Transformation of values. Leasure and work


By change, Pieper means that man has excelled in servile arts which is good because it has helped the society develop technologically. However, this advancement in servile arts has occurred on the compromise of sustenance or advancement of the liberal arts, which is the reason why man today has forgotten the real meaning of leisure and lacks spirituality. According to the new scale of values, to have leisure means to have break from work or to go in a state of idleness. Although breaking from work is considered as leisure in the modern world, yet it actually is not. Values of the modern age compel people to live for working. Materialism and consumption are two of the main values of the modern society unlike the past, when spirituality was the main value. In the new scale of human values, a person is considered good, better, or best depending upon the extent to which he/she has contributed to the society. This can even mean consumption because the more an individual consumes, the more businesses flourish and the more the society benefits from consumption.

For the modern mind, work means to be able to serve the society as a whole. This conception of work tends to deny the consideration of any such activities as work that do not benefit the whole society. For the modern mind, work is not necessarily that which requires physical input or labor. Mental exertion and use of intelligence is also considered work because mind is used to make plans that benefit the whole society. The modern mind has lost the fundamentals of the notion of leisure. The worker who thinks that the only way to serve the society is doing work tends to think of leisure as inactivity and idleness. The concept of obtaining something in a passive receptivity is in contrast with the concept of good that is imposed upon man by the modern mind. According to the modern mind, nothing good can be achieved unless some effort has been made for it. Work for the modern mind means a way to get compensated so that the money earned can be spent that is what modern mind thinks of as leisure.

Leisure for the classical mind is engaging in activities that cause spiritual rejuvenation. These activities include pondering over the reason of fundamental existence of man on Earth, the purpose of life, and thinking about where man came from and where he has to go after death. Leisure for the classical mind means engaging in festivals to praise the Creator. This means using mind to develop one’s connection with God. This might even take physical labor, but the spiritual rejuvenation does help man better prepare even for such worldly activities as doing work. According to the classical mind, the heart of leisure exists in the world’s affirmation. This affirmation exists in festival and is essentially the praise of God because the entire meaning of the festival exists in the aspect of worship that it encapsulates. In the classical perspective, leisure means worship. When the definition of leisure of the classical mind is interpreted in light of the modern conception of work, leisure then also work because to find out the answers of these questions of spirituality, one needs to think and use the brain. This is the fundamental reason why thinking has become passive in the modern world because leisure in the modern world is translated is pure idleness and break from work, meaning no thinking is involved in the modern interpretation of the term “leisure”. The emphasis placed by the classical mind on the practice of religion and developing a strong connection with God is one of the main reasons why practicing religion and opposing such notions that are condemned by religion as homosexuality are considered as passive and regressive in the modern age.

The major issue in the transformation of values from the classical mind to the modern mind is that man has become increasingly materialistic, and has become so involved in the worldly activities that his relationship and connection with nature in general and God in particular is distorted. This is one reason why people in the modern age find little, if any, time for religious activities and festivals. They only have time either for working to contribute to the society or for making money out of work or both; or getting idle. The effects of such an engagement of man in the world can be observed in terms of rapid advancement of science and technology over the past few centuries accompanied with a moral recession that has resulted in increase in violence and crime in the world. Today, the systems are more advanced and developed than they have ever been in the past but man has retrograded morally. The true solution to the problems of the modern society lies in moral rejuvenation and advancement of the liberal arts. Other issues that have surfaced as a result of the transformation of values from the classical mind to the modern mind include but are not limited to weakening of the family system, increased number of divorces as the partners pay more attention toward work than building and maintaining a healthy family, child abuse, racism, violence, oppression, and increased rate of crime. The institution of marriage has been replaced by such practices as cohabitation and sexual relationships without and outside marriage. Although liberal arts seemingly do not contribute to the development of the society as a whole, yet they restore humanity in every individual. This strengthening of the connection with God is very important for man so that he/she is better able to serve the society scientifically, morally as well as ethically. Any efforts made to advance the liberal arts would help solve the issues of the modern society. In order to restore the true meaning of leisure and derive all the benefits from it, it is imperative that efforts to reestablish leisure are made solely for its own sake rather than for restoring the lost culture.

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