Une petite histoire, et après les idées réalité
Never at all a moderate woman by way of passion; Simone Weil began her political activism at merely the age of six. She was born in 1909 in Paris, France to Alsatian-Jewish parents. This was during the Franco-Prussian conflicts, so they had fled from Alsace-Lorraine and made home in Île-de-France. Her pilot experience as une petite activist was marching for Solidarity on the Western Front prior to World War 1. Again, this occurred under the age of ten. These partisan movements would begin to shape her metaphysical world in a profound way.
By her mid teens she was a self proclaimed Marxist and imaginably she was considered a rambunctious and possibly “dangerous” youth, especially being a woman prior to gaining the suffragette vote. She was under the age of twenty, politically informed and wildly opinionated in the areas of socialism, capitalism, anarchy, as well as trade unions. She fought for freedom.
Her dear friend Gustave Thibon and inheritor of her writings said of her (fondly): “On the concrete plane, we disagreed on everything”.
I want to stop in thought and elaborate further on this quote. I can’t envision Simone being disobliging or rude just to make a statement. People have their opinions, and they stick to (usually) quite aggressively.
Supplementary to this statement:
From Plato’s Cratylus
(dialogue between Hermogenes):
(dialogue between Hermogenes):
I don’t know how to oppose you, Socrates. It isn’t easy for me to suddenly change my opinion, though. (391, a).
However the Socratic method does often lead you to an entirely different answer then you thought possible, but the trick is that he is not stating the answer, but more so guiding you along the way. You will discover the answer on your own. The oppositions proposition has to be better than your own in order to switch sides. The Socratic way is ‘accurate methods, clear thinking and exact analysis” (Plato, pg 10; Durrant). If we begin to agree that Simone Weil is a disagreeable person we are far from correct.
He also says of her (with a undertone of tremendous enamor)
With alarming spontaneity she displayed all that was most unpleasing in her nature, but needed much time and affection and a great deal of reserve had to be overcome, before she showed what was best in her.
And more persuasively:
She actually experienced in its heartbreaking reality the distance between ‘the knowing’ and knowing with all one’s soul.. One object in her life was to abolish that distance.
The entanglement of the qualities she held; vibrancy in soul and spirit, initially stagnant but ever so endearing nature (with time), beloved and passionate friend, and in the forms of literary contribution; she was an advanced thinker on a range of ideas that could perplex many a man, and also make him laugh. She was a goddess in a time where there was no grounds for such a powerful, moving, fluid vocalization through the voice of a woman. In her “late” life she was influenced by a multitude of religions, thus experiencing the heir of spiritual enlightenment, in a sense. She touched on elements of Buddhism, Christianity and many a Mystic divinity. Here are some of her idées.
I must not forget at certain times when my headaches were raging I had an intense longing to make another human being suffer by hitting him in exactly the same part of his forehead. Analogous desires, very frequent in human beings. (Gravity and Grace)
Man only escapes from the laws of this world in lightening flashes. Instants when everything stands still, instants of contemplation, of pure intuition, of mental void, of acceptance of the moral void. It is through such instants that he is capable of the supernatural. Whoever endures a moment of the void either receives the supernatural bread or falls. It is a terrible risk, but one that must be run-even during the instant when hope fails. But we must not throw ourselves into it. (To Accept the Void)
To strip ourselves of the imaginary royalty of the world. Absolute solitude. Then we possess the truth of the world. (Detachment)
To detach our desire from all good things and to wait. Experience proves that this waiting is satisfied. It is then we touch the absolute good. (Detachment)
In no matter what circumstances, if the imagination is stopped from pouring itself out we have a void (the poor in spirit). (The imagination which fills the void)
WARNING: These idées are not meant to fill your brain, but to feed it. Hunger is not a one time occupant of the stomach and surrounding internal systems; just as knowledge is not a “one time” thing for the soul. It should be a repetitious and everlasting desire.
I encourage you to press on, as will I..