Basis of Culture but it can also regain strength. after Christ. Summa theologiae III. p. genuine cult. it simply cannot be work. But at the same time. voluntary action. For. one cannot simply "make" it happen for some ulterior purpose. 5. For Christians. Eucharisiia: Gestalt und Vollzug (Munster.e. " do something else. {58} Leisure. I could not make room for any kind of trust at all. to be sure. cannot come about on the basis of a voluntary decision.Leisure. not the re-establishment of an old cult or the inauguration of a new one) is what our hopes are aiming for.. In the effort to regain a space of true leisure. There are certain things which one cannot do "in order to .. insofar as this sacrificial ritual is also a sacrament. the Basis of Culture to hope.

10 Christmas Preface of the lvIissaleRomanum (also the Preface (60} for Corpus Christi). . but as in withdrawal from such exertion. when the sacramental sign is allowed to become fully visible." . And this is no private.. formative power. that this true meaning of sacramental visibility may be met with in the celebration of the cultic worship. to an endless day of celebration. romantic interpretation. then. For. in such a way. Now this is exactly the meaning of sacramental visibility: that the human being is "rapt" or "seized" and "removed" by it. indwelling. per hunc in invisibilium amorem rapiamur. when its sacramental character is realized without any curtailment. that it can be realized concretely for the human being "born to labor": to be taken from the toil of the work-day. as I said. For it is with like words that the Church Herself expresses the meaning of the Human Incarnation of the The Philosophical Act Logos: ui dum visibiliter Deum cognoscimus. in leisure man overcomes the working world of the work-day not through his uttermost exertion. to be rapt from the confines of the working environment into the very center of the world. that through the "visible" reality of this Sacrifice we may be "rapt" to the love of "invisible" reality. It is our hope. the Basis of Culture unfold its whole.Leisure.

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