Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) Political Science


Political Science







Physical Description

1 online resource (101 leaves)


Leisure is defined as a mode of human existence in which the individual is subjectively engaged in the pursuit of an activity solely for the inherent qualities in the activity. This concept, derived from the writings of Aristotle, is in direct conflict with the popularly held assumption that leisure is parcelled out and measured in quantities of time. Leisure is dependent upon the existence in a human life of time free from work, but free time, or “leisure time,” is by no means the same as leisure. The attitudes appropriate to leisure, as described in the study are spontaneity, solitude, and renouncement of competition. Without such attitudes, man cannot be subjectively involved in the re-creation of himself, nor can he create and comprehend the magnitude of the full human life. Just as the alienated individual is not a free individual, the competitive, busy man is not a free man, for he is tied to a work-ethic which pays little respect to the subjective qualities in experience. The human condition, it is argued in the study, is one of ambiguity which requires man to define himself and decide who he wishes to be. It is only in the state of freedom that the individual can choose. Freedom, then, is dependent upon leisure in which man is open to the multiplicity of qualities in experience. The difference between leisure as time, a contradiction in terms, and time to be at leisure, is significant. Man divides his time into three categories: subsistence time in which he works at the functions required to maintain himself; existence time in which he personally cares for himself and his home; and free time in which he engages in non-work activities. In free time man is using unsold time that is not directed by an employer or customer. It is argued in this study that very little of man’s free time, in modern competitive capitalism, is free from the work-ethic. To the contrary, most free time is spent pursuing activities that resemble one’s work, particularly in that it is competitive and “useful.” With “time on one’s hands,” modern man in our culture, the alienated man, is uneasy, for he may “waste” time on activities that have no measurable gain (Contemplation cannot be measured, nor can loafing.) As Sebastian de Grazia states, “A man sitting under a tree thinking and smoking will be described as a man smoking.” Smoking is outwardly observable while thinking is inner-directed. The conclusions reached in this thesis are that a sophisticated society like the United States need not require a conservative ideology suitable to a “leisure class” to provide a justification for leisure. Technology, freed from the work-ethic, can make the opportunity for leisure available to all humans in a society based on equality. The individual’s position in the production-consumption cycle is no longer a valid measure of the quality of a human life, for the development of uniqueness in each individual is a value in itself. Should leisure become the social ideal, work will take its proper place in the full human life and not constitute the dominant factor. The free man in a free society requires leisure as the central goal.


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Portland State College. Dept. of Political Science

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