The Philosophy of Simone Weil Essays

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The Philosophy of Simone Weil

In the final entry to her London notebooks, Simone Weil writes "Philosophy is exclusively an affair of action and practice. That is why it is so difficult to write about. Difficult in the same way as a treatise on tennis or running, but much more so." (Allen, p. 157) In these next few pages I will try to relay the basic ideas contained in Simone Weil's works. Because of the extensiveness and complexity of her work, I will be using her words exactly, as often as possible.

Simone Weil was a trained philosopher and a teacher of philosophy. She was a political theorist and activist, a revolutionary, a laborer in the French fields and factories and toward the end of he life, she was a mystic. She believed
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Following Taoism, she says she believes that God represents "the Way"; that he is not embodied in "the personal anthropomorphisized aspect of the Western inclination." (Little, p. 57) She felt very strongly that we could not know of his existence, but that he was there, that at times we should pray to him, even while wondering if he really exists. She says that "faced with two men who have no experience with god, the one who denies his existence is probably closer to the truth." (Little, p. 58 )

Weil says:

" Our soul is constantly clamorous with noise, but there is one point in it which is silence, and which we never hear. When the silence of God comes into the soul and penetrates it and joins the silence which is secretly present in us , from then on we have our treasure and our heart in God; there are only two things piercing enough to penetrate our souls in this way; they are affliction and beauty."

"Beauty. Impossible to define it psychologically, because of the fullness of the aesthetic contemplation. (Panichas, p. 421, 422)

In referring to nature's beauty, she says,

" Matter is not beautiful when it obeys man, but only when it obeys God. The sea is not less beautiful in our eyes because we know ships have wrecked on it. On the contrary, this adds to its beauty. If it altered the movement of its waves to spare a ship it would be a creature gifted with discernment and choice, and not this fluid, perfectly obedient to every external pressure. It

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