Sunday, July 11, 2010

Simone Weil (1909-1943)


- Thought is inextricably linked to action.

- The person is a creation of natural and social forces and can ve 'decreated' by them.

- Pure goodness for which the human aspires is found by God's direct descent and through the mediation of natural and social structures.

- The suffering of Christ is the paradigm action for goodness.


Simone Weil was a moral and political philosopher, teacher, activist, and mystic that searched for truth and ways to overcome the injustices of the world. Her philosophical pursuits began in her youth as she studied at the best schools in Paris and continued until her untimely death. Weil focused her philosophical inquires on social and political injustices and religious inquiry. She wrote mainly in essays and her thought can be characterized as a combination of Marx and Plato that centered on the goal of alleviating oppression and suffering

After her experience at war, Weil began to focus her attention on religion. She developed an obsession with discovering more about God and his will for her life. She had her first mystical experience at the Solesmes Monastery as she listened to the monks chant. She later had another mystical experience.  After these religious experiences Weil spent the rest of her life trying to discover God’s will for her life and articulate the intellectual consequences of her experiences.

Weil’s thoughts on religion are found in her essays, journal entries, and letters that were later combined in the book Waiting on God. In her writing, Weil relates her beliefs in Christianity to her beloved Greek Philosophy, especially that of Plato. Her religious writing are also filled with her need for sacrifice and martyrdom through an ascetic lifestyle that subsequently led to her untimely death. Although her religious beliefs are scattered throughout her writings, her thoughts on religion form a mystical interpretation of Christianity, which has in recent years received recognition and respect.

Quotes from Simone Weil

- "Humility is the root of love.
Humility exerts an irresistible power upon God." (from "The Simone Weil Reader")

- "Power ... is a means at its purest. For that very reason it is the supreme end for all those who have not understood." (from "The Simone Weil Reader")

- "The very idea of redemption implies a spiritual necessity." (from "The Simone Weil Reader")

- "What is called national prestige consists in behaving always in such a way as to demoralize other nations by giving them the impression that, if it comes to war, one would certainly defeat them." (from "The Simone Weil Reader")

- "Official history is a matter of believing murderers on their own word." (from "Faith and Violence" by Thomas Merton)

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