quite "at play" that is a sort of golden horizon of inspiration. We come up with our great ideas, make connections between disparate parts of our psyche, and massage out all sorts of kinks when we are in this semi-relaxed state. The dialed down intensity of our "working" function allows our creative sense to awaken and to ripple across parts of our intellect with a kind of phosphorescence. One-way, well trodden thought paths are suddenly less rigid. Weightlessness sets in; there is a sense of possibility without any attendant panic or urgency. In sleep this might be the function of our REM stage, but this is a waking state.

There is little to discuss in terms of "practicing" this state of being, in the sense that we cannot actively do much to get better at it, else our working function takes over and we find we have exited the state and lost its benefit. We can practice awareness, as they say. We can also practice an understanding that the quality of our working has a direct relationship to the amount of time we spend not working — and how we spend it.

Josef Pieper's treatise redefines leisure and reasserts its importance as a sort of nursery for creativity. "Our knowledge," he claims, "in fact includes an element of non-activity, of purely receptive vision" (27). It is perhaps easier to understand his definition of leisure if we look at a scenario that excludes it completely; we can take the example of a contemporary class of worker who clocks 14-hour days and takes the company town car home in the evening. There is a misplaced sense of honor in this kind of lifestyle; the overtime and ersatz dedication above and beyond nets society little and rather in most cases has a negative, parasitic effect, as these kinds of workers bleed out the quality of their own lives only in order to bleed out the quality of their society, in a kind of lose-lose situation. These types of workers are slaves to their function at least as much as the so-called working class, and though their numbers be far smaller yet their means far greater, they pollute more and contribute less, amassing money but foregoing wealth. This demeans what it means to work, and at great cost — the cost of a life worth living. Pieper rightly notes that this sort of imbalance makes work itself an idle enterprise, and what time is left over cannot be dedicated to real leisure; one becomes both idle at work and idle at rest: a zombie class.

The point and justification of leisure are not that the functionary should function faultlessly and without a breakdown, but that the functionary should continue to be a man - and that means that he should not be wholly absorbed in the clear-cut milieu of his strictly limited function; the point is also that he should retain the faculty of grasping the world as a whole... (Leisure: The Basis of Culture, 44)

But the problem of how we must relate to work exists at all strata, and in all types of economies. Albert O. Hirschman, the recently deceased economist and author