Thursday, January 5, 2012

Top Ten Books Read in 2011, #1

Finally, what everyone has been waiting for, the number 1 book read in 2011 is ...
Leisure The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper
There are books. There are great books that you will always remember. And then, there are books that change the way you view the world. Josef Pieper's philosophic classic did that for me. You would have been a follower for this blog for over year to remember my postings on this book in late 2010 (there are too many to link). I finished the book in January of 2011, and it set the tone for my whole year.

Pieper's basic concept is that we misunderstand what leisure is. We think of leisure as vacation, time away from work, time doing things we want to do. Leisure isn't time. It isn't a suit. It's a way of living. It's a way of looking at the world. Simply put leisure is the reception of truth, good, and beauty. It is philosophic contemplation.
(Deacon Kyle your losing me)
I think I just lost myself. Sorry.
To be in leisure is not be bound by work and dominated by work, enslaved by work. Work is not what defines the human person (although his work is dignified). The human person, first and foremost, is created in the image and likeness of God. He is both body and soul. Leisure is reception of the divine in ordinary circumstances. It's celebrating at the beauty of a child running in joy at the return of her father from business trip. It's seeing and contemplating the revelation of the divine in the mundane activities of the day.

Work, if divinized, blinds one from seeing the divine in washing dishes or sitting smoking a pipe in the nice cool air on a fall day. Divinized work has one end, productivity. Productivity without the final end in mind, i.e. celebration in the full presence of the divine in heaven, destroys a proper understanding of the human person. He/she becomes a means to an end, when God says, love as I love, without condition, without the need for response, without ulterior motives, just cuz.

No matter your background. No matter your reading level. No matter how much you read. If you read any book in 2012, it should be this book. End of story. End of list. Can't wait to find out what good reads I will encounter this year.

No comments: