Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
- According to Pieper, who is the perfectly happy person?
- Why according to St. Thomas, is cognition the most perfect form of possession?
- What is the difference between loving what we possess and possessing what we love?
- Why does Pieper think that "hunger" is an appropriate image for understanding human nature?
- According to Pieper, how do we truly take possession of real wealth?
- According to Pieper, what is the kernel of "willing and loving"? What does he mean by that?
- What is the "indispensable premise of happiness"?
- Why, according to Pieper, is love not enough for happiness?
- Pieper concludes Chapter 8 with this claim: "Contemplation is a loving attainment of awareness." What does he mean by this?
- What are three essential elements in the concept of contemplation?
- What does Pieper mean by "intuition"?
- Why is intuition not "reasoning"?
- For whom is "amazement" possible?
- Why does "earthly contemplation" seem to be a "union of virtual incompatibles"?
- Why does human happiness, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, not consist in the knowledge of God?
- What kind of knowledge is the knowledge brought by faith?
- Why, according to Pieper, is contemplation able to quench our thirst more than anything else?
- What "corollaries" are inherent in the idea that our physical, historical existence is indeed capable of "earthly contemplation"?
- Why is it meaningless to distinguish between religious and nonreligious contemplation?
- What is the common element in all the special forms of contemplation?
- Must one necessarily be aware of contemplative acts to attain the significant features of them?
- What is the contemplative way of seeing the things of creation?
- According to Pieper, what is the indispensability and vital function of the arts in human life?
- How do Gerard Manley Hopkins's journal entries exemplify contemplation?
- According to Pieper, what is it about contemplation that cannot be communicated?
- What are the three separate assertions found within the Chesterton quotation?
- What are the principal objection to the conception of contemplation which Pieper considers?
- What other objections can you articulate?
- Given what Pieper has said in response to the other objections, how do you imagine that he might respond to your objection?
- Why does Pieper not contest the claim about man's active nature?
- With what five points does Pieper substantiate his claim that alleged contradiction (between an active nature and earthly contemplation) is a "delusion"?
- Why does Pieper believe that the ultimate meaning of the active life is to make possible the happiness of contemplation?
- According to St. Thomas, why is the whole of political life ordered with a view to attaining the happiness of contemplation?
- Why is the vita contemplativa (the contemplative life) unthinkable apart from the practical life?
- Why does practice become meaningless the moment it sees itself as an end in itself?
- According to the ancient thinkers, what are the characteristics of the happy person?
- Why does Pieper think that "in happiness, as in contemplation, man takes a step out of time"?
- What is Pieper talking about when he speaks of "the incessant fabrication of tawdry empty stimuli which kill the receptivity of the soul"?
- How do repose, leisure, and peace contribute to contemplation?
- What is the subject of the concluding chapter?
- Why does the "consent to the world as a whole" which is the basis for happiness and contemplation have "little to do with optimism"?
- Why is "the happiness of contemplation not a comfortable happiness"?
- Why does Pieper suggest that it is "founded upon sorrow"?
- What is the light whose "fearful brightness both blesses and dazzles"?
Happiness and Contemplation Reading Questions
Chapters 1-7 | Chapters 8-13
Resources on Josef Pieper