Classical Leisure

In: Social Issues

Submitted By Rach21
Words 543
Pages 3
Classical Leisure

Classical leisure in ancient Greece was a health and knowledge based ideal that promoted virtuous choices and conduct, and in turn led to true happiness and fulfilment. This state of being, known to many as Aristotle’s ‘classical leisure ideal’, was not restricted by work or time and had no ulterior motives. The parallels in contemporary leisure pursuits that can be seen today include studying, poetry, music, games, travel and sport; and are crucial for the preservation of arts, culture and the history of leisure in the 21st century.

The classical leisure ideal emerged in Greece in 400-500 BC, where Greek life was based on the city-state, and philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, Epicurus and especially Aristotle expressed leisure (schole) as the main goal in life (telos) (Lynch and Veal, 2006). ‘This state of being was contemplative and felicitous, with activity both giving intrinsic pleasure and being undertaken for self-development’, and was completely separate from ‘free time’ - ‘...anybody can have free time. Not everybody can have leisure’ (de Grazia, 1962 as cited in Lynch and Veal 2006 p. 8). Conditions that need to be met for classical leisure to exist include an awareness of the concept, ‘a breakdown in the universal ‘work ethic’’ and an ‘absence of the clock’ (p. 8). Consumerism and narcissism hinder these features and thus prevent some modern societies from adopting a system based on classical leisure.

The ideas of freedom and conscious personal development through leisure have endured from classical Greece into the 21st century. These ideas are reflected in practices such as meditation and monasticism on the path to enlightenment and knowledge. The ways the people of ancient Greece interpreted the counsel of their philosophers in their daily lives is also mirrored today. Classical leisure included philosophy, mathematics,…...

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