Simone Weil (1909-1943) was a defining figure of the twentieth century; a philosopher, Christian, resistance fighter, anarchist, feminist, labor activist and teacher. She was described by T. S. Eliot as "a woman of genius, of a kind of genius akin to that of the saints," and by Albert Camus as "the only great spirit of our time." Originally published posthumously in two volumes, these newly reissued notebooks, are among the very few unedited personal writings of Weil's that still (...) survive today. Containing her thoughts on art, love, science, God and the meaning of life, they give context and meaning to Weil's famous works, revealing a unique philosophy in development and offering a rare private glimpse of her singular personality. (shrink)
Porté aux nues par les écrivains du XIXè siècle qui voyaient en lui le type même du poète maudit, Byron (1788-1824) a subi au XXè siècle un long purgatoire avant d'être enfin reconnu comme une personnalité littéraire de premier plan. Après les traductions en prose du siècle dernier qui, malgré leur mérite, n'offraient qu'un pâle reflet, on redécouvre aujourd'hui toute la virtuosité d'un poète qui jongle avec les rimes et les rythmes et qui demandait donc à être traduit en vers. (...) Ce choix de poèmes n'a d'autre ambition que de donner une meilleure idée de ses œuvres les plus célèbres. On y retrouva des poèmes de circonstances qui transcendent l'anecdote autobiographique, des morceaux de bravoure qui ont fait la réputation de Childe Harold et de Don Juan, sans oublier cet hymne vibrant à la liberté qu'est le Prisonnier de Chillon et, pour finir, la dernière tirade de Marino Faliero, drame peu connu en France et suprême hommage du poète anglais à la Venise de son imagination. (shrink)
Ce premier numéro des Cahiers Eric Weil contient deux textes d'Eric Weil: une réédition de "Violence et langage" de 1967 et un inédit de 1974: "L'avenir de la philosophie". Il contient également des études sur la philosophie de Weil.Ont...
Gravity and Grace was the first ever publication by the remarkable thinker and activist, Simone Weil. In it Gustave Thibon, the priest to whom she had entrusted her notebooks before her untimely death, compiled in one remarkable volume a compendium of her writings that have become a source of spiritual guidance and wisdom for countless individuals.
Dans les années 1930, une philosophe prolonge les analyses de " l'école française de la perception " (Lagneau, Alain) en élaborant la plus rigoureuse des philosophies du travail. Cette perspective philosophique nourrit déjà les écrits de la très jeune Simone Weil - écrits peu étudiés jusqu'à présent - et fournit un fil conducteur pour la lecture des textes militants, de la correspondance et du Journal d'usine. Le dévoilement de la signification philosophique de ces textes fait apparaître à la fois (...) le sens de l'expérience ouvrière vécue par Simone Weil et les sources de sa remarquable intelligence critique de l'œuvre de Marx. Il est alors possible de porter un regard neuf sur les écrits de la dernière période, au cours de laquelle la considération de la spiritualité devient prépondérante. La tâche réservée à notre époque, selon L'Enracinement, est de bâtir " une civilisation fondée sur une spiritualité du travail ". Le franchissement d'un seuil spirituel n'introduit ni rupture ni reniement dans sa pensée, mais révèle la singulière vocation philosophique de Simone Weil : l'articulation d'un platonisme achevé, qui élaborerait une philosophie du travail, et d'un matérialisme cohérent, qui étendrait la légitimité de cette méthode au-delà de ce que Marx avait entrevu, tout en reconnaissant la réalité du surnaturel. La lecture proposée vérifie la justesse d'une confidence faite par la philosophe, qui livrait la clef de son œuvre : " Quoiqu'il me soit plusieurs fois arrivé de franchir un seuil, je ne me rappelle pas un moment où j'aie changé de direction ". (shrink)
Simone Weil is widely recognized today as one of the profound religious thinkers of the twentieth century. Yet while her interpretation of natural science is critical to Weil's overall understanding of religious faith, her writings on science have received little attention compared with her more overtly theological writings. The present essay, which builds on Vance Morgan's Weaving the World: Simone Weil on Science, Necessity, and Love (2005), critically examines Weil's interpretation of the history of science. (...) class='Hi'>Weil believed that mathematical science, for the ancient Pythagoreans a mystical expression of the love of God, had in the modern period degenerated into a kind of reification of method that confuses the means of representing nature with nature itself. Beginning with classical (Newtonian) science's representation of nature as a machine, and even more so with the subsequent assimilation of symbolic algebra as the principal language of mathematical physics, modern science according to Weil trades genuine insight into the order of the world for symbolic manipulation yielding mere predictive success and technological domination of nature. I show that Weil's expressed desire to revive a Pythagorean scientific approach, inspired by the "mysterious complicity" in nature between brute necessity and love, must be recast in view of the intrinsically symbolic character of modern mathematical science. I argue further that a genuinely mystical attitude toward nature is nascent within symbolic mathematical science itself. (shrink)
This book examines the religious, social, and political thought of Simone Weil in the context of the rigorous philosophical thinking out of which it grew. It also explores illuminating parallels between these ideas and ideas that were simultaneously being developed by Ludwig Wittgenstein. Simone Weil developed a conception of the relation between human beings and nature which made it difficult for her to explain mutual understanding and justice. Her wrestling with this difficulty coincided with a considerable sharpening of (...) her religious sensibility, and led to a new concept of the natural and social orders involving a supernatural dimension, within which the concepts of beauty and justice are paramount. Professor Winch provides a fresh perspective on the complete span of Simone Weil's work, and discusses the fundamental difficulties of tracing the dividing line between philosophy and religion. (shrink)
In this article I aim to clarify the role of science and technology in Weil's account of the formation and maintenance of the bureaucratic state as a totalitarian form of State, which allows to identify the similarities between capitalist, fascist and communist regimes. In the first section I characterize Weil's conception of modernity. Having The Need for Roots as my main reference, first, I reconstruct Weil's conceptualization of human nature, after I explore the meanings and signs of (...) uprootedness and Weil's critique of Marxism. In the second section, I analyze the relationship between Revolution, Totalitarianism and the invention of the bureaucratic State. I retake Weil's critique of Marx and the Marxists arguing that science and technology must be subjected to a new criticism today, for they have been reduced to mere means of a totalitarian logic, which ultimately reinforces social oppression. I conclude by rescuing Weil's defense of the fundamental value of individual freedom and of thought, for our humanity lies in it. (shrink)
The French writer, philosopher, and mystic Simone Weil (1909-1943) was one of the most original spiritual personalities of the 20th century. Now Coles presents a brilliant portrait of the beloved and controversial figure who was a spiritual influence on T.S. Eliot, Flannery O'Connor, Adrienne Rich, and Albert Camus.
Simone Weil was a remarkable woman: a teacher, a factory worker, a field hand, a traveler, and a frontline volunteer in the Spanish Civil War; yet she found time to write and to philosophize about life and religion. Her short life (1909–43) spanned two world wars, although she did not live to see the end of the second one. The reactions of this French Jewish woman to some of the facets of these conflicts may seem surprising; her sympathies and (...) affirmations were perhaps too extreme, but she did think for herself in an unorthodox and challenging way and had a passionate sense of justice. Mr. Rees believes that this book may contain more illumination for the present world’s spiritual needs than any other twentieth-century commentary. Some of Simone Weil’s proposals concerning patriotism, obligations, freedom of expression, and the needs of the soul may seem Utopian, but they would not be unreasonable in a society adopting her moral code. Simone Weil was an intellectual with an essentially tragic view of life, but she was not removed from the everyday life. Her thought was unique and cannot be classified. She was neither a reactionary nor a progressive but a great soul and a brilliant mind, as T. S. Eliot expressed it, “with a kind of genius akin to that of the saints.” Since she explored problems which confront modern man, the reader will find thoughtful stimulation in her work. In a previous book, Brave Men, the author likened her to D. H. Lawrence—both lonely visionaries suffering from a devouring spiritual hunger. This book gives a condensed but penetrating account of Miss Weil’s interests. Since her writings cover more than philosophy and religion, the reader will feel compelled to become more familiar with her work. (shrink)
The philosophical and religious ideas of Simone Weil bear on theory of history and historiography in ways not previously explored. They amount to a view of history as a consequence of the original creation, but they also exclude theodicy. By examining these ideas we see some of the ways in which to develop a theory history centered on a conception of moral understanding that is impartialist and universal. For Weil such understanding is both inside of and outside of (...) history. This leads to an approach to human history that centers on the moral dilemmas and choices of historical actors and that matches the force of compassion with that of power. Under an approach inspired by Weil’s ideas, the historian’s work of understanding can be an experience of moral growth. (shrink)
The present book reflects on the life, work, and legacy of an exceptional and enigmatic woman: the philosopher and French Jewish mystic Simone Weil. It constitutes a testimony so unique that it is impossible to ignore. In a Europe where authoritarian regimes were dominant and heading, in a sinister manner, toward World War II, this woman of fragile health but indomitable spirit denounced the contradictions of the capitalist system, the brutality of Nazism, and the paradox of bourgeois thought. At (...) the same time, her spiritual journey was one of zeal and sorrow--that of a true mystic--but her radical intransigence and passion for freedom kept her from actually approaching the institutional church. Curious and insatiable, she wanted to experience, in the flesh, the suffering of society's least fortunate and the truths of other religions. The reader will need to develop a discerning empathy for Simone Weil's sensibility, beyond her particular passion and zeal, in order to appreciate her in depth. But undeniable are this truly singular woman's authenticity, her capacity to suffer, her identification with the other, her inner passion, her almost magical perception of the depths of the human spirit. And that is why her story merits being told as one of the great witnesses of our age. (shrink)
El presente artículo indaga en elementos centrales presentes en las exploraciones filosóficas realizadas por Simone Weil, entendidas estas en cuanto herramientas para conseguir una mayor comprensión de la experiencia humana. Muestra operaciones conceptuales que evidencian cómo su vida y escritura desenraizan el pensamiento de las ideas convencionales, buscando transformar nociones instaladas en la vida de las sociedades que, bajo el signo de la fuerza, propician el desmedro existencial y climático que caracteriza el presente. Para este fin se analiza el (...) alcance político del lenguaje y de los cuerpos como fuente de significados en la conversación interseccional de las instituciones y en el interior de los colectivos cuyos dispositivos vuelven más reales las significaciones fijadas a los nombres que las cosas mismas a las que aluden, entendiendo que esta modalidad de fuerza impide el acceso a la verdad impersonal. (shrink)
The French philosopher Simone Weil worked on (but did not finish) Venice Saved, a tragedy about the conspiracy to overthrow the Republic of Venice in 1618. It has been largely ignored and has never been published in an English translation. Interest in Weil’s work has increased massively since her death and continues to grow, so that publishing this play in English will enable readers to expand their view of a writer whose work is in fragments. We have also (...) translated the notes that Weil wrote about Venice Saved and her sketches for the unwritten scenes, and have written four introductory chapters on: Weil’s life and significance; how the play came to be written and what it has to say; Weil’s view of tragedy; the issues raised by writing an English version of this play. There are endnotes, suggestions for further reading, and a bibliography of all works used in writing the introductory material. (shrink)
Coming from anarchist circles and revolutionary-syndicalist trade unions, Simone Weil initially saw herself as a Marxist and an anarchist, before increasingly becoming their early and extremely pointed critic. From 1933 on, she distanced herself more and more from the syndicalist movement in terms of content, and at the same time she was increasingly skeptical of its politics. She saw in the syndicalists, socialists, and communists no more accurate knowledge of society than in the conservatives or fascists. Moreover, she came (...) to realize that they did not have the necessary means of action to carry out a revolution. In the assertion of the "historical mission of the working class," she saw a phrase that served the functionaries but only further humiliated and betrayed the working class. In this respect, even Marxism was for Weil still the intellectual expression of the bourgeoisie, because even a change in property relations would not have eliminated the oppression of the working class. Until the end of her life, she held that instead a radical change in labor relations was necessary to end the oppression of the working class and its social misery. The article attempts to situate Simone Weil's early disillusionment with syndicalism, socialism, Marxism and Stalinism, as well as her recognition of what was widely labelled totalitarianism in Western societies at the latest after the Second World War, in her writings. (shrink)
Simone Weil's writings suggest that human compassion is divinely revelatory to the extent that interpersonal union and estrangement intensify identically and simultaneously. The relational space of compassionate communion is aporetic; the more attuned one becomes to an afflicted other, the more unreachable this other is seen to be. In her uniquely poetic style of writing, Weil locates perhaps the most intense experience of God directly in the center of this aporia. Compassion between two people—a sufferer and an empathizer—becomes (...) a locus of divine manifestation as it instantiates the possible distance and oneness of Creation, Incarnation, and Cross. (shrink)
Simone Weil (1909-1943) sort aujourd'hui du cercle des philosophes et des intellectuels pour toucher de nombreux lecteurs de différents milieux. Même, des artistes et des personnalités du monde politique avouent avoir été influencés par ses écrits. De santé fragile, elle s'adapte d'abord difficilement à la vie scolaire mais montre dès ses premières années une maturité intellectuelle surprenante, des idées très affirmées et une volonté indomptable. Inséparable de son frère qu'elle admire d'autant plus qu'elle se croit très inférieure à lui (...) ; il sera mathématicien, titulaire de la médaille Field (l'équivalent du Prix Nobel), estimé à l'égal d'Albert Einstein, elle se montre déterminée à rechercher la pureté et la vérité. Elle est animée très tôt par une curiosité insatiable et par un désir d'aller vers les personnes les plus vulnérables et les plus maltraitées par la vie. Sa rencontre avec le philosophe Alain est déterminante pour son avenir. Après le baccalauréat à 16 ans et des études à l'Ecole Normale Supérieure, elle enseigne quelque temps la philosophie. Comme Antigone et Jeanne d'Arc, ses modèles, obéissant aux lois non-écrites, elle a toujours mis sa vie en totale conformité avec ses paroles ou ses écrits. (shrink)
This article explores Simone Weil’s account of the relationship between human suffering and intellectual life, with reference to the issues raised by the allegation that as an enterprise theodicy evinces a failure to ‘take suffering seriously’. The article shows how Weil’s understanding of the relationship between suffering and attention gives a clear and powerful account of the way that compassion—which involves an uncompromising acceptance of suffering—can be discerned in patterns of thought. Nevertheless, it is less clear in her (...) work how these convictions might serve as a guide for theological statements. Weil’s understanding of the Christian conception of life is centred on the experience of finding God present in and through suffering, and this leaves her with the problem of how to reconcile her commitment not to ‘sweeten what is bitter’ with consolations or compensations with her intuition that the truth of creaturely existence is made available through suffering. Through an analysis of the inner contours of this conflict, it is argued that Weil’s central problem is of how to articulate spiritual reality in such a way as to encourage undivided attention, which is the only ground for the hope that truthful, compassionate thought about suffering might be possible. (shrink)
Simone Weil believed that Greece’s vocation was to build bridges between God and man. This paper argues that, in light of Weil’s “tradition of mystical thought,” the Christian vocation is an extension of the Greek. The search for the perfect bridge in Homer, Sophocles and Plato comes to fruition in the Passion of Christ. The Greek thinkers, especially Plato with his Perfectly Just Man, already had implicit knowledge of the Passion’s truth.
"Simone Weil's bibliography": p. -194. Includes index. Introduction / George Abbott White -- The jagged edge / Michele Murray -- Simone Weil's mind / Robert Coles -- The life and death of Simone Weil / J.M. Cameron -- Simone Weil, last things / Michele Murray -- Simone Weil's Iliad / Michael K. Ferber -- Notes on Simone Weil's Iliad / Joseph H. Summers -- Patriotism and The need for roots / Conor Cruise O'Brien -- (...) Marxism-Leninism and the language of Politics magazine / Staughton Lynd -- Simone Weil's work experiences / George Abbott White. (shrink)
In the last years of her short life, Simone Weil wrote the essay: The Iliad or the poem of force, a beautiful and lucid song to the greek virtue made clear during the Trojan War. From this reading, and through the exploration of her work, this article aims to elucidate the role of force as a key to understand the social phenomenon and the relations among human beings. Furthermore, it pretends to grasp the meaning and value of pain and (...) suffering as constituent elements of the human, which according to this philosopher, whose life was absolutely coherent with her thinking and sensitivity, is the purer approach to the pureness of the divine. (shrink)
This essay argues that Simone Weil appropriates Marx's notion of labor as life activity in order to reposition work as the site of spirituality. Rather than locating spirituality in a religious tradition, doctrine, profession of faith, or in personal piety, Weil places it in the capacity to work. Spirit arises in the activity of living, and more specifically in laboring—in one's engagement with materiality. Utilizing Marx's distinction between living and dead labor, I show how Weil develops a (...) critique of capital as a “force” that disrupts the individual's relation to her own work by reducing it to the mere activity of calculable “production.” Capital reduces labor to an abstraction and thereby uproots human subjectivity, on a systemic scale, from its connection to living praxis, or what Weil calls spirituality. Life itself is exchanged for a simulacrum of life. In positioning living labor as spiritual, Weil's work offers a corrective to these deadening practices. (shrink)
Et pourtant rien au monde ne peut empècher l'homme de se sentir né pour la liberté. Jamais, quoi qu'il advienne, il ne peut accepter la servitude; car il pense. S. WeilÉcrit en 1934, cet essai propose une réflexion dont la profondeur surprend et dont les conclusions restent d'une actualité criante, dans un contexte où la défense des libertés face aux diverses sources d'oppression nécessite une attention permanente.
Simone Weil is one of the most challenging and yet beguiling thinkers of the twentieth century. There is a highly charged mystical current that runs through her life and works that seems almost timeless. And yet Weil was a keen observer of the modern condition, coming of age as she did during the 1930s. Amid the recurrent indignities and inhumanities of modern life, she wondered what is to become of the precious space we have for grace, for friendship, (...) and for truth? One of our most astute historians of existentialism, Robert Zaretsky shifts his attention to the utterly original Simone Weil with this new book. Taking up the central elements of her philosophy-affliction, attention, resistance, roots, and spirituality-he explores how they animated her life, and how they might animate ours. (shrink)
_Simone Weil and the Politics of Self-Denial_ delivers what no other book on Weil has—a comprehensive study of her political thought. In this examination of the development of her thought, Athanasios Moulakis offers a philosophical understanding of politics that reaches beyond current affairs and ideological advocacy. Simone Weil—philosopher, activist, mystic—unites a profound reflection on the human condition with a consistent and courageous existential and intellectual honesty manifest in the moving testimony of her life and her death. Moulakis (...) examines Weil's political thought as an integral part of a lived philosophy, in which analysis and doctrine are inseparable from the articulation of an intensely personal, ultimately religious experience. Because it is impossible to distinguish Weil's life from her thought, her writings cannot be understood properly without linking them to her life and character. By situating Weil's political thought within the context of the intellectual climate of her time, Moulakis connects it also to her epistemology, her cosmology, and her personal experience. _Simone Weil and the Politics of Self-Denial_ presents the unfolding of Weil's philosophical life against the backdrop of the political and social conditions of the last days of the Third French Republic, the Spanish Civil War, and the rise and clash of totalitarian ideologies. The ideological climate of the age—of which Weil herself was not quite free—was indeed the major "obstacle" in the struggle against which she fashioned her critical, intellectual, and moral tools. Weil has been categorized a number of ways: as a saint and a near convert to Roman Catholicism, as a social critic, or as an analytic philosopher. Moulakis examines _all_ aspects of Weil's thought in the indissoluble unity in which she lived them. This thorough investigation pursues the particular intellectual affiliations and the social and political experiential stimuli of Weil's work while simultaneously teasing out the timeless themes that her own timely analysis was intended to reveal. (shrink)
Simone Weil (1909-1943), philosophe reconnue, engagée, mystique, ne laisse personne indifférent. Son année d'enseignement à Bourges (octobre 1935-juin 1936) est une année charnière, un moment de répit dans une courte vie mouvementée. Elle y réfléchit et y médite. Professeur de philosophie, elle a laissé une forte impression sur ses jeunes élèves du lycée de jeunes filles de Bourges. Ce sont ses cours, retrouvés grâce à deux anciennes élèves, que vous lirez dans cet ouvrage.
Richard H. Bell analyzes the social and political thought of Simone Weil, paying particular attention to Weil's concept of justice as compassion. Bell describes the ways in which Weil's concept of justice stands in contrast with liberal 'rights-based' views of justice, and focuses upon central aspects of her thought, including 'attention,' human suffering and 'affliction,' and the importance of 'a spiritual way of life' in reshaping the individual's role in civic life.
Simone Weil was a defining figure of the twentieth century; a philosopher, Christian, resistance fighter, Labour activist and teacher, described by Albert Camus as 'the only great spirit of our time'. In 1941 Weil was introduced to Father Joseph-Marie Perrin, a Dominican priest whose friendship became a key influence on her life. When Weil asked Perrin for work as a farm hand he sent her to Gustave Thibon, a farmer and Christian philosopher. Weil stayed with the (...) Thibon family, working in the fields and writing the notebooks which became _Gravity and Grace _and other posthumous works. Perrin and Thibon met Weil at a time when her spiritual life and creative genius were at their height. During the short but deep period of their acquaintance with her, they came to know her as she actually was. First published in English in 1953, and now introduced by J.P. Little, this unique portrait depicts Weil through the eyes of her friends, not as a strange and unaccountable genius but as an ardent and human person in search of truth and knowledge. (shrink)
Like other works in the Philosophes series, this one has a tripartite presentation of life, philosophy, and excerpts; as Mme. Davy points out, Simone Weil did not prepare her own work for publication. About half of Weil's now published works are represented, with a selection from Attente de Dieu on the beauty of the world, and one from the Cahiers on the relation between God and man receiving the most attention. Unfortunately, the author's introduction, though lengthy, is quite (...) inadequate and often naïve, and the reader finds himself wishing she had directed her efforts to a more generous selection of primary material. Mme. Davy's treatment of Simone Weil's colorful life is cloudy, and her extraordinary subject remains a fairly anonymous elle. As for the exposition of Weil's philosophy, Mme. Davy wastes time on superficial rhetorical considerations like: "Was Simone Weil a philosopher? Did she have a metaphysic? Was she a religious thinker?" Only at moments, as for example in her discussion of some aspects of Weil's mystical and social thought, does Mme. Davy's text prove helpful.—C. M. R. (shrink)