– leisure emerged as a response to people’s understanding of when “service was required of them and other times when they were free to do more of what they wished” • In many ways leisure is still defined this way.
Plato and Aristotle • Leisure became understood as “the freedom to move up” – to achieve your fullest potential and authenticity • Plato – Greek Philosopher - founded the first institution of higher learning to teach people “the right use of leisure’s freedom” • Contrasting leisure/work – Plato taught that too much work was unwise – why? And that idleness was equally unwise – why? • The sign of an educated person was “active leisure” – playing sports, music, engaging in debate, doing philosophy – being concerned about betterment of self • Goal of academic work was freedom (Liberal Arts included rhetoric, sciences, music, sports and gymnastics)
The Rise and Fall of Leisure • Leisure in the Middle Ages • Continued understanding of work and leisure as means to an end • However, within Feudalism and the Catholic Church began to change leisure’s role • There was to be balance between Vita Activa & Vita Contemplativa (activities directed towards human needs such as acts of charity, public duties and necessary work and; activities of the mind and spirit directed toward God) • Consequence was a new spiritual emphasis on work which lead to the Protestant Work Ethic
The Rise of Work and Fall of Leisure • Max Weber - The Protestant Work Ethic & The Spirit of Capitalism • The coming of capitalism and the changing nature of work and leisure • “One does not work to live; one lives to work” • Middle Ages – the start of valuing work over leisure • Benedictine Orders emphasis on manual work • Vita Activa – activities that advanced spiritual discipline • John Calvin, Puritanism and Leisure as the Devil’s workshop • Lived under the notion that God decided who would be saved • Placed importance on ”work as a spiritual end in itself” • If people were willing to work hard then they might have a chance to be saved
The Protestant Work Ethic as the The Spirit of Capitalism • Puritans laid the basis for modern understanding of leisure • that time off work is important as preparation for more work • that time off work was time for rest and recuperation for more work (RECREATION) • that time off work was for praying and raising the next generation of workers • Other uses of leisure were trivial at best and very likely disreputable • Capitalism • “Capitalism’s everlasting economic activity and endorsement of unlimited acquisition depended upon the more fundamental valuing of work as an end in itself” (p.69) • “ True believers” of capitalism – middle class and devotion to constant work • Envisioned work for all without end.
• How is the Protestant work ethic still entrenched in how we view the purpose of work and leisure today?
- Spring '18
- Test, Leisure – Leisure