Jesuits - Leisure - Josef Pieper

Odd as it may seem (given that we are not Catholic), three Jesuit/Catholic philosophers are essential to the theoretical core for LeisureArts - Michel de Certeau, Ivan Illich, and Josef Pieper.

I mentioned Illich in a previous post, and de Certeau is fairly widely known, but Pieper is a bit more obscure. Josef Pieper wrote Leisure: The Basis of Culture (1948!). Two prominent items of interest for LeisureArts are:

1. Pieper's definition of leisure, which he distinguishes from idleness: "Idleness and lack of leisure belong with each other; leisure is opposed to both." He is careful to divorce leisure from an inherent relationship to the world of labor: "Leisure is not the cessation of work, but work of another kind, work restored to its human meaning, as celebration and ritual."

2. His critique of "intellectual labor," "intellectual worker," and the integration of education into the "total world of work." Pieper, in 1948 mind you, laments the collapse of education into training. He offers that the value of the liberal arts is that "...they do not need to be legitimated by a social function, by being work." He argues that the intellectual worker "...is a functionary in the total world of work...[and] nobody - whether he be 'intellectual' or 'hand' worker - nobody is granted a 'free zone' of intellectual activity, 'free' meaning not being subordinated to a duty to fulfill some function." This is essentially a broader argument against the proletarianization of culture, pointing to the trap of labor as a foundation for culture.

There is much more, of course, to be said about the book, but these threads should suffice to show their relevance to re-thinking art practice in terms of leisure rather than work.