without presuming to tell them how to use it

Aristotle’s education assumed his students’ future leisure and taught them how to use it, the modern educator—assuming the psychological enslavement of the proletariat—would teach his students how to acquire more leisure without presuming to tell them how to use it. From Norms and Nobility by David Hicks, pages 76.

appointed to prepare the sacrifice

Plato’s Academy was a genuine religious association in which, for example, one of the members was explicitly appointed to prepare the sacrifice. Perhaps the reason why “purely academic” has sunk to mean something sterile, pointless and unreal is because the schola has lost its roots in religion and in divine worship. (61) From Leisure: the […]

a store of real wealth which cannot be consumed

The soul of leisure, it can be said, lies in “celebration.” Celebration is the point at which the three elements of leisure come to a focus: relaxation, effortlessness, and superiority of “active leisure” to all functions. But if celebration is the core of leisure, then leisure can only be made possible and justifiable on the […]

feast is the origin of leisure

Now the highest form of affirmation is the festival; among all its characteristics, Karl Kerenyi tells us, is “the union of tranquility, contemplation, and intensity of life.” …The feast is the origin of leisure, and the inward and ever-present meaning of leisure. And because leisure is thus by its nature a celebration, it is more […]

God sends good gifts and blessings in sleep

Sleeplessness and the incapacity for leisure are really related to one another in a special sense, and a man at leisure is not unlike a man asleep. …Or as the Book of Job says, “God giveth songs in the night” (Job xxxv, 10). Moreover, it has always been a pious belief that God sends good […]

in the beginning there is always a gift

The tendency to overvalue hard work and the effort of doing something difficult is so deep-rooted that it even infects our notion of love. Why should it be that the average Christian regards loving one’s enemy as the most exalted form of love? Principally because it offers an example of a natural bent heroically curbed; […]

nourishing themselves in festive companionship with the Gods

German Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper opens his essay “Leisure: The Basis of Culture” with these two quotations: But the Gods, taking pity on mankind, born to work, laid down the succession of recurring Feasts to restore them from their fatigue, and gave them the Muses, and Apollo their leader, and Dionysus, as companions in their […]

idleness implies a catholic appetite

Extreme busyness, whether at school or college, kirk or market, is a symptom of deficient vitality; and a faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity. There is a sort of dead-alive, hackneyed people about, who are scarcely conscious of living except in the exercise of some conventional occupation. […]

our world would be more silent if it were more strenuous

It is customary to complain of the bustle and strenuousness of our epoch. But in truth the chief mark of our epoch is a profound laziness and fatigue; and the fact is that the real laziness is the cause of the apparent bustle. Take one quite external case; the streets are noisy with taxicabs and […]