chapter  3
22 Pages

Laissez-Faire leisure

The work of Weber and Freud pulsates with pessimism regarding the possibility of effective social intervention into collective life. Weber argued that bureaucratic organization and the develop­ ment of rational knowledge compels individuals to surrender all utopian enthusiasms for the future of work and leisure. Freud was equally severe. T he intention that man should be "happy" ', he declares (1979: 13), 'is not included in the plan of "Creation".' All that each writer hoped for was that individuals could be persuaded that real freedom lay in the recognition of invulner­ able limits to social action. This highly reduced view of freedom and happiness was the most that intelligent people could expect from life. In each case this sombre conclusion is based on a densely argued analysis of modern social conditions. Let us try to unravel the main strands of each argument, and assess their bearing on leisure theory.