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)
Simone Weil's influence has been enormous and in this age of doubt and uncertainty there is something particularly appealing about this French Jewish writer, for Weil lived out her beliefs. From an early age she was attracted to Bolshevism, became an anarchist and helped Trotsky. She joined the International Red Brigade to fight Franco in the Spanish Civil War. An agnostic, she experienced a profound religious conversion, yet never converted to the Christian faith to which she was so (...) deeply attracted. This clear lucid exposition of her life and work shows how Weil is truly a prophet for our age and an indispensable source of encouragement to all those at the frontiers of religion, both within and without. (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)
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)
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.
Emerging from thought-provoking discussions and correspondence Simone Weil had with the Reverend Father Perrin, this classic collection of essays contains her most profound meditations on the relationship of human life to the realm of the transcendant.An enlightening introduction by Leslie Fiedler examines Weil's extraordinary roles as a philosophy teacher turned mystic. "One of the most neglected resources of our century ", Waiting for God will continue to influence spiritual and political thought for centuries to come.
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)
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 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)
Eric Weil was born in Parchim in Mechlenburg in 1904 and died in Nice in 1977. He completed his doctorate with the philosopher Ernst Cassirer in 1928 in Hamburg. In 1933 he left Germany and settled in Paris. Weil joined the French army in 1939 and was interned in 1941 as a P.O.W. He completed his French doctorate with a major thesis, La Logique de la philosophie, and a minor thesis, Hegel et l’ état. Both books have become (...) landmarks of contemporary philosophical thought. Weil, being a systematic thinker, completed the Logic with a Philosophie politique and a Philosophie morale. His other books include a volume on Kant, Problèmes kantiens, and three volumes of collected essays, Essais et conférences. If we ask what tradition Weil’s philosophy reflects, we might say that he is a thinker who ponders the discourse of philosophy from Aristotle to Hegel. He is concerned with an elaboration of those categories and attitudes which make possible the comprehension of ourselves as reasonable beings attempting to grasp the meaning of a world which we have not created, but which is receptive to reason. These categories are elaborated in the Logic of Philosophy; they embody the categories of Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. They reveal the dialogue of philosophy, the continuous universal discourse of reason which defines philosophy as the determination of the concept, a determination that is expounded not only in the forward movement of thought, but also in the rethinking which is the source of philosophic movement. The encompassing achievement of Weil’s Logic of Philosophy is yet to be realized. It is one of the great monuments to systematic philosophy. In the chapter on twentieth-century philosophy in France, Yves Belaval could state, “It is still too early to appreciate the profound influence of his teaching”. (shrink)
A work first published in English in 1951, _Waiting on God _forms the best possible introduction to the work of Simone Weil, for it brings us into direct contact with this amazing personality, at once so pure, so ardent, so utterly sincere, yet normally so reserved that only her closest friends guessed the secrets of her inner life. The first part of the book concerns her letters written to the Reverend Father Perrin, O.P., who befriended her at Marseilles and, (...) the only priest she knew, became her intimate friend. The second part of the book concerns essays and reflections on such subjects as education, human affliction and the love of God, prayer, and forms of the implicit love of God. (shrink)
_Gravity and Grace_ shows Weil's religious thoughts and ideas, drawn from many sources - Christian, Jewish, Indian, Greek and Hindu - and focusing on suffering and redemption. It brings the reader face to face with the profoundest levels of existence as Weil explores the relationship of the human condition to the realm of the transcendent.
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.
Introspection, or metacognition, is the capacity to reflect on our own thoughts and behaviours. Here, we investigated how one specific metacognitive ability develops in adolescence, a period of life associated with the emergence of self-concept and enhanced self-awareness. We employed a task that dissociates objective performance on a visual task from metacognitive ability in a group of 56 participants aged between 11 and 41 years. Metacognitive ability improved significantly with age during adolescence, was highest in late adolescence and plateaued going (...) into adulthood. Our results suggest that awareness of one’s own perceptual decisions shows a prolonged developmental trajectory during adolescence. (shrink)
Simone Weil, philosophe reconnue, engagée, mystique, ne laisse personne indifférent. Son année d'enseignement à Bourges 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.
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)
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.
"What is required if men and women are to feel at home in society and are to recover their vitality? Into wrestling with that question, Simone Weil put the very substance of her mind and temperament. The apparently solid edifices of our prepossessions fall down before her onslaught like ninepins, and she is as fertile and forthright in her positive suggestions . . . she can be relied upon to toss aside the superficial and to come to grips with (...) the essential and the profound." -- Time Literary Supplement. (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)
Introducing the Selected Works of Simone Weil Some of Simone Weil's most important thinking was done through the medium of her notebooks. She used them in several inter-related ways. First, she used them to note things she had read and was researching. Far more often, they were workbooks where she worked through her ideas. Many of the ideas in her completed essays can first be found in her notebooks, and thus the notebooks are invaluable for adding context and (...) nuance along with a sense of development to the reading of those later essays. Finally, her notebooks simply contain Weil's aphoristic writing at its best in its most striking presentation. For that reason alone, the last two notebooks, which she wrote while in New York and London in 1942-43, published in French as "La Connaissance surnaturel" have been read as books of great wisdom. This volume also includes her first notebook from the year 1934, not long after her time in the factory and its subject matter reflects this period in her life. (shrink)
The first career retrospective of activist photographer Brian Weil, whose work and practice explored insular cultures. This book offers the first career retrospective of Brian Weil, an artist whose photographs pushed viewers into a deeply unsteadying engagement with insular communities and subcultures. A younger contemporary of such participant-observer photographers as Larry Clark and Nan Goldin, Weil took photographs that foreground the complex relationships between photographer and subject, and between photograph and viewer. Weil was a member of (...) ACT UP and the founder of New York City's first needle exchange, and his photographs became inextricably tied to his activist practice. His late work, an extensive series of portraits whose subjects bear witness to the emerging AIDS pandemic, is included here, along with selections from several earlier and concurrent projects: Sex, Miami Crime, Hasidim, and an extensive video project with members of nascent transgender support groups. This book commemorates a 2013 exhibition of Brian Weil's work at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania and includes in-depth essays on Weil by Stamatina Gregory and Jennifer Burris, an interiew with the artist by Claudia Gould, and reprints of archival edited notes discussing crime and photographic evidence based on a series of interviews conducted by Sylvère Lotringer with filmmaker George Diaz in the 1980s. (shrink)
Simone Weil's rejection of pacifism -- The empire of force -- Love of neighbor versus totalitarianism -- Values for reading the universe -- Reading and justice -- Simone Weil and the Bhagavad-Gita -- Justice and the supernatural -- Neither victim nor executioner -- Appendix : English translations of Simone Weil's essays.
A work first published in English in 1951, Waiting on God forms the best possible introduction to the work of Simone Weil, for it brings us into direct contact with this amazing personality, at once so pure, so ardent, so utterly sincere, yet normally so reserved that only her closest friends guessed the secrets of her inner life. The first part of the book concerns her letters written to the Reverend Father Perrin, O.P., who befriended her at Marseilles and, (...) the only priest she knew, became her intimate friend. The second part of the book concerns essays and reflections on such subjects as education, human affliction and the love of God, prayer, and forms of the implicit love of God. (shrink)