Seeking Leisure & Scholé

I am currently in the midst of the summer teacher class “Bringing Scholé to the Home & Homeschool,” taught by Dr. Christopher Perrin. He’s been assigning chapters from The Liberal Arts Tradition and Leisure, the Basis of Culture, and though I’ve read both books before, it’s been excellent to revisit Leisure (it’s been years since I last read it) with the opportunity to discuss it with others and to see how The Liberal Arts Tradition is putting legs on the philosophy of Leisure.

So I wanted to share some thoughts I’ve had while reading so I can clarify them in my own head and also have the opportunity to chat with you about them in the comments.

Leisure (which is scholé) is receiving knowledge with an open heart.

Pieper uses the word leisure, but from the outset he clarifies that leisure and scholé are the same thing, they are synonymns – the same concept coming from different roots. So any of the quotes below could be read with the word scholé instead of leisure and the meaning would be the same.

Leisure is the condition of considering things in a celebratory spirit.

Scholé is more than a practice, it is also a mindset, an orientation toward the world that is looking at its nature in itself rather than looking at it for its utility or possibility.

The leisure of man includes within itself a celebratory, approving, lingering gaze of the inner eye on the reality of creation.

Thought: Must modern man refuse leisure because he has refused the entire concept of creation. Nothing is created, all is chance, therefore, why dwell on it approvingly?

Leisure is not the attitude of one who intervenes but of one who opens himself; not of one who seizes but who lets go, who lets himself go.

Letting ourselves go here does not mean losing self-control, as we often use the phrase, but rather it is self-forgetfulness. It is not imposing ourself on the world or on the book, but rather immersing ourselves in the world or the book to the degree that we forget time and our own concerns.

And then this dovetails with this quote from The Liberal Arts Tradition about the direction and emphasis of our schools & homeschools:

Classical education seeks rather to build a robust poetic and moral education before it moves to analysis or critique.

If we want a truly grounded, traditionally classical education, we begin with wonder and awe, with copious time out of doors and music and dancing and innumerable stories – not with chants full of random facts or cotton balls glued on construction paper. And even as our children grow and “age out” of the free play stage, still they need space and time and movement and fresh air to allow the connections to form in their minds.

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2 Responses

  1. Carol
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    ‘…they need space and time and movement and fresh air to allow the connections to form in their minds.’ So true. I feel I’m always pushing against the current with this because the prevailing spirit is busyness = good & necessary and our children are missing out if their lives are not full of it. We recently said ‘no’ to something that was good & I had to really fight against the guilt I felt after the decision was made even though I knew it was right.

  2. Ashley Woleben
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    It’s great to be in the class with you after reading your blog for so long! Great thoughts!