Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Though the aphorism that follows is profoundly true, I still feel an urge to change the final word to 'endurance' in order to avoid the danger of it slipping perilously into the sanctification of suffering... which was perhaps the danger its author dallied with in her own torment. A quite fascinating and rewardingly disturbing woman...

"The false god changes suffering into violence. The true God changes violence into suffering."

Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace.

Stephanie Strickland observes: "Weil, our shrewdest political observer since Machiavelli, was never deceived by the glamor of power, and she committed herself to resisting force in whatever guise. More 'prophet' than 'saint,' more 'wise woman' than either, she bore a particular kind of bodily knowledge that the Western tradition cannot absorb. Simone Weil belongs to a world culture, still to be formed, where the voices of multiple classes, castes, races, genders, ethnicities, nationalities, and religions, can be respected. To achieve this culture is an impossible task, but, as Weil would remind us, not on that account to be forsaken. Today we look to Weil for hope, for meditation, for the bridge a body makes. She knew that the truth had been 'taken captive,' and that we must 'seek at greater depth our own source,' because power destroys the past, the past with its treasures of alternative ideals that stand in judgment on the present."

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