Leisure in Modern Existence

1584 Words6 Pages
"Leisure gives us the freedom to be human"

Workers today have less leisure time than ever before. The pressures of a recessionary economy and a high unemployment rate have conspired to give citizens in what is often heralded as the most democratic nation in the world very little time to regulate their own activities. "Americans work longer hours, take fewer vacation days, and retire later than workers in the rest of the developed world, including Japan, according to ABC News. Americans work nearly 10 weeks per year more than Germans, according to OECD data cited by Mother Jones" (Kavoussi 2012). The ancient philosophers Epicurus and Aristotle believed that such a state of affairs is not merely damaging to human health and sanity: it also makes feel us less fully human. Only in leisurely, unstructured activity which is not purpose-driven, Epicureans would say, can we engage in a moderate lifestyle that honors our bodily needs. Only in leisure, Aristotle would say, can we contemplate higher philosophy. This paper will suggest that given the nature of modern industrial employment, only vacationing at the seaside or living in nature provides some respite from the lack of leisure in modern existence. Today, the philosophy of Epicurus is perhaps the least-understood of all of the ancient Greek philosophers. Epicurus based his belief system on the notion that moderate enjoyment of life, as if the here and now was all that existed, was the best way to live. He did not
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